Giant beach balls fly through the air. The music pulses in the seething crowd. Sunglasses, bikinis – and happy, shiny, people. Or are they?[one_half last=”no”]
I’ve said it before; all psy parties need a dark undercurrent, a sense of danger, it’s what makes them so thrilling after all. But there’s something even darker happening. Underneath the quixotic façade of colour and dreams, there’s rage. A simmering aggression. Not a lot mind you. But it’s there, heating the air.
Let me just clarify where I’m going here. It’s a new year, and looking back over the year that was, there’s a lot to celebrate. The scene has grown more diverse and inclusive, our South African producers are making some of the best music globally, the attention to décor and venue has become a fine art. There isn’t much to complain about. Just, well, there’s something a little bit disrespectful going on.
The communal psy party brain is a strange thing. Much like a colony of ants, which can move and think as one; your actions and attitudes affect the whole.
I’m writing this with legs stiff from dancing, the thrum of bass still ringing in my ears, and the general happy feeling of having been to a really great party. Yet, there are things that need to change. At too many outdoor festivals there are confrontational incidents, many physical in nature.
And while the décor is often transporting, working seamlessly with nature, all you have to do is look down to see a dance floor choked with litter. Whatever happened to ‘leave no trace’? The psychedelic trance scene has embraced the pillars of peace, love and respect from the very beginning. So for the newbies or perhaps the old schoolers who seem to have forgotten, here’s a refresher course to use in the New Year. Let’s call them resolutions.[/one_half] [one_half last=”yes”]
Peace: psy parties are meant to be a safe space, both mentally and physically. People come to escape their normal lives. The last thing anybody should be encountering is a thug or bully. If you feel like you could punch someone, rather go home and klap some more gym boet.
Love: this is a biggie. What makes trance parties so special? Love of course. Not to be saccharine, but, we’ve all felt it. The sense of shared community spirit and unity – hell, how many people have even fallen in love at parties? And it’s not just about love for one another, but also for nature, creativity and music.
Respect: this last one feels like it needs the most attention. Pick up your litter, be respectful to the bar staff and the folk working the door – and they in turn should be courteous and helpful to you. I know things can get a little messy at times, but it’s as simple as minding your manners. Let’s also have respect for each other’s musical preferences. Just because you don’t like a particular act, it doesn’t mean the party’s bad – all it means is there’s diversity in our music, and that’s a good thing.
As I watched those beach balls bouncing to every corner of the dance floor, hundreds of hands punctuating the air, I saw a gathering of misfits. So many different types of people coming together: a punk girl so pale she drifted like a cloud, a cute hippie boy covered in mud, a wizened watcher his hair threaded with beads – so many outsiders in a space free to be themselves.
It’s a beautiful thing. Let’s not ruin it by letting our principles slip.
It’s as simple as keeping it tidy.[/one_half]