With its warm weather and vast beautiful landscapes, South africa is an outdoor paradise with deep roots in psy culture that extend back to the early 90s. Born out of the new spirit of freedom and democracy that prevailed after the fall of apartheid , groups like Vortex and Alien Safari started throwing the first outdoor psychedelic gatherings and created a scene that continues to thrive to this day.
A lot has changed over the years , but the scene has continued to grow bigger and more popular year by year , with an event almost every weekend in the summer pulling in thousands of people. Around 80% of the events happen near to Cape Town , but Johannesburg , Durban and the Garden route are starting to catch up – which is a great thing for the psy-traveller wanting to experience more of this huge and diverse country.
With huge popularity of a scene, one has to trade intimacy, but this has lead to the formation of smaller niche events to cater for the needs of practically everybody , so you can expect parties with full-on night music, progressive , prog-on, dark psy, full on psychedelic – you name it. Parties are of all sizes from more commercial big productions for the crowds to more underground parties for the true freaks too.
South Africa is a land of very diverse people who all share a love of the beautiful outdoors and it is reflected in the beautiful multi-faceted scene we have.
The first wave of South African artists to get international recognition started in the early 2000s , coinciding with the formation of the first two South African labels – namely Nano records and Timecode records. These included artists like Rinkadink, Shift, Broken Toy, Damage, The Commercial Hippies, Protoculture, Artifakt etc – Most who are still going strong today.
The next wave of artists focussed on a heavier night time full on sound with artists like Lost and Found, Rubix Qube, Deliriant, EMP, Hiyarant, Killawatt , Frozen Ghost, Cybernetix etc.
Lately, since the scene moved a bit more towards day time progressive , we`re seeing the emergence of some quality talents in this genre like Silo and Humerous , I-tone, Sad Paradise, Kriss Kross, Contra and more to come I`m sure.
The most important Psytrance related label:
South Africa is also home to the legendary label Timecode records and offshoot Nexus media , MMD records ,
as well as new labels like Psy.ology records.
No doubt the biggest label from South africa is Nano records , with an artist roster spanning the globe,
over a decade of quality releases and still going strong.
PARTY AND FESTIVALS:
The most important Party/Festival:
- Vortex (CT) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance
- Twilight (JHB) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance and bass music, techno etc.
- Alien Safari (CT) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance
- Tswaing Crater Gathering (JHB)
- Love and Light (CT) – Progressive and techno
- Jungala (CT) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance
- The Village (CT) – Focus on night psytrance
- Fourth Dimension (CT) – More commercial psy, Prog-on etc.
- Organic (CT) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance
- Festivals of Light (DBN) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance
- Psyforia (DBN) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance
- Groovy Troopers (CT) – A full day/night genre journey of psytrance
Name the most creative deco artist:
More deco artists:
Its totally accurate to say that Carin Dickson has rewritten the rule book of what psy parties look like across the world.
If you`ve been to any big festival from Boom, Rainbow serpent, Ozora and beyond , you have no doubt been captivated by her beautiful art and structures already. A rare talent of which we South Africans are truly proud.
The preferred music style in your country:
Modern progressive/ prog-on
A normal one night Outdoor party will start at Saturday sundown and end at 5pm Sunday afternoon.
There is also a new trend of daytime parties that start at 11am saturday and end at Midnight Saturday.
There is no need for afterhours psy clubs as the scene is mostly outdoor festivals running 24hrs.
Local currency is the Rand ( ZAR) which is +/- 1EU = R12
Big festival R400
Medium party R250
Average Beer/bevarage R20
Alcohol tests and very rarely sniffer dogs are used.
Points of interest:
- Ska clothing
- Call -A-Pizza Sea Point – A psy-themed pizza delivery service that will deliver tickets to events with your pizza! callapizza.co.za
- Muthafm online radio station with psytrance shows. Muthafm.com
Best places for activities:
No South African experience is complete without a proper Safari , and for this you have to be further north.
Kruger park near Johannesburg is world renowned for some of the best big game viewing in the world. Not to be missed.
Best places to stay:
In Cape Town , there are a few psy friendly backpackers which sometimes might even throw a party themselves or organise lifts to some of the festivals. Check out Carnival Court or Ashanti Lodge.
For the rest of the country , you might not get such a specialised service , so best check a website like coasttocoast.co.za for a full list of options
Best places to eat:
If you like fine dining , South africa has had more than a few restaurants listed in the top 50 in the world
and compared to the rest of the world, they are quite affordable. Overall its a food tourists` dream and lets not forget the amazing wine culture too.
There are too many to mention across the country so check the website for a complete list of places to eat for your budget wherever you find yourself.
For all SA psytrance info on artists , events , locations etc.
The nations restaurant finder. Search for places to eat via your taste, budget, location etc.
South Africa`s hop on , hop off backpacker bus service that runs all the way up the country.
Table Mountain in Cape Town is one of the oldest mountains in the world and surely one of the most impressive.
Towering over the city like a huge guardian , its said to radiate huge magnetic and spiritual energy.
Its one of the latest additions to the New 7 Wonders of the World.
About the Author:
My name is James Copeland and I`ve been going to psytrance parties in and around Cape Town and South Africa for over 17 years.
I`ve seen many cycles and changes in the scene over this time and also had the pleasure of seeing the business from the perspective of a musician.
I`m a DJ and producer who has been gigging in the scene for about 12 years under the names Broken Toy and Sad Paradise.
I`ve played at every kind of event there is to play in South africa and also quite a lot abroad too.