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)
2020 was obviously the year from hell for lots of things, including festivals. EDC had a 2.5 year gap, and Dreamstate ended up with a 2 year gap, but despite probably losing a bunch of money during the pandemic, Insomniac did a great job putting a quality show as always, dealing with all the extra difficulties (artists cancelling due to covid, other artists unable to get visas to enter the US), and yet they went back to 4 stages instead of 3 in 2019.
Of course, many of us had fun at EDC Vegas a month ago, read more here: http://marc.merlins.org/perso/clubbing/post_2021-11-22_After-a-2_5Y-wait_-Our-next-EDC-Vegas.html , but while EDC has trance, it's not about trance, Dreamstate of course is about trance!
Unlike creamfields where some of the extra stages were honestly shit visually and audio quality-wise (and their security was dicks), insomniac made sure all stages were as good as could be, even the smallest one (void).
The lineup was solid like I said:
As always, it's not EDC Vegas level eye candy, but it's still quite good, nothing to complain about :)
The decors were great and the VIP areas were shiny:
If you didn't bring your own lighting, they had you covered:
The stages were as follows:
The dream stage was quite pretty, well done
The sequence, psytrance was ok-ish but the DJ booth wasn't lit well, so you could barely see who was playing
vision was good enough, but still had the annoying line to get in
even the smaller void, was good too
Of course, what makes Dreamstate and EDC magical, is not just the eye candy that Insomniac brings, but what the attendees bring too, from good vibes, costumes, and totems:
TFSF's Katie-Ann did a great job with her psy outfit :)
That's not counting Afik's LED totem entourage, an ever growing list :)
Of course, we had our local trancefamily groups:
For the LED/tech nerd that I am, it was great to see more people with LED panels, some were able to use some of the code that I published online and make their own improvements on top:
really cool totem with 12 RGB panels (more than me, but less resolution than me), run by an FPGA card, well done!
of course Afik's trusty totem was here
and I had fun with my outfit :)
So, let's start with Day #1, I got there bright and early, 17:00 when it opened:
so great to see Haliene again
also great to see Thrillseekers again
life is always better with lasers ;)
it was special to see Emma Hewitt, it's not every day
I've seen Fadi 6 times in the last months, but still love him each time :)
for those who don't know him, he is literally the nicest guy on earth
And to save the best for last, after Paul Van Dyk, was Ferry Corsten's Gouryella which was truly a religious experience for many, myself included. I still remember hearing it in what turned out to be 2016 at EDC at Circuit Grounds after consulting my archives :) Thank you so much Ferry for playing this again, albeit an updated version:
just seeing the lyrics brings the tunes back in my head :)
what a finish
Thank you Ferry.
Wait, you're saying you missed this? Well, don't worry, I recorded a bit over 2/3rd of it in my video summary of Day #1 (starting at 59:43):
After just enough sleep, I had a bit of time to write some extra code for my LED outfit, including adding some DJ faces (see bottom for Craig, Liquid Soul, and Blastoyz), and an extra trancejesus has it on vynil screen (see above). I then went a bit early to check out the grounds before everything started for Day #2:
the calm before the storm :)
Excited to see Xijaro & Pitch
Anthony pointed out the irony that as a blind man he got to play at the 'vision' stage :)
the costumed dancers were very good as always
Got some triplets from Whitenoise
absolutely delighted to see Alpha9 again, I enjoyed his set each time
Definitely enjoyed seeing Zero Gravity Arts again:
truly dope ass outfits
Super nice to see liquid soul, always smiling and happy with the joys of psytrance :)
Gareth back on mainstage
But I went to see Craig Connelly, because well, that was not even a question :)
Definitely enjoyed Blastoyz's set
went to check out Aly & Fila's UV set
and finished the night and festival with Reality Test
And just like that, the 2 days, 18H of trance, were over. Thank you to insomniac, all the artists and everyone who brought in outfits, smiles, and good vibes.
Video summary of Day #2:
And I have to thank, you know who you are, for expanded access and being able to meet so many artists. Thank you!
Waiting a year for EDC is a long wait, but it got moved in May 2020, and moved again in October 2020, and again in May 2021, that was starting to be torture, and it finally happened on Oct 2021, not a moment too soon!
so glad to be back
Even though the event was not sold out, and used tickets were going for very low prices, insomniac did not cheapen out on the event. Plenty of DJS were not able to come due to covid travel restrictions, but the grounds were just as impressive as usual:
On day #3, I went early (before sunset), I was able to talk myself into the big ferris wheel and got a special ride to the top when it wasn't opened yet. Got some great shots of course:
Too bad most people missed sunset due to the opening times:
the calm before the storm
I later got a ride on the 2nd ferris wheel as soon as it opened at 19:00:
a few things moved, a bit more ground was used
this was a cute addition
favorite burning man art as always
always a crowd favorite too
nice parking job
sure, I went for a few rides, even more fun when you're not sober :)
Downtown EDC was well setup:
Lots of stores too:
great to see Pixel Forest again
unfortunately the pixel forest tunnel didn't have the fantastic music/visuals combo it had in 2019
There are fireworks, and there are EDC fireworks. After EDC fireworks, it's harder to see other fireworks, for sure, especially with the drone show that was added this year:
Fireworks of all 3 days:
Festival goers in Europe probably think I'm some weirdo that came from space (especially those idiots that run creamfields and actually prevent you from getting in with anything cool, because I guess it's better to keep it boring). This is really one of the things Insomniac has done so well, fostered this culture of cool totems and costumes:
And great to see more LED totems, even if I'm still the only wearable LED outfit:
this totem was nice as it allowed taking pictures, videos, and replaying them
And of course, got to meet an ever growing list of friends:
normally we have more folks. We will next time!
so great to meet trancejesus in person
Triode and Kifi
Mark Estes who wrote some of the animations (like this one) on my outfit
But let's not forget my friend Afik I first met at EDC, and turns out we live close enough to one another. We became good friends, along with all of Afik's friends, a dedicated group in TFSF and TFLA:
are there more beauiful people?
also met Rory first on the internet, helped him with some code now running his furret totem
And there are so many performers that get ready for us:
I feel so thankful that we were stll able to have some of my favorite DJs:
Fadi totally slayed, and he's such a nice guy. 'You again' indeed, 3rd time we met in a week :)
Lots more people of course:
And yes, people waited a long time!
And of course, the party within the party:
But anyway, let's get on with the festival:
I was lucky to have a nice view on the shuttle locations from my room, shuttle locations that Insomniac is still not giving precise GPS waypoints for, making many people walk quite a bit trying to find them:
lots of busses waiting at mid strip to take happy ravers
no line when I got there around 17:45, but the busses weren't going yet
Unfortunately, despite all the busses and staff being there, the first bus didn't leave until 18:00, which was too late with traffic, so we only arrived at EDC past 19:30, and I barely got to Khromata's set around 18:45, having missed 45mn of it. I hope that insomniac fixes this for real and allows busses to leave earlier (at least 17:30) on fridays, since there is bad traffic each time.
Happy to see Khromata, even if it was only for the last bit of her set:
Quantum Valley looked nice, but the atom bar in the middle blocked the screen for many pictures
So good to be back:
I spent most of my time at Quantum Valley, trance head that I am, but tried to see a few others too:
So great to see Haliene live again
This was my beef about the atom look of QV, it messed up the screen and pictures:
Paul van Dyk
Paul Oakenfold was next, he was a complete mess, totally coked up, a disaster with the microphone when his buddy didn't take said microphone to make things worse. He even totally messed up a mix, reset a track from the start and played it twice, because 0 fucks given. So sad, he's such a pioneer and truly one of my idols. This is why you shouldn't do drugs, kids, or pick them carefully :)
so happy to be here :)
yes, I see you :)
but really, I'm bored out of my mind
I spent some time to check out Kinetic Field with special access just in time for seven lions:
I used my prototype code that lets me send custom messages from my phone
I then stepped back a bit for a better overview
it was then time to come back for some good psytrance from reality test:
she was nice to see her fans after her set was over at 05:30
Back for day #2, by then the friday traffic was gone, so the 18:00 shuttle got there just before 19:00, opening time from the shuttle side.
A few stages:
Great to see Alessandra Roncone again
After randomly discovering Say My Name at the last EDC, I went to see him again:
Seeing Vini vici for the 3rd time in 2 weeks :)
I was excited to see Pendulum Trinity again after seeing them at Creamfields, good show.
For Day #3, I wanted to see Z-Trip who was playing before 19:00, so I had to take an uber (shuttles start too late), and got there at 17:30 from the other side:
Z-Trip did slay, so happy to have seen him in person. It's a shame that he played so early, which caused so many people to miss his set:
Z-Trip did slay, so happy to have seen him in person:
I also took the time before the main festival opened to see the calm before the storm:
And then the gates opened and everything else started:
And back to the trance stage for a lot of great sets:
Went to see Eric Prydz with my friends. Interesting visuals but too techno-ish for me:
So back to the trance stage to catch the rest of cosmic gate:
Holy shit did Aly and Fila's Fadi slay. It was funny, it was my 3rd time seeing him in 7 days, but loved it
Also had a bit of fun, took pictures, saw people:
nice view from the passport grounds
And I finished the last night with a B2B between Saymyname and 12th planet:
It was literally my first time staying until the end of EDC (my flight at 08:15 was just late enough that I could stay until 05:30, catch a shuttle back to my room, arrive at the hotel just before 07:00 and take an uber to the airport to catch my flight out:
The ending ceremony was underwhelming, not a big deal that I missed it in the past:
With covid, it had been 2 years since This Is Trance at Panama in 2019, so glad to go back, even if it was more during day hours (15:00 to 00:00 due to the midnight curfew). Actually earlier hours was just as good, it's all about the lineup, and the lineup was solid.
ADE Day #4 for my outfit, despite a lot of "close contact", survived and was still working. Even the neopixel strips were still working. I also found out that with my 3rd battery, I should get 13 to 14H runtime (about 240Wh of batteries for the 148,032 LEDs on the outfit):
The different security staff that day had a quick look at my stuff, but again was nice enough to let me in without issues, although they didn't allow people to come in with even an empty bottle of water.
Back at Panama, Panama, I missed you, and your 20cl glass bottled municipal water, as well as 2 euro fee to go use the toilets (but they are nice, you only pay once per night, and I didn't first have to exchange my money for worthless tokens, so it could be worse, haha. That was my fee to go refill my bottle of water)
It's not a huge venue and it was packed to the brim, so it definitely gave for a more intimate feel. Everyone was having a great time. Actually I wondered if anyone was sober at all, and by that I don't mean beer, haha. The crowd vibes were just amazing:
the VJs did a good job with lighting and lasers
Paul Thomas opened at 15:00:
The Thrillseekers was next, Steve did another enjoyable set again:
Factor "I can't believe I'm getting paid to have this much fun" B was next, OMG, he was on fire:
bring it on!
Good to see John O Callaghan next, as always he's more calm and composed, but that didn't stop him from another great set too:
Did I mention FactorB was having a lot of fun? :)
Aly and Fila was back again, and we didn't mind :)
FactorB went to enjoy that said in the crowd, with us
The studio had Road Kahan and then Suncatcher & Exolight, happy to see them again after Untold in Romania:
Back in the main room, Bryan Kearney was next, and played trance that was less hard as usual. I enjoyed it more as a result:
And Manuel Le Saux closed the night:
It was also great to see the newlyweds Robert and Nadine Nickson for a group picture:
Manuel nicely played a song for them:
And after 9H the night was over, so much fun, one more picture with Suncatcher & Exolight, it was cool to meet again after Untold:
ADE Day #2 was back at AFIS Live, this time was ASOT's 1000 celebration (ASOT 1038), as a warmup for the one that got moved to february 2022 after the unfortunate cancellation of the september show due to NL covid rules.
the T-Shirts were ready :)
I did my best to represent TFSF
The show started at the ASOT studio and was migrated live to AFIS:
Mark Sixma was next:
Then, Armin took over for a 2H set, I had my outfit ready for him :)
we even got some live singers
great to see Susana again, singing her new single with Armin
The last hour was Vini Vici, both of them this time (so funny that I literally was with one of them a few days prior in SF):
While it was only 5H and really a warmup for the real ASOT 1000 rescheduled to feb 2022, given that we were all hungry for parties again, it was great to have this night:
It was also cool to be on the official stream quite a bit, like here:
Full Stream, I'm visible during these offsets: 3:07:45, 3:17:09, 3:40:21, 4:07:59, 4:09:39, 4:20:06, 4:20:17, 4:23:37, 4:39:51, 4:48:29, 5:04:48, 5:13:44, 5:21:40, 5:47:11, 5:50:54, 6:16:27, 6:18:58, 6:25:08, 6:25:57, 7:14:01, 7:14:57
I was fresh off the 2 planes that got me to Amsterdam from California (no direct flight because of covid), and after getting setup in my hotel, I went straight to AFIS Live for the AMF Top 100 DJ Awards. It was obviously not a Trance event, but there was some good trance, and honestly the rest of the music was also enjoyable, so I had a good time. Due to the covid curfew, the event was only until midnight, which was fine since I was obviously jetlagged and tired :)
AFIS Life was nice enough to let me in with my outfit without issues, overall the Dutch are more pragmatic, so I wasn't overly worried (except for that Luminosity incident in 2019). I was there 15mn before it opened, so I got in quickly, but made the mistake to take a few pictures before heading for the rail, so I never made front row during the night, but I still had a great time :)
security was quick and painless
The lineup was 6H and very varied:
I had never seen Christina before, she played some good trance
Mariana Bo was also full of energy, good show
Armin won the 'highest trance award', haha
Then came the top 10 DJ results:
Armin got #3 again, not bad
And David still at #1
AFAS Live was a pretty big venue:
they had lasers, but they were fixed, could be a better setup I think
from a distance, it looked nice though
It was a good night. The only downside was AFAS had pick pockets, which thankfully would have struggled to get things from my weird pockets, but that's not cool. That was a first good night, 3 more to go :)
I need to keep the title short, but it was actually Tony Dex, Alastair James, Khromata, Vini Vici, and Achimyst. A lot of us arrived just around 23:00 for Khromata though because we were at Above and Beyond until 22:00.
It was 3 hours of triplet bliss, thanks to all!
Everyone had been shelterd a home for too long, last year we had an epic 72H twitch stream, but well, it was online only. This time it was in person again, with 4 rooms, people, friends, and lasers! The lineup was stacked.
Bright at early in the afternoon due to a 02:00 curfew
friends from arount the world, re-united
nice TFSF kandy :)
Hi Ryan :)
And it was picture night, woohoo!
great to meet Somna
I recently added that for Sean Tyas :)
so nice to finally meet GO, he's a bit crowd shy :)
even M.I.K.E. and Sean at the end
Time to party :)
did I say the lineup was stacked? yes, it was
So many sets happening at the same time. I saw a good part of Somna's set, but wish I had done the entire set
Findtherabbit doing an excellent job with visuals, Somna's set was so much better with them
Jumping back and forth between stages:
Sean Tyas, great set too
Somna then handed over to Alessandra Roncone, I think it was a first for her in SF
But there was more, things just didn't stop:
Did I mention lasers?| Life is better with lasers, isn't it?
But it wasn't time to stay in one place, if you did, you missed out:
fuck you MF :)
M.I.K.E. finished the night on mainstage:
And that was it, the night was over, so much good trance, absolutely the best event TFSF has ever had. Ulrich, you outdid yourself, thank you!
Ulrich and Sony
And after party at Afik's, thank you;
By 05:00 it was finally time to go home, after such a great day, thank you to all.