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Goa is the place where it all began. The smallest state of India was a Portuguese colony for 450 years until 1961. Shortly after Goa became India, hippies and spirit-seekers of all kinds were drawn there. By the end of the 80s people like Goa Gil, Raja Ram, 8-finger-Eddie, Acid Eric and Mushroom Jack created a new psychedelic realm with Psychedelic Trance as a new spiritual movement that conquered the whole world up to now. The great age of Goa was in the 90s and the first decade of this century.

Parties lasted many days, incredible locations were created, beaches and palm trees were painted in fluorescent colors and the happiness of the Goa freaks seemed endless. It was a free and open era until a few years ago when the authorities wanted to put a halt to the ‘dirty hippie scene’. Police raids, new laws to ‘protect the school children’, enormous bakshish payments to the police for organizing a party and check-points outside the events jeopardized the tropical Psytrance heaven.

The Goan government wanted to change tourism into an upmarket package-tour scene to make tourists spend more money in a shorter time. This plan was successfully executed in places like Baga, Calangute or Candolim. The beaches there are full with shops, deck chairs, restaurants and hordes of ‘normal’ tourists. Well, it’s also those tourists who are the big buyers on the great hippie night market in Arpora, which was closed for some time after Ingo’s night market had stopped.

Many expat-winter-residents who produce clothes, jewellery and leather stuff rely now on the thousands of tourists coming to the Arpora market as well as to Anjuna Flea Market every Wednesday. Well known Psytrance brands such as Nekkid, Symbolica, Chillout Planet, Pagan, Flower of Life or Naspex are sold there – just like on the big summer festivals in Europe. The center for psytrancers is nowadays still between Anjuna, Vagator, Chapora and Morjim – as it was in the 90s.
In recent years many psytrancers moved away from Goa – often to Ko Phangan – because of the annoying party ban. Parties were only allowed during the day until 10 p.m. Well, also Ko Phangan has a closing hour for many years now and multi-day-parties are hard to organize. In the winter season 2011/12 fraggles and psytrancers seem to come back to Goa. I was astonished how many parties were possible again – not only during the day but also the whole night and even lasting for several days. Unfortunately most parties charge a ‘cover fee’ now – up to 1.000 rupees – which is about the same admission charge as in western countries. Relatively new locations emerged and others were revived.
In January 2012 the Russian mastermind XP Voodoo organized a 3-day-party in the Club Westend in Saligao for the Russian X-Mas. Koxbox was playing in UV-Bar in Anjuna. Raja Ram played end of January in the fantastic location of Hilltop between Anjuna and Vagator. New Year’s Eve parties there have become a legend. Curlies, a dance location right on the beach in Anjuna attracts mainly Indian tourists but also trance travellers. Next door many trancers gather twice a week at Shiva Valley. The once famous Nine Bar in Vagator where freaks gathered for so many years has a new management and freaks avoid going there because the marketing targets Indian ‘normal’ tourists, but it’s still a great location on the cliff. The old Primrose club in Vagator was filled with life again after being closed for years and Psytrance is pumping until late at night.
Also the new Teso club in Siolim was full when Mad Max, Pixel, Z-Machine, Romeo and Tristan were playing. Great surprise: even a 2-day non-stop party took place in mid-January in the beautiful beach shack of Bluewave at Morjim beach – providing an international line-up. The scene in Goa is not dead at all – it was only sleeping a bit and is alive again!
Tom Rom

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