Trance Americana... America? Fuck Yeah!

The complete story about Trance in the USA!

Author: Jeff Whitmore
Date: Aug 18, 2005
Views: 8563

Trance Americana... America? Fuck Yeah!

Trance cannot be bought or sold. Ergo, it flies in the face of American capitalism. That said, the health of a trance scene can be gauged by several interdependent barometers ... number of producers and visual artists, quality and quantity of events ... and the availability of psychedelic drugs. If one were to condense the best of America from its various pockets of trance and put it all in one area, you'd have one slammin' scene that would rival anywhere else.  But you can't.  It's too spread out. It's a Herculean or even Sisyphusean task to rein it all in, to condense the energy into one vital scene.  Some have tried to do it in the U.S. and have burned out. Other diehards remain.  These diehards say, "To hell with the overseas snobs who sniff, "Why Bother?"'  It's STILL more sexy to carry on the Kulturkampf and have sex in the cracks of a fascist state.  America invented skateboards, rock and roll, surfing, and hippy culture... Americans offer smaller, intimate, and more underground gatherings.

The typical story is "There are countless unnamed contributors to the scene here, largely because most everyone here works together."  The scenes are as varied as the landscape, but trance has infiltrated even to Iowa in the prairie. Though never profitable, trance formers are collaborating like never before and keeping the faith. While other genres have fallen by the wayside, psy/goa has persevered through LSD droughts, an Internet economy bust, restrictions on immigration, and a somebody-else-do-it-for-you consumer culture.  
 On the entheogen front, the new world is having sex with the old world as religious use of DMT-laden ayahuasca is marching along fresh from a string of court victories, and the US government has begun the first testing of psychedelic drugs in 40 years on MDMA and psilocybin for post traumatic stress disorder and terminally ill patients and OCD.  And the propellerheads at DARPA (which invented the Internet) are giving MDMA to monkeys to gauge their sociability in the wild! Plus, the medical use of marijuana is starting to be recognized by the states, so the future of psychedelics in the US is assured.  For travelers reading this, just enter one of the names below in an internet search engine, seek and ye shall find...

Although 9/11 slowed the influx of international travelers, New York is still the largest and most diverse community in the US - and 2004 was inarguably the best in years.  Tsunami, which pioneered psy/goa massives in North America in '96 with the seminal Return to the Source at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, flies in Tsuyoshi every month and brings top acts to the old Twilo/Sound Factory space Spirit, the top floor of which is Alex Grey's Chapel of the Sacred Mirrors (COSM).  Liran shed Hommega's name and still brings major acts to large clubs. The Russians bring both full on and progressive with, respectively, TDC in their amazing new and completely underground warehouse on the Brooklyn waterfront and OmniTribe's OmniFestival in upstate New York. Alladin Project keeps the revolving door swinging with connoisseur events, picking up where Ecliptic Trance left off.  Reality Engine has shifted out of neutral, and long-running Goa Trash and a revived Psychegrounds are NYC's free weeklies.

After years of hibernation the community Devotional Ministry of Trance (DMT) brought the most fertile and vibrant open air season ever held in Manhattan, enacting Paleolithic rituals and bringing crews from all over the country to play at free gatherings for casts of hundreds under a bridge in the Dominican hood.  Subtlechaos doses the Medical Marijuana Party with High Times in downtown Manhattan every May.  Daya (Indonesia), Severin (Ukraine), Equus and Nan Hutchinson are New York's most prominent visual artists.  Finally, Adam, Ian and Jowe and PSI have continued to do gatherings under the stars in the Pine Barrens.

Elsewhere in the east coast, Touch Samadhi in Asheville, North Carolina have kept DIY in the Southeast since 1998.  DJs Kri and Blue Spectral Monkey lead the team, and with visual artist the Devotee.  Since 2000, working with other east coast psy-crews, they conjure Maataa Mandaara at a Hare Krishna compound in West Virginia.  After an epic Neptunalian summer festival in '04, in '05 they have Goa Gil and Autumn Equinox on private mountain land.
Philadelphia has a small but steady scene with Gaian Mind in the mountains at a place where locals are building a stonehenge the old, hard way.  

Boston's sounds lean towards progressive and early nights, with Central Psy and Sonic Beating continuing its assault and Psyforia going into its third year. And Baltimore has Konvocation.

On the West Coast, after a slowdown in Northern California in 2004 as various organizers retired, 2005 is looking up for psy/goa. Scenes tend to be cliquish and stratified.  The vast majority of American producers call NoCal their home; even Penta's pater lives in San Jose. SF's weekly is Synchronize.  Thump Radio does a monthly the 3rd friday of each month. Typically, the summer outdoor party season kicks off with a Goa Gil party in May, and ends with his birthday party in October, with all of the other parties in between.  Tantra continues to throw larger events on holidays and special occasions. Local producers include Nommos (Ariane and Goa Gil) oCeLoT, Kode IV, Chromatone, Ghreg on Earth, FractalCowboys (Quasar and Dylalien), Mubali, Random, Amanda, Yohimbe and Deeper in Zen. Local artists include Garrett of Dreamtime, and Dr. Spook.  San Francisco is home to labels Dropout, Ceiba, Mistress of Evil, Vaporvent, and Soular Records. Ceiba Records on Haight Street is the only psy/goa record shop in the U.S.

In Los Angeles' vital scene, Green Sector, Psy-tribe, Heavy Rotation, and Moontribe are the dominant forces, and Psytribe does LA's weekly. Kagdila Records is based in LA, as is producer Quadra. Green Sector's New Years party was the largest event of the year.

In the Pacific Northwest, producer Jirah is based in Seattle, where crews such as Innov8tors and Environmental Structures gather for mountain events such as Eskimo Summer (Mackie  speakers in the snow..) collaborating with Oregon for the Phoenix Festival and Apollo's Lute's Enosa festival every summer.

And of course the biggest U.S. open air multigenre mindfuck megafestival of the year Burning Man continues to incinerate in Nevada.  Its tentacles reach into almost every nook and cranny in local scenes throughout the country.

Texas has more people than any other state except California, and the most land, but has a very low goa head ratio.  Still it's showing signs of life with Mistical Productions bringing vital acts such as Neuromotor. Burning Flipside, focuses on psy/goa with many various large-scale Burning Man style theme camps.  The top Texas live acts are Initialization String and Gift Culture.  Most Texan events are indoors.  An exurban legend claims Texas wanted to buy Colorado once -  but the Coloradans SpaceDub, Metameme, Mindflux, Psygnosis, and Jagged Sound hold their own in the mountains.

The Midwest is starting to flower with groups with small multi-state festivals such as Aestival and the open community Chilluminati, a collaboration between Touch Samadhi, Wisconsin's Audiognomes and Psymbolic Visual Communications, which recently moved from Texas.  Label Divine Balance is based in Chicago.  Ohio's Goahead brings the Butterfly Dance Ritual.  In Iowa of all places Consciousness Collective delivers MAGE, Midwest Annual Goa Experience.  Even Kansas City has Wilderness Technologies and the hills of Arkansas are vibrating with Esotericgen.

Filling in the gaps, there were reports of infected mushrooms sprouting in Miami, DC. Seattle, and Chicago.  

In 2005 expect more activity as the infrastructure strengthens, the economy continues to improve, and communication, collaboration, and cooperation between communities propels psychedelic trance to new heights.  Bring your euros.  We want them.  And the most

important message for incoming travelers, just two words - shampoo bottles!

Date: Aug 18, 2005
Text: Jeff Whitmore, Aaron Ocelot
Photos: Neerav, Ryan Phutureprimitive, Trevor Wise
Taken from: The Trancers Guide to the Galaxy 2005



  • USA has 295 million people and an estimated 5,000 hardcore psytrancers.
  • America is generally warmer than most of Europe, cooler in the mountains, with many natural wonders. Many parts of the country are being reclaimed by the wilderness.  
  • People are are generally friendly and down to earth.  The east coasters are generally more neurotic, no-nonsense, and fast talking, the west coast is more laid back and progressive.  The middle (the Midwest) is most countrified and traditional. The South has the most outwardly friendly people in the country.
  • Travel - Hitchhiking is frowned upon in many towns, so hopping on a caravan is a must.  There is a underground circuit that is starting to develop but it's mainly Rainbow Gatherers and Burning Man people.  Youth hostels can be found in larger cities (but every town has a jail but getting in and out can be easy/difficult. The YMCA often has very affordable lodging.
  • Finding gatherings The best way to find out about parties is to look on the Internet. Every area has its underground artists, trancers are usually found in these pockets.  Cars are a necessary evil everywhere except New York, Boston, and San Francisco - but be careful when in a car because police can de facto search you for looking funny.  The key to being a successful trance head in the USA is not get to the party without being arrested or dealing with authorities.  This is best done by dressing as conservatively as humanly possible and hide your stash.  Do not ask the police if they would like to smoke, too, etc.







Aaron Ocelot

Aaron is world traveling producer based in San Francisco and is the USA contact for Chaishop

Jeff Whitmore

Machinelf is a free Trance Former based in New York

"Freedom isn't free - it costs folks like you and me"

with help from countless other

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