Gathering of the psychedelic tribe: party for a better world

As the sun is slowly fading on the Northern hemisphere it’s time to look back on the festival season and celebrate another summer of love, peace, happiness, dance and experimentation. What better place is there to spend your summer than at a psytrance festival? Having roots in the goa-movement and following the leading example of Burning Man, every year more of these gatherings pop up all over the world.

This summer Azarius strolled around at Boom in Portugal and at Psy-Fi "inside the Vortex" in the Netherlands. It’s not just the omnipresent artworks and decoration of these festivals that are inspired by the psychedelic experience; or the music that tries to grasp and induce altered states of consciousness; the whole festival is actually designed to experiment with and apply the insights that such an experience provokes.

The festival is a large playground where participants can play with their identity: dressing up in the most remarkable outfits or get loose with face and body painting. Besides music stages Boom and Psy-Fi featured areas dedicated to spirituality and healing where one could go for massages, tantra workshops, meditation, yoga, diverse ceremonies and therapies. As truffles are legal in the Netherlands, it was even possible to hold truffle ceremonies at Psy-Fi, which took place in the most far-away tipi during the night.

Boom, a bi-annual gathering around the full moon of August, was celebrating its 10th edition this year. The life-rhythm of this one-week psychedelic society on the dusty hills of a large lake alternates between swimming, partying and meeting up with people from all over the world - visitors from 152 countries were present!

There were lectures and group discussions on a broad range of topics, drug-testing points and the ‘Kosmicare’: a first-aid post for people having difficult (trip) experiences. Large gardens with flowers, veggies and herbs–for picking - were constructed using the compost from the toilets of the previous edition. Aiming to reduce the festival’s carbon footprint people coming by bike could get in for free.

Psy-fi featured its second edition, but this one was much larger than the first. In the watery Dutch landscape multiple music stages, a sacred island and a magical forest arose.

What are these festivals all about? Is it just one week of partying and getting out of our daily routines? Or is it also about taking back home truckloads of inspiration and ideas to integrate in the ‘real world’ afterwards? - Often these festivals are called a transformative experience. - Is this an upsurge of hippie-ism, merged with ‘new’ techniques like electronic music, installations, projections and light-effects? Is it about creating the perfect trip environment? Maybe it’s about all of this. And about dancing, dancing and dancing of course.


Written by: Juniper