“I want to feel that nervous excitement again. The tension.
I want to leap flying into the abyss of dreams“
Stretching ahead, like some golden highway, the summer trance season and all it entails looms invitingly. You know that jittery, nervous feeling you get as your car gets closer and closer to the venue? Yip. I’ve got that in spades.
In my psy party infancy I used to plot and plan all week; I sometimes even stitched an outfit together, complete with the requisite fairy wings. Come party time (of course I would get there the day before it even started) I’d set up camp and wander about the festival as it was coming together.
There was something special about that time. The grass was green and springy, compared to the mud and slush it would be in the end. The décor fresh and luminous. The palpable excitement and anticipation of us eager beavers who were already there. We knew that in the next couple of days anything could happen. Who would we be at the end of it?
Back then going to outdoor parties wasn’t necessarily about the partying – it was about throwing off the shackles of normalcy, embracing the magic and the surreal; it was about going deep inside somewhere very strange.
In the last decade the scene has grown from relatively small ‘R40 parties’ to being the most popular genre in Cape Town. A handful of weirdos dancing in a forest, valley, or beach is a far-cry from the thousands that descend upon the festivals of today. Even ‘smaller’ events have upwards of 1000 people and the freaks and hippies are all but lost in the crowd. Has it become a trend to follow? Is it simply the done thing in Cape Town, rather than a journey for those true intrepid travellers riding the spiral?
Of course I can only speak for myself. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are just as excitable today as I was back then. But, these days, the sheer regularity of parties – there’s what? A couple every single weekend – steals something from the magic, makes it less shiny, less unique. And dare I say it; but kind of boring? I want to feel that nervous excitement again. The tension. I want to leap flying into the abyss of dreams. To not care what anyone thinks. To chase the thrill of living in the moment.
I don’t plan all week for the party anymore. I don’t camp. I decide on a whim to go – and I have fun, a lot of fun. I see my friends, we’re partying outdoors, it’s awesome of course, but it all feels well, so normal.
Like anything special, it becomes less so the more you have access to it. If you drink champagne and eat caviar every day you’re bound to get tired of it… Electronic music by its very nature seems to have a self-destruct button. It consumes and spits music out exponentially. The faster it’s made, the greater the hunger gets. And trance music is right up there with the rest of ‘em.
Conversely, the music business has a history of eating itself up by sheer excess of any trending sound or genre – will psy go the same way?
I hope not. At its core the scene is still strange and underground – never mind how popular it’s got. The [society] outsiders may be lost in the crowd, but they’re still there; and until another genre manages to capture the alternative spirit like psy does, I don’t think they’re going anywhere soon.
Most of the newbies, who will soon get bored, may see their trance party days as an ‘experimental phase’ – and move on to become lawyers and accountants, thinking fondly of their technicoloured youth as a white collar tightens around their necks.
And the true heads? You’ll know where to find us. Just look for the weirdos dancing in the forest.