Growing up with Psytrance

What´s going on in South Africa?

Author: Dave Mac
Date: Dec 6, 2007
Views: 2224

Growing up with S.A. Psytrance

Cape Town (Africa’s trance Mecca) is a very cosmopolitan city and is constantly rated as one of the top five holiday destinations on the planet. It was also voted to have the bluest sky with its clean air and a myriad of stars at night. If you have ever experienced an African sunset you will know what I mean!

The psychedelic trance movement in South Africa seems to have finally grown up and become a part of the worldwide evolution of trance that is taking place right now. What was once an underground scene that most people never knew existed has now become even bigger and more popular than any other dance style in Cape Town. House clubs and funky bars now have regular trance nights each week.

Every year has seen a new influx of youngsters coming to the parties and most events these days are attended by young adults (18-22 yrs) which keeps the scene growing and fresh. Many of the ‘new-breed’ of punters have only been going to the parties since they have become more commercial (the last 2-3 years) so some of the old-skool ‘headz’ feel that the original psychedelic essence of the parties is eroding away.

The positive side is the scene is now strong enough for an outdoor party every weekend from September (Spring) until late April (Mid-Autumn) making the outdoor season eight months long! Admirably promoters seldom throw parties on the same weekend so the scene stays positive and sustainable.

Because most party-goers are young, SA trance is very full-on. Many parties only play full-on (even all day) whilst the bigger more experienced promoters such as Vortex start and end with progressive, but for the rest of the party they must also play mainly full-on to get a big crowd.There are also only 2 or 3 known progressive producers in SA and a small handful of progressive dj’s whereas there are over 20 well known full-on producers and lots and lots of young full-on dj’s. Since there are so many dj’s/producers in Cape Town you will hear a lot of South African trance at our parties. SA party-goers love their own dj’s and Live acts.

Summer 2006/7 has also seen top organizations like Vortex and Nano Records introduce other genre’s to their events. Nano (Earthdance and Origin festival) now do a second electronica dancefloor which hosts many world-class S.A. break-beat, dub and electronica artists. Vortex also now host live bands on their main-stage the night before the trance starts at their PRISM NYE event. Audiomatik – a new breed of young promoters do both psytrance events and rock festivals although not together.

Unfortunately at present there is not enough being done to keep psytrance in South Africa linked to alternative lifestyles, healing and esoteric learning.  It has also been a few years since we’ve had a huge influx of travelers in S.A so the parties are sadly lacking in freaks. But production levels are always very good, music is world-class and the people are always up for a blasting weekend!

On the music creativity side Nano are still our biggest export with several top name internationals such as Tristan, AMD, Allaby and more all signed to them. They also have top SA artists, Protoculture and The Commercial Hippies on their books as well as the exciting new talent, Headroom.Timecode and Nexus-Media are also doing very well and are very prominent at most parties in SA with exciting new artists such as Slug, Multistate and Tickets.   Afrogalactic Records, however, are doing the best job locally at developing young producers with regular jam sessions and young exciting talents being unearthed at their studios. They also have some very exciting new acts in the form of Alice D and On who are worth checking out.

There are three top VJ’s; Freddie (exclusively for Vortex), Image Master Blink (Freerange) and Blaize who does shows at all the events. The new promoters tend to neglect the artistic side of the party a bit, however Vortex, Groovy Troopers, Alien Safari and Freerange all put a lot of effort into this.

Carin Dickson is SA’s top décor artist and works exclusively for Vortex and Red Eye in S.A. She did the Voov murals in 2006 and looks set to do it again in 2007. Carin is one of the top UV artists worldwide.

The response from travelers and dj’s/artists visiting our shores is normally always the same. They are amazed at how good the vibes are here, how rocking our parties are, how friendly the people can be and at how many producers are living in Cape Town. Oh and the fantastic weather, big blue sky and wonderful scenery too!

South Africa is sadly a little out of the way for many travelers though which is a pity because you can easily come spend three months living here quite cheaply and enjoy rocking trance parties and a good quality lifestyle.Promoters: Vortex, Alien Safari, Groovy Troopers, Beartrap, Crystal Visions, Audiomatik, Freerange, Shizzle Promotions, Psychosis,  Red Eye Productions (JHB) and Lightworkx (Durban).Labels: Nano, Timecode, Nexus-Media, Afrogalactic, Sanskara, MMD and Red Eye Productions.Producers:

Protoculture, Shift, Rinkadink, Broken Toy, Artifakt, Hydrophonic, Hydraglyph, DMMT, The Commercial Hippies, Slug, Headroom, Alice D, Multistate, ON, Phyx, Brethren, Tickets, Radbom L, Twisted System, Zion Linguist, Noiseanomalie, Sense, Amoeba and several others.


  • Population: 43 million people
  • Top holiday destination – exchange rate once again favours the Euro.
  • Best holiday time (for good parties and weather) – December to end March
  • Random police searches (whilst not common) are legal and one should be careful.
  • Music preference is still very full-on. Only a handful of prog producers in SA.


Groovy, "Trance Friendly" hang-outs

  • Call–A–Pizza, Sea Point
  • Stones, Claremont (Monday nights)
  • Cool Runnings, Observatory (Wed nights)
  • Labyrinth, Green Point (Thurs nights)
  • Zula Sound Bar, CT (Some Fri nights)
  • Rafiki’s, CT, CBD
  • Lola’s – Long Street, CT, CBD





Dave Mac

DJ, co-owner and editor of BPM magazine


Date: Dec 08, 2007
Text: Dave Mac
Photos: Dave Mac
Taken from: "Trancer's Guide to the Galaxy 2007 magazine"


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