Tunesian Story

Author: Omananda
Date: Oct 13, 2005
Views: 5265

It ain't that easy to throw a party in a foreign country!

Date: Oct 13, 2005
Text: Omananda

I am in the airplane flying back to Scandinavia after an annular solar eclipse-party in Tunisia < >.

My first impression of this country in Africa is rather pleasant. The Tunisians were helpful people and I like the local Moslem culture. There has never been a trance party organized in this country, so difficulties were to be expected. The locals seemed to have an open mind for this computer-driven sound. When I asked them in the premature end of the festival if they liked the music, they responded very positive.

“Nomad” ( is the organization responsible for the chaotic party in Tamerza. Anouar and his girlfriend Sandra are Nomad. They usually live in Switzerland. Anouar who is also Tunisian wanted to bring Trance to his country for the very first time. In a global sense, it is important to bring parties to remote places like Tunisia so that we can all one day unite under one sun. Morocco has a history of already having had successful events of this kind. Now Tunisia is almost on the list, but not necessarily of successful events.

Let me explain to you what happened in Tamerza according to my experience …

We arrived in the Tunis airport on the 27th in the evening, 2 days before the official start of the festival. Some friendly Tunisians that helped Nomad with artists transport picked us up. From the 13 artists who were supposed to arrive that day, only 5 showed up. When I looked at the artists list with arrival times & flight numbers, I realized that at least ours were wrong. As a result the person picking us up had already spent the entire day in the airport looking for people. The missing artists had a good aspect to it. The bus that brought us into the further South had now enough space for all of us to sleep comfortably throughout the night of our journey that brought us to an oasis 60 kilometers from the Sahara, & 500 kilometers from Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. The roads were in good shape but on almost every major junction was a police / army checkpoint. Nobody was harassed, no searches for drugs, at least not that I have heard of. The weather in Tunisia was surprisingly nice, not too hot in the day and not too cold at night. It rained the second day we arrived at the party-site that was portrayed as “a place out of this world”, which it really was.

The first news I got after arriving in the Oasis was that the sound system had been stopped at the border of Tunisia. Why? 2 people without visas were smuggled from Italy in the same truck that carried the sound system, generator, mixing table, equipment etc. They also carried drugs and went straight to prison. Anouar did not know about these people, or the drugs being smuggled. Now he was faced with a serious challenge, to find another sound-system after he had already paid for the one lost due to mad circumstances.

A drastic change to the (ever-adapting) blurry vision.

The canon floor with the waterfall was supposed to be the dance floor. Hussein, a local Barber Tribal looking man had weeded the plants out of the sandy floor, so we could stomp the sand to dust, but this was apparently not possible any more, because this waterfall is a big tourist attraction in Tunisia and the police did not give us permission to have this party in that nature space any longer. Package tourists showed up in huge busses every day to experience this waterfall, or at least take a picture. Has this party location not properly been cleared with the city and the police prior to taking the responsibility of having so many people travel that far to experience an “out of this world” packaged tourist’s trip?

The solution was simple: I suggested to Anouar to organize a pool party in the hotel that was right on the waterfall. This solution was actually a nice one, if there would be sound, and that was still in the clouds … Anouar, who remained surprisingly calm throughout the entire party left on a trip to Tunis to find a sound system that day.

The resort we stayed at was nice, yet simple. We had hot showers that really worked all festival long. The bungalows cost 20 Euro / night / person, artists free. The price was a bit steep, since it was really basic. There was a bar that runs most of the night and a restaurant that was pretty shitty. There were local restaurants along the town street and the couscous was the local delicacy.

Promises not kept – there are no quincidences ….

In the night the sound should start (*29th), the local Tunisians got the place rocking. They played with flutes and drums organic rhythms of a traditional kind. This pleasing tribal sound helped people tune into the nature space around them. The next day a small 2 k sound system showed up, so we had at least some music for the night, yet super low quality. In the morning a much bigger sound-system turned up, which was actually nice to listen to - JBL’s, 16 k - enough sound for the dramatically rescued situation. The slow climb in sound-intensity was probably a natural adaptive mechanism to a new world entering into a trance haven. All worked well, although unexpected.

The next day (Saturday night) I was working with VJ BitNix from Portugal. Although we never meet before, we connected very well and set up screens all day, wired cables connected equipment, to showcase beautiful psychedelic visuals at night. I believe that those were well appreciated by the crowd, because we received many appreciative comments. We mixed our stuff live together, and played back to back from midnight ‘til sunrise.

Something about integrity not being known (*to Nomad) ~

Integrity to me means that if you say something, you don’t change your mind after, especially if you create expectations for people that you are responsible for. You do what you commit yourself to with integrity, keeping your promises to go through with it, or at least take responsibility to deal with the situation, even if it’s a fucked up one.

There was a lot said by Nomad that was not being done. The lign-up for example … half the artists did simply not show up.

But dispite all the disorganization & confusion, the party was still nice. Everyone loved to be there. About 300 people showed up. The size of the party was a great way to get to know one another. In large events you don’t get to know so many people as you do in an intimate gathering like this one, out in the middle of nowhere. Many friends were made and ideas shared, but let me tell you what happened during the moment of the eclipse.

DJ Pan was playing some lovely psychedelic spiritual tunes since 8am, all the way throughout the eclipse that climaxed around 10am. No complains at all. The sound traveled through the oasis up the mountain-walls to the ears of the people that were truly lovely. Nomad did attract a nice crowd of international travelers, not too many, yet quality people with good hearts and open minds. Iselin (*my love) and I were peaking on mushrooms this morning on top of the mountain. I videotaped a bit while she was dealing with some internal stuff when Anouar & Sandra (Nomad) suddenly showed up. They seemed quite concerned about not being able to get out of Tamerza alive. They owed money to a lot of people, including the police. So, they presented an escape plan to us. I was supposed to drive the car to earn my way back to the airport and I would pick them up on the end of town in the 5 star hotel where they stayed. In the middle of the party, they wanted to bail and leave everyone in the hands of faith.

Anouar gave me the key to the rental car and we should “hurry” to get out of there before the music stopped, because after that everyone would look for them! They said that we could go to a very nice Oasis, much nicer than this one. There we could have a good time afterwards and chill out. I wondered: What happen to all the people who came here to experience this party you have so splendidly fucked up? No response … Of course, the police on their way back to the hotel stopped them and they had to deal with it all. Well; they scrambled after the unfortunate chain of events, you can call Karma!

Another thing worth mentioning is the uncaring attitude Nomad expressed to ALL the people involved into this well disorganized chaos. For example: The party was
supposed to go until 12 pm, on the 4th October, 2005, which would have been the 5th promised party day, but with the 1st one missing and the second one with a 2k sound-system kind of missing, it left us with 2 party nights so far. Suddenly, 2 hrs past the eclipse, the music just stopped. I actually did not know that the party was supposed to go longer, since my plane was leaving the next morning, but the trance-travelers that had booked the “package” “Nomad” sold them, including stay in the hotel, transport from and to the airport, food included, etc. were heavily disappointed and even angry (while tripping), understandably. Their vacation was really trashed, and they could not even stay in the resort for the time-period agreed, transport questionable!

When some of the people confronted Sandra with their feelings, she simply answered that this is not her problem and that she cannot talk right now, because she was too high to deal with it all. She really did not seem to give a damn for anyone else, but herself, especially the artists, like Nasa, who was on the plane with us when we came. He was going out with us too, back to Scandinavia. No shuttle was organized for us, of course (so many empty things promised), but Nomad really wanted to give Omananda & Iselin a ride to the airport, not caring that Nasa would not fit into the car. A cab was too expensive for one person, like him alone, or broke and desperate dis-organizers like them. I could not go with Nomad, non-caring like that. I organized a cab myself so that NASA would not be left alone without money in Tunisia. He really appreciated that.

By the end of the festival Abir, a sweet local Tunisian woman that had helped Anouar and Sandra by working the entire festival for free as a volunteer talked to people like this: “Please don’t think that Tunisia is not a good place to have parties. Please come back. We love to have parties here. Please don’t think that Tunisians are bad people”. We told her that it was not her fault that all went sour and that Tunisia is a lovely place to party.

Right before we left with our illegal taxi, since legal cabs did not exist this far out in the dessert, we had our last couscous meal with the united crowd of our lovely party-crew that had a good experience anyway. Everyone by this point had realized that Nomad really did mess up tremendously. People hoped that this organization never organizes another party again. Before Anouar and Sandra finally took off, after having paid off the Police and the local authorities, Anouar spoke to me with tears in his eyes. He said that he felt embarrassed. Well; he had all reason to be.

When you take responsibility to bring trance to a new country, you should do it in a good way! Our parties are about love and universal consciousness, to bring people together and to experience the oneness of all things, to bridge cultures and to unite under one love, one god.

Boom Shankar!

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