Marc's Public Blog - Clubbing and Trance


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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)



You can find all the pictures here

Table of Content for clubbing:

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If you enjoy random EDM events and festival pictures, you can subscribe to my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ledtranceguy/
And if you are curious about my outfit, you can read more about it on my led peacock engineer medium post


2024/04/13 Solarstone back in SF at Midway SF for another OTC
π 2024-04-13 01:01 in Clubbing, Tfsf
It was great to have Solarstone back in SF, this time for a day show, which worked out just fine for me as I had just gotten back from Texas Eclipse Festival less than 24H earlier, and was kind of jetlagged in the wrong direction :)

The 2nd good luck is I'm not a fan of outdoor shows, especially in SF where weather is unpredictable, and sure enough it rained that day, so the show was brought indoors, which was perfect for me, I much prefer dark anyway :)

Solarstone did a lovely OTC from 15:00 to 20:00, starting nice and easy, and ending with a long list of bangers:







Great to run into friends again:






We had a fantastic time, and Rich was nice enough to stay for pictures until we all go kicked out:



Video summary:

2024/04/04 Texas Eclipse Festival in Burnet
π 2024-04-04 01:01 in Clubbing, Festivals, Texas
I had planned for the so called Great American Eclipse of 2024, and thanks to my friend Marc Antoine who lives in Austin, I did indeed pick Austin as a destination, and at the same time, he told me about a big festival. I was invited to join NAPF, North America Psytrance Family, and we had a great group camping spot just next to the psytrance stages, woot!

I was able to bring my outfit and find a way to charge it nightly without external power (more on solar below):


As a one off festival, I found it was reasonably well organized, at least from what I got to experience: - ok, tickets were weird, you had print at home tickets that told you they were good enough to get in, but that was not true, they had to be swapped for actual car stickers at will call. Thankfully there was a convenient will call at the airport baggage terminal with virtually no wait when I arrived a day early (thursday) - early entry on thursday wasn't bad, by then they worked out the kinks of stupid pointless searches trying to take people's vitamins and other personal items that are more than reasonable to have in your vehicle and campsite (like tools to fix things), but I was specifically very annoyed with them feeling they had the right to go through people's personal drugs, over the counter, or prescription and take everything away that wasn't prescription in original bottle (if you have pill boxes, you're screwed). Thankfully by thursday they had less time to search people's stuff, but still, not acceptable - My wait in line for search was less than 15mn and the search of my car was 5mn, at most. - The drive in to the NAPF camp was long and slow on a very dusty road, took over 20mn. All in all from the outside road to camp was a bit less than 1h, not too bad - I've been told that of course the next day (first official opening day), it took longer to get in, and for people with RV who had paid for and reserved a spot with power/hookups, didn't get them, either because they were partly oversold, and/or because some people who hadn't paid for the spots, took them :(

Setup

I was able to bring a reasonable tent in my check in luggage to austin, as well as enough of a solar system to use the rental car battery as a power station that would get recharged by the panels I bought. It was a bit last minute, experimental, and rough looking, but it worked well enough. The couple of times when I didn't get enough sun, the car came with a free generator ;) (external generators were not allowed in camping):




please don't judge, it worked :)
please don't judge, it worked :)

charging the LED outfit batteries from the car batteries, in turn recharged by solar panels
charging the LED outfit batteries from the car batteries, in turn recharged by solar panels


North American Psytrance Family's (NAPF) camp

We had a nice little setup:




Venue/Grounds

Pictures from arrival:



car search line
car search line

many camps, reasonable signage
many camps, reasonable signage

pretty dry and dusty overall, but a few places with water
pretty dry and dusty overall, but a few places with water

the nature looked pretty nice in places
the nature looked pretty nice in places

The venue

After getting to camp with early arrival on thursday just before sunset, setup camp and went to check out the venue. All the stages were not open yet, but enough things were running:

festival grounds had several entrances with a pretty quick somewhat pointless looking search
festival grounds had several entrances with a pretty quick somewhat pointless looking search




it wasn't burning man, but there was a descent selection of lit art
it wasn't burning man, but there was a descent selection of lit art

Lots of vendors of hippie gear :)









And other misc things:


A reasonable number of food options for all tastes:


They had multiple water refill stations and lockers, although the water refill stations ran out at times, which was not ideal, and I'm told they were turned off (no more water) on monday afternoon after they asked people to evacuate, not great...


multiple first aid stations, but apparently they were underequipped (more on that below)
multiple first aid stations, but apparently they were underequipped (more on that below)

the general store I went to was reasonably equipped, but the prices were hidden and very high
the general store I went to was reasonably equipped, but the prices were hidden and very high





the better VIP area had an IV station where you could pay a lot for some fluids
the better VIP area had an IV station where you could pay a lot for some fluids

A few "art cars"


The grounds were quite big and had multiple areas:






There was even a nice river and a makeshift beach:




To pass the day, they also had 2 stages with talks, some were pretty interesting:



great to see Rick Doblin again to talk about his work
great to see Rick Doblin again to talk about his work




The multimedia dome also played David Jones' Samskara, which was a pleasure to see again




Music and Festival Stages

The festival had close to 10 stages, 6 of them were pretty big. Honestly they were impressive given that they were indeed in the middle of nothing. The only downside was that the map was pretty poor and it was not too obvious which stage was which from the symbols. But yes, the stages were pretty:















NAPF was adjunct to the Ether stage, so we had our own party:






A highlight was to see Oakenfold's day set:




People

Like each festival I go to, I always enjoy the party that other people bring, with lights, costumes, and more:



glad to see the same friends across different festivals
glad to see the same friends across different festivals
















TFSF represent
TFSF represent






Videos

  • Drone show:
  • Samskara show:
  • Small summary of the event:
  • Nice Lit Display:
  • A minute of my outfit:
  • Eclipse and Evacuation Day

    Early Departure

    Monday morning, with barely a shred of a bar on one of my 2 cellphones, I got an urgent message that said bad weather was on the way, that everything left was cancelled (including the main party monday night and the DJs I really wanted to see), and to evacuate as soon as practical. I was weary that the traffic to exit would be terrible, especially from the southernmost camp, about as far from the main road as you can be, so I packed everything in 15mn and got on the exit road. Thankfully I beat most people to it, and was only delayed an extra 25mn or so by the people closer to the exit who had had more time to pack up and get in line too. All in all, I was out to the main road in 45mn, which wasn't bad. While I expected burning man level exodus lines and many hour long waits, I heard most people got out in fewer than 2h, which wasn't bad.
    By then, the weather forecast was such that we wouldn't be able to see anything, so I figured I might as well leave early, but most others chose to stay until after the eclipse and some had renegade parties and stayed until tuesday anyway. The very bad weather that was forecast and caused the organizers to cancel the rest of the event, ended up not happening, but after a statement made by the organizers later, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and that they acted reasonably given the forecast they had at the time. It's true that if hail had come, or even just a lot of rain, the whole event would have become a muddy mess with potentially many cars stuck, getting everyone else, stuck there.

    my early departure plan worked out pretty well
    my early departure plan worked out pretty well

    obviously not the only car in line, but we got out pretty well
    obviously not the only car in line, but we got out pretty well

    Eclipse

    I had looked at the weather forecast enough to have 0 hope to see the eclipse, as the forecast was for a solid overcast and then some rain, but with the evacuation I got out about 1.5H before totality and figured I'd go drive to my friend Marc's ranch about 1h away to spend the rest of the time with him.

    Sure enough, the weather did not look good:


    from time to time, the sun poked out for a minute or so
    from time to time, the sun poked out for a minute or so

    made it in time to Marc's ranch
    made it in time to Marc's ranch

    and as we got closer to totality, the sun became visible more often
    and as we got closer to totality, the sun became visible more often

    yes!
    yes!

    and yes!
    and yes!

    not bad for a handheld camera
    not bad for a handheld camera

    and before long, it was over
    and before long, it was over

    and the sun went hiding again, that was close!
    and the sun went hiding again, that was close!

    Thoughts/Conclusion

    Medical Facilities

    There were concerns with the medical staff, they had plenty of it (good), when I got bitten by a big spider, I was able to see someone quickly enough to make sure it wasn't poisonous (also good), but for at least one person who needed more serious help, apparently they didn't have a defibrillator at most stations (causing one person not to get medical care for over 45mn), or even a more simple blood pressure monitor, which was suboptimal.
    Apparently at least one person died, most likely due to lack of timely medical care, but it's also fair to say that when you have so many people in one place, by the sheer law of numbers, someone is likely to die anyway.
    I'll also add that prompt first rate medical care was not included in the ticket, when you're in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a field, more than 45-60mn away from a hospital, expectations should be set accordingly.

    Other things

  • The map in the app was not very useful as it didn't show you where you were on it. An attendee nicely made a pretty good web based map with location dot, but unfortunately it mostly didn't work for me and wouldn't show me where I was. Getting around was somewhat harder than it needed to be.
  • Water locations were not well indicated on that map either and were not easy to find at night
  • The festival did have a wristband money scheme, but thankfully it was not required and all vendors also took contactless credit cards, so that was the best of both worlds. I happily ignored the wristband money scheme and used my phone to pay without issues
  • The security started wrong (taking people's vitamins on their campsite location, totally not ok), but they loosened up over time. Honestly the perimeter to the inside festival was mostly to keep honest people honest as they say. It was trivial to get past the fence in many places, but at the same time, who would travel all the way there just to try to sneak in? I think it was just enough for good measure
  • I'm not entirely sure what was meant to be disallowed between the campgrounds and festival ground. Once a security person was trying to take a can of mixed drink I had (which did contain alcohol), but that's about it. You could take food in as far as I know
  • The water points were not 100% reliable, which was a potential problem, but I brought enough of my own water that it didn't matter
  • There were no official showers included with the price, not even for VIP, but there was a spa built not too far from my camp that offered showers for $16, a reasonable enough price considering.
  • VIP was a bit of a ripoff in my opinion. The "expedited" VIP entry was totally pointless, there was no wait ever between my camp and the festival grounds. One VIP area had a couple of interesting things and better toilets (although still no place to wash yourself), the other VIP area was just a few toilets and shade, nothing much. I definitely regret paying extra for VIP.
  • Conclusion

  • Honestly, given that this is not a yearly festival in the middle of nowhere in a place that wasn't used for that before, a lot of things went right
  • The stages themselves were actually pretty good considering it was the middle of nowhere, I was pretty impressed.
  • I'm told the organizers spent several months getting the site ready, including adding the dirt roads to get around and making all of this possible, just once, for only a few days. My impressions were actually "not bad at all".
  • Price may have felt a bit high, especially VIP that offered very little for its added price. The add ons like group car camping (around $250 extra), early entry (another almost $100 extra), did add up.
  • The cancellation on monday was very unfortunate, I think it was the right call, but it really damaged the event. The organizers promised a partial refund, still waiting for it at the time of this writing.
  • All in all I still had a good time, the eclipse itself was fantastic, especially since we were some of the few people in Texas that actually had enough clear sky to see the eclipse when it happened.
  • See more images for Texas Eclipse Festival in Burnet

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