The mushroom team went behind the scenes to have a candid chat with some festival organizers and their modes of operation. Read on to know their perspectives:
It’s an impossible task to place a pin on the exact time period when the sensation we now know as the psychedelic music festival was birthed. Starting back way in time from its techno roots in Goa, this brand of music has attracted a band of die-hard followers. Psychedelic music is a unique flavour that appeases select palates, but once it bites, it’s impossible to remove the tentacles of this crazy musical octopus.
The experience offered by a psychedelic music festival is extremely special since the prime focus dwells upon linking humans to the spiritual essence that is innate in each individual. Psytrance is more than a genre of music, it is a way of life, a culture unto itself, and festivals are the celebration of this glorious mode of existence. This brings us to festival organizers and their crew; that hardy bunch of people who work day in and day out, to create the perfect environment for the dancers to lose themselves to music, and then to re-emerge on the other side refreshed and renewed.
Each festival has a unique facet that sets it apart from other festivals. We got in touch with some festival organizers to get the facts straight from the field, so when questioned about the aspect that sets their festival apart from others, the representatives of Psy-Fi Festival stated, “The fresh spirit, the location, the liberal drug laws in our country, the line-up and the audience.” Whereas the folk from New Healing Festival said, “We want to develop an innovative festival concept for the future. Our festival is really meant to be sustainable in several ways. For the individuals joining the festival! For the environment. And for the society. We want our visitors to take something with them after the festival that will last long. We want them to feel good and focus on inspiration for a healthy mind, body and soul. Our philosophy: May all beings be happy!”
Music is the foundation upon which the entire concept of psychedelic festival is built upon, it is the driving point. Festivals promote a variety of genres, for instance Summer Never Ends stated that they push “…all kinds of psychedelic Trance, progressive, forest, some old-school, chilling sounds, ethno-trance…” Daniel from New Healing Festival said, “At our festival electronic dance music meets natural vibrations! We present a magic blend of Trance, Goa, Psychedelic, ChillOut, Ambient, Dub, Space. So a lot of traditional music, handmade and natural sounds can be experienced at the festival while the main floor is focussed on a positive Trance and Goa sound all day and night. Within the Healing Area there will be many more natural concerts and Live-Sessions, too.”
A great festival always reinvents itself each year, whilst keeping true to the ideals the festival stands for. It’s a fine balance between the preservation of heritage and innovation. For instance the usage of 3-D sound or virtual technology could revolutionize the manner in which festivals are experienced. But pushing technology aside, nothing draws in a crowd like a fantaboulus line-up. Festivals have their own system for booking the line-ups. Rob said, “We make a wish list and from there we start, we try to find a good flow for the time-table from morning to night.” Daniel stated, “We want our acts to share our positive philosophy! This year we curated the booking of the Healing Weekend together with our dear friend DJane Gaby who put it like this: Music is a transmitter you can send out a lot of information and reach many hearts within a short time. It´s all about bringing a bright change to the world and let the people heal their wounds. We wish our visitors to leave the dancefloor with new visions, hopes and feelings.” Corinne from Summer Never Ends Festival stated, “Be it music, deco or show artist, the vibes at a festival are an amalgamation of all. SNE is thought to be a place for the positive exchange among artists and not a platform to distinguish oneself.”
There are many elements that work in unison to create the collective entity known as a festival, but more than the tangible aspects, most festival organizers are in agreement when it comes down to the most important elements of a festival…Corinne said, “Nice Music, Art and love!” Daniel stated, “Peace, Love and Unity! It is the spirit of the people – the reason why everybody on-site chooses to be there!” Whereas as Rob says,“That is simple, we can make the best blueprint i.e. decorations, facilities, line-up etc. etc. but it would be nothing without the spirit of the visitors, they make a festival for what it is.”
Since most festivals are held out-doors in the bosom of Mother Nature, every festival ensures that their events leave no trace in the environment. Rob said, “We recycle everything that has been used to build the previous festival, we use re-usable drinking cups, We use eco toilets, All of our food is organic, and so is our beer, we leave no trace, We use mostly LED lights to save power, all the trash get’s separated.” Daniel stated, “We have a holistic eco-friendly concept. For example our catering is vegetarian and the whole social programme is focussed on sustainability and spirituality.” Whereas Corinne says, “Nearly all temporary buildings at SNE consist of elements which are being stored nearby and reused. To involve local companies is very important to us, for example the non-alcoholic beverages at the bar are bottled 40km away. Wood mostly is bought at local sawmills and not in cheap do-it-yourself-stores (without sustainability). We recycle nearly everything, be it a PET bottle or a cigarette butt.The whole area is being restored until it looks exactly the same as we found it.” Great ideals to emulate!
Festival creation is not an easy task, there’s a gazillion things that you need to keep in mind from the mighty to the mundane, here’s two tips from our festival organizer friends, Rob says, “Besides a good line-up, location and decorations, find as many little extras that you can and keep an eye on details.” And Corinne says, “Contact all the government departments, all police departments, and all possibly involved other departments of whose existence you have never heard so far. Try to contact any person in a distance up to 2km away from the location who might have anything against your idea. If you sorted that all out, start planning.”
And finally at the end of the day, there is a reason why festival organizers pull out all stops in order to create that special place for the trancers; to the question what‘s the most gratifying aspect of festival creation? Rob said,“The end result. We spend the entire year in our offices working 12-14 hours a day with a group of 8 people organizing this one festival, no weekends or holidays, sometimes it is easy to forget what you are doing it all for but when the build up starts and your ideas take shape in reality that all changes.The happy faces of the visitors are the most rewarding to all of us.” Corrine said, “Laughing people.” That’s a nice warm wrap!