Ok, so I like electronic dance music, more specifically Trance. When I started in the 1990's, the US was a bit behind in that department.
Still, with San Francisco and San Jose nearby, I've had some opportunities to see some great EDM/Trance DJs. Back in the early 2000's, they sadly played club music in the US that was nowhere close to the hits they had composed and were known for, but over the years, as Trance started becoming more popular, those DJs finally started playing their good tunes in the US too, and maybe from 2004 on, it's only been getting better. Popsicle Halloween 2004 was really the beginning of great music parties in the San Francisco Area, and thankfully things have gotten even better since then
As a matter of fact, after another 10 years (2015 and beyond) the good news is that Trance has grown quite a following in the US, and places like the SF Bay Area, and while Trance has been declared dead a few times in the last 10 years, it's still going strong here.
Trance Family SF is definitely strong in the area, we've been getting more big trance parties every year, including many top DJs that come visit us what feels like every other week now (as of 2018-2019), and through those events, I made many friends in Trance Family SF. Thanks to you all.
Over those years, I got the chance to meet a few of my favourite DJs, including Armin more than once, and my last hobby has been to work on lights for my shirt and pants (version 3) and (version 4)
I had known about Luminosity for a little while, technically if I had gotten my shit together, I could have gone last year, but it was a bit too late then, so I made sure this year happened. Sadly, this year was not nearly as much as the previous years: it used to be 4 days with 12H a day, but the city council responsible for that part of the beach actually decided that it was too loud and put a reverse curfew on the festival. This was apparently not to inconvenience a few people on the beach who could literally have walked 2mn away in either direction if they didn't like the sound. Sigh...
As a result of this BS, the event was only allowed to start at 15:00, but it gets worse, even then they were not allowed to use any sound until 17:00. Sadly, that meant the first 2 hours were literally sound you could barely hear and a mostly a waste for the DJs that were playing. It kind of broke my heart to see Thrillseekers do a 3H set from 14:00 to 17:00 one day where you couldn't hear the sound :(
This is obviously not Luminosity's fault, but it effectively removed around 5H per day, or 20H total. Hopefully they get to handle that for next year, or the event is going to be much lesser than it used to be
I talked to some DJs who got sets cancelled or were forced to play with virtually no sound, and they were not happy either
the sound booth guy was tired of everyone asking why you could barely hear any music
That said, there were plenty of DJs still. I couldn't help myself and take a few pictures. It actually took a while before I got a clue, I could have gotten many more pictures if I had tried harder, but I had been wanting to talk to PvD and get a picture with him for so long since I've been listening to his music for over 20 years and that this alone was awesome. Sadly I missed Ferry Corsten due to a time conflict. Oh well, maybe another time:
Craig Connelly, I'm a big fan of his tracks
Paul Van Dyk, after so many years!
Matt Darey, that brings me way back. He also did a great classics set
That being said, despite the 20H that were effectively missing, it would have still been a stellar event, but sadly they were 3 big problems in my book:
As I just learned the day after getting home, the city council, on top of putting heavy schedule and sound restrictions on the event, also apparently put heavy security restrictions, to the point that they went overboard with security and denied me use of my led outfit during the last 3 days of the event "for security reasons"
the security was not correctly prioritizing their threats (to be fair, that's actually hard to do, and even with proper training, not everyone does a great job making the right calls), and convinced themselves that the wires in my outfit could be used to injure others, when shoe laces would honestly do the same.
the "you must buy our overpriced bottled water, which we'll sell you without bottle caps". This is so petty... Just charge what you need to charge on the tickets and let people hydrate as they need to. If only one person ends up in the hospital or worse due to dehydration, that is not worth it. Insomniac got the clue, Lumi not yet.
The security company they used freaked out on day #2 when a different guy at the entrance saw my light outfit and the wires that it needs to run. In his head wires = bad = terrorist = fear. He actually said he worried about ISIS. OMG... It was downhill from there, people trying to justify the decision all the way where they agreed that I wasn't a risk, but someone could rip out the wires from my outfit and use them to strangle someone else, or something. This is the saddest I've ever heard, especially because the event security was so sad to start with. For their own sake, I'm not going to reveal the huge security holes I found when I got annoyed at this (I have security training) but generally the perimeter was a joke. You could literally smuggle anything you wanted in, including weapons. The thing is that people didn't do it because they were happy to pay for the event, like I was, and honestly trance events is not really where you find weapons or fights to start with. Good thing that no one tried to use their shoe laces to strangle others or we'd have to get in without shoelaces or shoes next time... (and in case you were wondering, I spent non trivial effort to make sure my outfit would not injure others even if they banged into me while dancing).
there were so many fences you could smuggle anything through. Thankfully it was only water and ice cream
The only thing that kept us safe was that people came to have a good time, not to cause trouble (except maybe a handful of people who got a bit too drunk and became mean drunks), and honestly they should focus on that.
Thankfully, and that's their biggest failure, their biggest external "threat" was really people trying to smuggle water in, or would you believe it, bottle caps (yes, bottle caps were actually forbidden, because they could be used to refill and close a bottle of water they were trying to force you to buy inside. I really saw a guy being detained by security at the entrance until he threw away both his empty bottle and then the bottle cap he was trying to keep). That's very petty.
this did his best to beat the system and brought his own resealable bottle cap
While I expect any festival to screen for weapons, even if this one had such a porous perimeter, the empty bottle and bottle cap stuff was just sad (food was of course also forbidden, but that's a bit more typical). The food options inside were pretty poor, but on the plus side, they allowed you to leave the event to buy food outside if you wanted to:
people stood in line for 30 to 60mn on the first day to buy fake money
which actually got devalued and of course becomes worthless at the end of the event
and then you can spend it on limited food options
Can't say I was a fan of this. They should allow contactless payment (phone or credit card) which is almost as fast and bypasses this silly token system, at least in addition to tokens. Inside they had 30-60mn lines at the token counters and no lines at the food/drink boths.
Usually I don't rant like this, but between forcing people to pay almost $5 per 0.5L of water (make money on the ticket, not on water that creates so much plastic waste and kills our oceans), and banning my outfit on day 2 after all the trouble I went through to bring it in across the world, I was not a happy camper. That said, I had a few pictures from day #1 before I was considered such a risk, along with some of my friends from the San Francisco area (who were then all very disappointed to learn that luminosity banned my outfit on the next days):
Ok, now that it's off my chest, back to the event. Despite the serious neutering that happened due to the city sound curfew, Lumi is still an event that's one of a kind. The sheer amount of DJs and producers that attended, was beyond impressive. To their credit, they also allow you to stand almost next to the DJ playing or behind him/her while he's playing and take great shots of the crowd. This is not something you can expect just about anywhere else. And on top of that, many DJs were more than happy to talk with their fans and pose for pictures (some were understandably harder to approach than others).
also I saw people just climbing speakers and dancing on top when at the average festival, they'd be taken out within less than 1mn. I can actually found that refreshing :)
no backstage pass required, I was just able to walk here
Sadly, I'm still bitter about what they did to me, let's get back to the event, which was otherwise quite good despite the effective 20H+ missing compared to previous years.
For starters, we were lucky with the weather, it was unseasonably warm, even borderline too warm on saturday (some other years, they had rain and most of the event is uncovered).
you may notice the big dune that you'll find all the way around the Netherlands as a shield for the country that mostly under sea level
the event was by the beach, and there was a fair amount of wind most days
They had 4 stages, 2 big one outdoors and 2 smaller ones indoors. Some days only had 3 stages running, other days, 4. Interestingly while the schedule changed quite a bit during the event, saturday and sunday had an extra unannounced stage, and when Solarstone was playing allegedly until midnight on friday, he didn't stop and no one kicked him out either :)
Anyway, here are pictures from Day 1:
my first time seeing Will Atkinson. Some DJs don't travel to the US
haha, climb on top of speakers, no one cares :)
sun took forever to set, it was only dark for 15mn before the 'day' was over
sucks to be the laser guy when you can only use the lasers for such a short portion of the event
Video of Day #1:
This brings us to Day #2. That day John Askew played a 9H OTC set. I was joking that he was wearing a "weekend at bernie's" shirt just in case they had to prop him up, but he didn't need that, he just kept on going, awesome stamina:
Jennifer came on day #2 and enjoyed some shade by the beach, where you could still hear the music
finally some darkness
Solarstone finished the evening
He finished past the event closing time, and no one complained :)
Video of Day #2:
Saturday was Day #3, the warmest day of the festival:
they added some big fans, as indoors was unbearably hot
they had water cannons to make the temperature easier to bear
next was PvD
Video of Day #3:
Sunday was Day #4 and the last day:
I ran into Matt Darey, awesome. I thanked him for his stellar Gamemaster mix
Got to chat with goldenscan before their classics set, which was quite enjoyable
thrillseekers did another set, he sure worked a lot and I sure didn't mind :)
Matt Darey took the classics deck and did a very enjoyable set too
Ferry Corsten was next
Video of Day #4:
And that was it for Luminosity, it ended at 23:00 on the 4th day (probably another city curfew).
A few extra pictures. One plus of the festival is that you get sunsets. Day #2:
Jennifer came back to the beach to come watch the sunset on Day #4 with me:
sadly it went to hide behind the clouds
although it unexpected came back out a bit later when I tried to get a picture with Ferry (and failed)
As for outfits, well, they weren't many. Outside of how I was treated, and the fact that most of the festival is during daylight hours (sunset was at 22:30), looks like Europeans aren't into fancy outfits as much in the US. Never mind totem poles, not seen a single one (although to be fair I have mixed feelings about totem poles as they totally block the view of the stage). That said there were at least some fun T-shirts:
So that was that, with the security stuff that happened, sadly it was a bittersweet experience, but outside of these unnecessary actions, it was enjoyable and definitely interesting to experience. Now, if they can just stop the bottled water BS, reconsider their real security threats (if any), and fix the very damaging curfew from the city, hopefully next year will be better again.
Lumi is definitely a event on its own: for the trance fans by the trance fans. The access you get to DJs, I have found nowhere else and I can only say thank you for that alone. Thanks to all the DJs/artists who came, and everyone who supported them and made the event happen.
TFSF returned to 1015 for a 4 room set. It was 5H in 4 rooms, difficult to see it all, but we did our best (Jennifer was able to join me).
Here's close to 1H from my roving camera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D4Db10AfJo
And here is close to 1H of DJ Blurr's set in the classics' room:
Here's another 30mn+ from the front room with Alastair James B2B Voices From Within:
Can't believe it's been 5 years since my first EDC already, time flies.
Having learned from previous years (both EDC with the bus system, and me), I left vegas earlier (17:30 to 17:45 all 3 days), which meant not bus line, and that was great.
The shortcut through the air force base was not always faster depending on traffic to get there, but was a mostly reliable 1-1.5H trip:
empty bus line yipee!
nice awacs planes
Welcome to EDC, 3 more days of fun:
Quantum Valley, much much nicer this year with pixel forest in the foreground
Rainbow Road to Kinetic Field
the calm before the storm
One fun thing at EDC are the people and costumes:
fantastic paint job, well done
The dancers were nice and took pictures with us:
low res version of my previous shirt better coverage. Nice job
I obviously didn't resist the urge to take pictures with others:
Including friends and people I know from other events:
Afik and his new sign
in his natural habitat
and then, there is this guy, it was his first EDC and he did more than great :)
not causing trouble :)
Random burning man-like displays and projects, as well as art:
burning man's mayan warrior
it's a beautiful art car, just not my kind of music
VIP Areas (there were many kinds):
Then, there was Pixel Forest, really really cool job, especially the music/neopixel tunnel:
Another great display were the Tesla Coil Dancers (Lords of Lightening?):
Lots of rides:
Every day had a parade:
And yes, EDC was about music of course, let's start with Day #1:
Quantum Valley (trance) was much improved
Niko Zographos helped open the new stage with a great set
Ali and Fila
above and beyond was next at circuit grounds
only at EDC
Gareth Emery was next, for an interesting set that travelled all over
And there isn't an EDC without fireworks, right after Above and Beyond's set:
Also, a lot of tech to make this all work:
Here is a summary of Day #1:
And brings up to Day #2
after Craig, I went to check out the competition a bit
then back to Quantum Valley for Bryan Kearney
then Paul Oakenfold took over
Nice suit :)
Ferry Corsten was next
Paul van Dyk sadly only got to play a little bit before the stage was shut down for wind
Sadly, there was a lot of wind on day 2 and day3. It caused a shutdown of some stages on the 2nd day:
Here is a summary of Day #2:
Then, the last day, the hardest one on your energy bank :)
Ruben was nice enough to take a picture with me
I then tried to check out other stages again, got to see a good portion of Say My Name, which was an interesting mix of genres:
Then, it was time for Armin's set at Kinetic Field:
Armin was also nice enough to take a few pictures
After Armin, back to Quantum Valley for Cosmic Gate:
And Mark Sixma:
Here is a summary of Day #3:
And it was time to get out and catch a shuttle to make my flight (which ended up being cancelled, thank you Southwest):
eventually, all good things come to an end
time to get home and race back to the airport for my flight that I found out got cancelled when my phone started getting signal again
I'll admit that I didn't know Allen Watts, which was on me. I should have known him, and now I do :)
Eugene Luu opened for the first 2 hours with a good set. We enjoyed it:
Allen Watts took over at 23:00 for a 3H set, which was really good. It was 3 hours of goodness, and I'm very happy I got to learn about a DJ I didn't know yet and plays Trance I quite enjoy. Thank you to the folks who organized the event and got him over:
I really enjoyed what he played, here's a quick summary:
IT had been a while since I saw Orjan. He's a solid trance DJ I had seen in a festival at shoreline years back, and hadn't seen since then. It was great to see that he was visiting SF, even if it happened to be on a thursday night. So, I decided to go.
AudioSF, however, continued its trend of not bothering to post any set times, or even who the opening DJ was going to be, because I guess it's not important for them to tell us?
Sadly, the opening DJ, was... well, I try not to say bad things about DJs in general, because even if they're not great or I happen not to enjoy the music they're playing, they're still DJs, and I'm not, so that's probably enough of a reason that I can STFU :)
But I'll say at least that AudioSF needs to get a clue and use opening DJs that remotely play the same genre than the same DJ.
Poor Orjan had to work hard to bring the room back to Trance, which in theory was supposed to be the point of that night. Thankfully he did, and good time was had after that.
he was super nice and posed for a lot of pictures that night. Thanks Orjan
After months and months of work, here is version 4:
Sadly, going up in resolution with addressable pixels, is not that easy. While in theory you should be able to fit at least 2 addressable pixels per centimeter (aka P5). Currently my premade panels are P10, which is the only thing I could buy pre-made.
What allowed me to switch were those flexible P4 RGB Panels from Azerone: https://amazon.com/gp/product/B07F87CM6Y
With their P4 resolution, I'm able to fit 96x64 on my body using 3 panels of 64x32 chained together. The 3rd panel is then chained to the 2nd set of 3 panels in my back:
On the old shirt, I put the rear panel inside the shirt, using the shirt as a diffuser, but with the RBGPanels, they were too thick for this to be practical, so I had to put them on top of the shirt. As a result, I ended up uing a black shirt which matches the color of the panels. I had to attach velcro to the new shirt, and confirmed that supergluing them was so much faster than sawing, and worked just as well:
I unsoldered the power connectors that were too thick, and used small metal wire to connect the panels together (see top middle of the picture). Turned out those metal wires were a mistake as they can cause shorts on the LEDs on the other side of the board:
Another thing I learned was that the holes I was using to put a metal wire to carry the panels over my shoulders, can't actually take the load, and the wire can cause damage to the copper trace that is just next to the hole. As a result, I replaced the metal wires with fishing wire and didn't use the bigger holes for load bearing:
Speaking of removing thickness from the board, I removed the top of the ribbon connectors to make them a bit thinner. Sadly, RGBPanels still require 15 wires to send the video signal:
I then took one panel and covered it with defusing foam (the rear panel, so that it's not too sharp and blinding to people behind me), while the front panel only has the plastic cover to protect the panels and offer a bit of extra diffusion:
you can see the difference between the diffusion levels
I then protected the rear of the panels given how much electronics were exposed:
Small details had to be solved, like making sure I had enough amps going through the wires (use thicker wires). Without that, my brightest pattern that uses 8 amps, didn't quite make it:
For fun, I made a pattern that scrolls my C++ scrolling code on the screens:
I went from a breadboard prototype to Jason Coon's ESP32 level shifter board, much more tidy
This video shows how things are wired from the ESP32 to the panels:
Here is what the whole power system looks like:
2 4S Lipos, 5Ah, 80wh, giving a total 160Wh of energy
Amp meter in line with the lipos and cell tester with low voltage warning buzzer
Amp gauge with timer to know how much energy flowed from the batteries (you can't run lipos down or they'll die)
Tobsun DC-DC converter to take voltage down to 5V
2nd voltage regulator to bring the voltage further down to 3.3V for the El Wire glasses
5V goes to RGBPanels via separate thick wire to carry the amps
ESP32 with level shifters from 3.3V back up to 5V for the RGBPanels (6 channels for the colors to level shifters, 4 address lines to do 16 scan line refreshes). CPU runs SmartMatrix::GFX and NeoMatrix-FastLED-IR
16th data line is used for the Neopixel strips on my arms and legs, running the same code than the previous shirt
Here is an example of 3 levels of diffusers, including a raw set of panels with no diffusers:
After going to Luminosity Beach Festival, a underpaid and undertrained security guard at the entrance freaked out at the wires, so I made boxes to hide the wires and hopefully remove the "OMG, it's a bomb" reflex that some people might have:
2 batteries, fuse, meters and output
adapter box that takes 16V down to 5V and measures current used while distributing power
both boxes together are bigger than my previous setup, but looks a bit better
You can see a demo of the outfit being worn:
If you don't have time for all this, and are ok with 64x64, you can try this backpack from gearbest with everything built in and a very thin board. Just not fun for me because I can't run my own code on it: