Portugal: Psychedelic trancers dancing under the ancient tree

It was the late 80s and everyone in the underground club scene talked about Ibiza. EDM was thriving on what would later become the hottest clubs of the 90s. Around the 90’s, a few Portuguese hipsters were travelling regularly to Goa. Among them were those who introduced us all to the music we still follow today.

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The big turn for Psychedelic Trance occurred from ‘93 to ‘94 when that Goa sound from the late 80’s started to become what we now call Goa Trance as a subgenre of Psychedelic Trance. For us in Portugal it was ‘95 to ‘96 when these people decided to start doing Goa Trance parties. They had the experience of Goa and knew it would work here, and it did.

Gabriel Gomes founded the Org. Monogatari and the two young friends Pedro Carvalho and Diogo Ruivo aka DJ Dio created the famous Org. Good Mood. They would join forces and start doing parties regularly. From there to the creation of Boom Festival in 1997, we had an amazing time in the forest that gave us our community name, it was Zambujal where it all really started for us. We are the Zambu people! The name ‘Boom’ was a suggestion of Gabriel since we used to say it constantly following the example of Victor Bandeira and Pedro Lata. Good Mood & Monogatari worked together till the end of Monogatari later in the year.
Pedro Miguel and Paulo Rocha created Hipnose in the beginning of 97. Two years later Pedro joined with Luis Areias and João Soares for the creation of a very short-lived Org. from 1999, the Stereo Legs. One of the main featured DJs of Stereo Legs was the now world famous DJ Pena. After the end of Stereo Legs, João Garcia went on to create the first Portuguese trance label, Flow Records.

The underground scene of the early 90s had started outdoors and honest to the core EDM devotees were partying in the woods, nevertheless there were many indoor parties. In 1997 we had them all the time and during the summer it was every weekend. If not an outdoor party there would always be an indoor one we could go to. No one was going to starve. Of all the many indoor parties there was a very special one every weekend. Pedro Lata was public relations in Alcantara, the main club in Lisbon, and after seeing how well the crowd enjoined Goa Trance at his B-Day party, he went on doing a party every Sunday. The foundations had been set for the long standing scene we still have today.
In ‘98 there was inevitable splitting of the scene, unfortunately, and those who once danced all together under the same tree, started to go apart following specific trends going further and further away from Goa Trance. Progressive Trance was taking hold and in the new millennium first couple of years Psychedelic Trance scene was also getting very dry and cold. We no longer had the happy healthy liberating underground parties from the mid 90s. Instead of just being free as before, dancers started worrying too much about superficial things and many genuine trancers from the early crowd began to move away from the scene… It was going mainstream and regulated by commercial goals.

During the 90s there were a few handful of Orgs. and trancers would travel what was necessary to get together and share the amazing experience of Psychedelic Trance as one tribe. New Orgs. were popping like mushrooms everywhere a decade after and the scene spread local everywhere. Each area of the country would have their own parties with their specific crowds. Only Boom was able to join everyone together, but by then it was a different thing. Boom Festival was starting to become colossal. The underground was no longer the magical place we grew up in.

There was an Org. from the north born in 1999, Quest4Goa, that had this goal of getting back the vibe from the good old days and they still hold their place. They joined with the Good Mood crew to create the Sinergia parties on Montargil. But it just wasn’t time for liberating and binding Goa Trance yet… the scene wasn’t ready. Sometimes we need to go deep and dwell on the chaos so we can get back up to the cosmos. In 2010, after many attempts from many places with local success but no wide spread results, the time came. It wasn’t just a group of people it was time. The cosmos was ready to have us.

Two key Orgs. in the scene today were born in 2011. They both do what we all yearned for: a good reason to get together and share the amazing wonders of this universe through music. They are not local and were able to join the whole scene into only one place. The vibe is back! It’s amazing! We did it! It’s the Goadelic Freaks Movement and the ZNA Gathering, but these two Orgs. are very different from each other.

The ZNA Gathering has a special retro concept working with the best acts from the 90s but provides an experience that will not be limited to music from the 90s. Here you can find all the veterans from the international scene.

GFM puts up a yearly Goa Trance festival called Old School Gathering or OSG, which is totally underground and there is no substantial funding so these festivals of 3 days get built with the help of all participants. Everyone contributes with the bit they know best. It’s safe to say that though not having acts from abroad because simply there are no funds for that, this is the most special moment of the year for the core Goa heads on the scene. Pure spirit! There is absolutely no commercial goal and if one day you happen to go there you’ll be able to see that. It’s a patchwork in every sense. The most amazing patchwork one might find in the scene because we all love it to bits and do our best to make it special as it is. It’s a home for all goadelic minds.

Boom Festival needs no presentation. It’s considered to be one of the main festivals from all around the world if not the first. The main floor will host mostly Progressive and Full On artists but there is so much offer from so much artistic areas and variety with talks and all kinds of shows and arts that we no longer see this as just a trance festival. Almost everyone here goes to Boom.

Freedom Festival is also a well known big Festival with great line up and PA, mainly Full On and Progressive.

There are really too many parties and festivals to mention them all here but it’s interesting to know that there are a few free festivals earning good reputation. Freekuency is a name that quickly springs to mind. These festivals are mainly turned to Full On and Progressive and the crowd tends to be of the younger generations.

On the artist front, Sergio Walgood is one of the main artists. There are plenty amazing artists in Portugal. The choice of Sergio Walgood as main artist has to do with the fact that he not only is a top producer internationally wise but also a flexible musician with live guitar skills and good projects like Angular Momentum, Random Mode, Oco and different approaches to Psychedelic Trance. We have artists covering pretty much all genres of Psychedelic Trance, such as: Alien Message, Alienn, Amithaba Buddha, Audialize, Balancé, Chilled C’Quence, D-Maniac, Elektrik Boy, Kin, KiNNaRa, Kurandini, Menog, Mother Womb, Nuxx, Spectra, Suria, Techyon, Tjak, Tryambaka, and many, many more.

In terms of deco, Transform-Arte may not immediately seem to be the most creative deco team because they are not showing up amazing paintings but they are ground breaking with the longest and the most successful run. The thing that sets them apart is the fact that Pedro Carvalho, the head creative and co-founder of Boom Festival, is able to see the big picture and set the best possible arrangement between all artwork contributors. A short list of some fluorescent artists and decorators: Celsius Decors, Goadelic Freaks Movement, Mind Experience Decor, Pedro MC Feijão, Mario Sendas, Space Dolphins, TK Projekt Concept Decor, Tota Decor, just to name a few.

On this planet, there are many amazing places to visit; some have lots of interesting and mystic attractions, but we have an incredible combination of all factors. Seriously, is there any place better that Portugal to have your entranced adventure? No! If you haven’t been here, you should definitely come, if you have you know it’s an awesome place to go. We’re here to welcome you with our arms wide open, flying to the sky.

Text:  Sara Constança aka Psara

Artist, artwork director, author, designer, front row dancer, label DJane, party organizer, philosopher, photographer

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Photo credits: Saraconsta Psytography

There is a neighbourhood in Lisbon called ‘Bairro Alto’ where we can find cool hippie shops and plenty of bars in every street. There are also lots of markets with handmade products both in Lisbon and Porto. There is a thriving alternative culture.


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