Far out in the Pacific Ocean exists a thriving psychedelic community. In the summer months of November to March, the Golden Bay/Nelson region in the South Island is a haven for outdoor events. Auckland is currently driving a healthy scene of club and open-air Psytrance parties all year round. Throughout New Zealand you may find a diversity of Psytrance to suit all tastes, at events ranging in size from underground bush doof to international festival.
In the North Island, psytrance has seen an exciting resurgence in recent years with parties being thrown monthly, many around Auckland. Groups such as Aum, Phat Productions, Ruralremix and Twisted Planet offer a wide range of genres such as Minimal, Prog, Psy, Tech, Goa, Fullon, Zenonesque, and have showcased artists such as Sensient, Interpulse, Infected Mushroom, Complement, Jekyll, Illume, and a range of local talent. Events such as End of The Line and Cosmic Forest offer a range of fresh music for the dedicated Psy-traveller.
In the South Island many outdoor events have a long history, and are thriving by offering a broad range of genres. Luminate has been running since 2008 in Golden Bay, with a strong focus on ecological consciousness. Now biennial, the multi-zoned 8 day festival attracts over 4000 travellers seeking alternative and psychedelic culture, with 5 zones including Psytrance, Fullon, Progressive, Minimal, Techno, House, Glitch, Dub, World Beats, Gypsy, Reggae, Chill and Tribal. Recent headliners at Luminate have included Perfect Stranger, Dark Nebula, Zen Mechanics, Electrypnose, Khainz, Yotopia, Lish, Hypnagog, D-sens, Adham Shaikh, OTT, Beats Antique and Desert Dwellers. Inspirational workshops, a village market, healing zone and circus space complete the festive atmosphere.
Luminate Trust is also part of a Collective which in 2011 bought the land where the festival takes place. Each year funds are allocated to develop the venue for a range of events, with eco-infrastructure such as composting toilets, solar showers and greywater systems. The project also includes native forest restoration and organic food production. The spectacular scenery of this land also attracted “The Hobbit” to film several scenes there; you can visit year round and even camp overnight.
Alien Nation is NZ’s longest running outdoor psychedelic music event, for over 15 years bringing the latest in underground electronic music to a beautiful location outside Nelson. “Enjoy four days and three nights of camping in lush NZ bush with a dance floor of treats that never sleeps.” Recent artists include Artech, Ricco Mazzer, Positive Thought, Shadow FX, Staunch, Circuit Bent, Mustard Tiger and Tetrameth along with a phat line-up of NZ Djs and producers.
Twisted Frequency has two successful New Years events under its belt, with a formula of musical diversity attracting a keen crowd of partyers. Their recent line-up included Whitebear, Dusty Fungus, Xenoscapes, WagaWaga, Biolumigen, Knobs and Dirty Hippy along with heaps of NZ artists. Discombobulation and Ponies have also provided a huge boost to the South Island Scene, with a love of the huge and diverse world of bass music and electronica, friendly vibes, and set in stunning outdoor locations.
In Christchurch the Massive crew run cranking outdoor events with a wide range of music genres every Solstice & Equinox. The Psy Pirates’ events such as Voyage and Primordial have a decent amount of Psytrance on the menu and a great friendly, fun atmosphere.
New Zealand producers have found worldwide success with fresh new takes on Psytrance & Progressive, such as Antix/Fiord, Tom Cosm, Grouch, Isaac Chambers, Mr Squatch, Spoonhead, Invader Tron, and are now joined by the next round of talent such as Bloop, Zimbardy and Dr Krankenstien. Wizdumb founded Cosmic Conspiracy Records in the mid 2000s, and now living in Australia produces a unique flavour of chunky minimal Psy as Tripinstumble.
Maori culture has inspired many in the art of poi spinning, which trance culture has embraced. Home of Poi in Christchurch has a great selection of all things spinning and twirling. Circulation Festival in November offers total immersion in circus workshops. Jugglers Rest in Picton is a cool backpackers to stay at whilst travelling between the north and south islands, welcoming party freaks and jugglers alike. Wharariki beach campsite is a good base to explore Golden Bay, a focal point of alternative living.
A good place to track down party info, herbal highs and smokers’ supplies is at any of the Cosmic stores in the major cities, or The Hempstore in Auckland.
Text: Maia –Organiser and co-founder of Luminate, psytrance dj, sacred activist, lives in Golden Bay, grows organic food and cuddles her two pet pigs.
& Ruralremix- began as a small group of friends doing small parties and mixing music and has grown into one of the leading organizers of underground psytrance events in the Auckland region.
Where to Stay