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, but had failed to make it happen earlier. 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 there were more issues:
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". Please 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.
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 (holland believes bottles with bottlecaps can be used as weapons).
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 booths (2022 update: this was fixed, tokens are gone, thank you).
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
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 is partially under sea level, the Dutch are the world specialists on dunes and levees
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:
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:
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:
Should you go? Would I go Back?
LBF, otherwise known as Lumi may not be the most flashy festival, but it's simply the best festival in the world for trance lovers, no discussion there. Even that challenging year with cuts in the schedule and heavy sound restrictions, where else do you get 4 stages of trance for 4 days? And where else do you get to see so many trance artists who often don't make the cut for mainstage at bigger events? The answer is simply: nowhere. LBF is where it's at!
Is it worth flying across the world for? If you are a true trance lover, this is the place!
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 thing, 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.