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)
So, this was my 3rd Luminosity, I was excited, brought a friend to enjoy it together. It went well the first 2 days, until things went very badly unfortunately. This time things went badly enough that I'm going to start with that.
I've never been as late doing a festival report, partially because I had back to back trips, but also because I really wanted to give luminosity a chance to make things right, which not only they didn't but basically the owners/organizers actively ignored me, despite me spending several hours sending them detailed information on the thefts and loss that happened due to their gross negligence (mine was over 500 euros in loss, others I talked to also got their stuff stolen). I also tried to make peace with them for the bomb alert their own security goons triggered due to poor skills, terrible communication, and failure to keep our belongings safe (lockers theft), but no answer there either. At this point I have every reason to expect that I am not welcome to come back, especially if wearing LEDs, so I don't need to fly across the world and spend several thousand dollars to go there anymore.
It really pains me to write this because the rest of the lumi staff doing the work, has been awesome and friendly, most of them loved me and the good vibes I do my best to bring, and most of them were also appalled at what happened this year, including the thefts due to negligence, and my being banned from re-entering the event with my LED outfit. Several literally told me, without my asking them, that the security people were "not the best of the crop", or even "idiots" (direct quote). To make things more complicated even, I was nicely invited as press this year to make it easier to take the many pictures I take for these reports that take many many hours to write, so it's difficult for me to write this report that is not positive, and I really really wanted them to make it right, at least partially, so that I wouldn't have to write this, but unfortunately they did not.
Before I go into details, I'll start by saying that I've dealt with security teams around the world in festivals around the world. Luminosity's security team has been unskilled and untrained in prior years, and basically look and behave like bar bouncers. They don't seem to care if the festival goers have a good time or not, kind of forgetting that this is how they get paid. I literally remember that head of 'security' telling me in 2019 that he didn't really care that he was making my lumi hard to enjoy when he said the LED strips on my legs could be used to strangle attendees (yes, it sounds like a joke, but it's not).
Festival security is not actually an easy job. These guys however are probably used to throwing drunk people out of bars, but that's not really what's needed at a Trance festival. Creamfields was the only festival on the world I've been to, that was worse than lumi in that regard.
Lumi security: making attendees' life worse and not keeping the event secure from multiple locker thefts
First problems from previous years:
First, they re-started the completely ridiculous policy of taking people's sunscreen. Seriously? Why? Are terrorist using sunscreen looking paste to attack festival goers now? Are there even terrorists in Dutch festivals? Thankfully no other Dutch event I've been to, had such policies, only Lumi. If you think I'm being over dramatic about this, I had multiple skin cancers already, and I very much care to use my top tier sunscreen to stay safe
Similarly, they started the water BS again: can't bring water in, even un-opened (i.e. completely safe), and they refused to provide tap water inside, except the last day when they finally reversed the policy for reasons unknown, and some water was available if you stood in line for a while. Forcing the use of countless non recyclable plastic bottles (they pretended to recycle them, but upstream that plastic is not recycled and too much of it ends up in the ocean to kill sea life, you can look it up if you don't believe me). If this was an attempt to make up enough money, it's terrible, just charge the appropriate amount on the tickets.
Every Lumi attendee should Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them they should absolutely provide free drinkable tap water for the festival, like any other festival in a first world country and stop taking sunscreen away. You are customers, don't put up with the plastic bottle waste and needless water bottle lines, never mind the extra cost of course (although if it's essential festival cost, be ready to pay for it in the ticket price instead, that's only fair).
this is not the happy part of lumi
and it's worse than an airport, taking all sprays, liquids, sunscreen, even the ones small enough to be allowed on planes!
And this is where it got really bad this year:
the locker malfunctions and gross negligence, causing big wasted time, and locker theft
The locker company they used this year had one job: provide secure lockers and sell them to one person only. On day #1, it was clear that they had a terrible failure there, and many people were sold the same lockers, causing hour+ lines of people wasting their time waiting for new locker codes. The poor guys who were left there with the broken computer system did their best, but each night, some 4 day lockers seemed to get reset, re-sold, and potentially opened up and emptied overnight.
By day2, one of my 2 lockers had been reset and I had to get manually changed to another one, because they were still being sold more than once. You would think by then the company would go into some "holy shit" mode and really fix this. But no, they did not. I was an idiot to trust them and on day3, my locker was impossible to open again and by the time they opened it with a key, it was empty. All my stuff was gone, over 500E worth, including prescription medication and non replaceable items.
If you are going to tell me I'm an idiot for leaving valuable things in a locker, you might be partially right but at the same time, it's the point of a locker, is it not? Also because of the security people I absolutely did not trust, it felt safer to leave stuff in a locker than take my chance with them again and have them try to steal medication, prescription sunscreen I had to sneak in, or other such shenanigans.
I talked to other other people who got their stuff stolen too, although a lesser dollar value than mine.
And I should add that I got there early enough on Day 3, that it's not super likely that someone else was able to get my locker before I got to it, which also means the staff that reset the lockers overnight and emptied the lockers, likely took my stuff, but I can't prove that.
people were in line for 1H or more on the first day, trying to get their pre-paid lockers
ironically they were sold out, even after being sold multiple times. I'll also note 'eventsafe', which they sure failed at
The actual staff running the locker support and Lumi was super sorry about what happened, asked me to make a full list of everything that was lost, so that I could be compensated in some way, but the people at the top did absolutely nothing despite being asked 4 different times over a period of 6 weeks. Way to go!
Security Called a Bomb Alert on Themselves & LED Outfit Banned Again
So, the locker situation was bad, but for me it got worse. As a result of one of my 2 lockers being entirely stolen, I was very nervous about keeping my LED outfit in the 2nd locker which thankfully hadn't been broken into and emptied yet. It's over a thousand dollars worth of equipment, and many weeks of work to rebuild everything if it got stolen.
So after day 3 was over, I went to talk to the lumi staff and asked them for help keeping my outfit safe. which given that they knew about all my stuff having been stolen, they nicely agreed to. They recommended to put it in the security office, where it would be safe overnight. That all sounded good.
The next day, I come for lumi, and I'm told a huge clusterf... happened overnight. Their security staff called a bomb threat in the middle of the night and evacuated the place because one of them saw my outfit sitting in their office. Just to be clear, that was the same staff that clearly saw me wearing my LED outfit at night, gave me thumbs up for it, also the same staff I gave said outfit to for safekeeping overnight since the lockers could not be trusted. Great job guys!
Now, instead of maybe realizing that they were worrying a little bit too much, I got blamed big time last and 4th day, had part of my credentials (extra access wristband) revoked (the actual wristband story is actually much longer, and it does include an honest mistake on my part, but I'm choosing to skip it for multiple reasons). I was then told not only I could not go in with the LED outfit, I was not allowed to keep it in my locker, and they would not keep it for me during the day, and I Was forced to turn around and bring it back to my hotel. That's after fully agreeing it paused no danger and it was not a bomb, but I guess they had to treat it as such or lose face even more.
After I entered, I had some security people follow me anyway, and soon after stop me and tell me I had been seeing entering and leaving the event multiple times during the last 2 days, that it was forbidden, and that I had to stop. I was like WTF? Wait, you allegedly saw me leave and re-enter multiple times over multiple days, didn't stop me, and now 2 days later you're coming to tell me about it? For the record I never left or re-entered the event since I was there to enjoy the music, or at least try to. By then, I think they realized it was getting really silly and they finally left me alone, but I'll be honest that the whole ordeal made it so that the 4th day was ruined (and honestly day 3 didn't go well either after I realized that all my stuff had been stolen and I would likely not get it back, which I indeed didn't).
Lumi Seems to prioritize pointless security restrictions over attendee enjoyment
2019: I was allowed entry on day 1 with my then LED outfit, but denied on day 2, 3, 4 because it was a security risk, and the LED strips could be used to strangle someone (no, I'm not joking, this is really what they said)
2020/2021: cancelled for covid
2022: I carefully avoided any interactions with security, LED outfit was no issues
2023: I also carefully avoided interactions with security, LED outfit was fine until they failed to keep the lockers secure, my stuff got stolen, out of fear for my outfit, I gave it to them for safekeeping on day 3, and after 3 days that it was totally fine, they decided it was a bomb threat.
Oh, I almost forgot, they even hassled Artists at the entrance. I saw them thoroughly search several artists that were trying to get in, but the worst I saw was them thoroughly search Anthony from Xirajo and Pitch, even though he was a DJ entering with his artist credentials, and he is totally blind. He was still stuck for a while while they searched him...
Security got to use their big muscles to evict a friend that was almost half their weight
I'm not going to go into details, but I saw them use two huge guys evict a peaceful person I knew that was barely 60kg, apparently because they got confused, got the wrong guy. Instead of simply discussing with him and make sure things were ok, they just threw him out, because why not?
Yes, I know this is lacking details, I'm not at liberty to share them all since it impacted someone else, all I can say is they were very quick to treat him like a big drunk dangerous guy getting in fights when he was none of that. I was mortified when I saw them throw him out the event.
All I can say is "way to go, guys, you'd doing a great job. sorry that we don't have more people for you to rough up and drag outside, which you seem very good at"
So, what now?
Well, obviously this sucks, lumi had its problems and things I didn't love about it, but it's also a unique event for trance lovers where you get to see lesser known artists and older artists from potentially 20 years ago and who don't get to perform much anymore. That said, given what's happened this year (which was a repeat of 2019, but much worse), and the event organizers that clearly ignored everything that happened, refused to reply, or even be accountable for their gross negligence with the lockers, unless something drastic changes and they make things right somehow, I can't see myself going back.
Also, some people who know me were appalled at hearing what happened and even said Lumi should be paying me instead of actively trying to prevent me from attending and adding to the show with my LED outfit. I personally wouldn't go that far, expecting compensation, I'm simply happy to spread good vibes and smiles, but not at an event that has made it clear that I am not welcome there unless I come with boring clothes since LEDs are apparently scary technology for their primitive security team.
Sadly enough, I also remember Bo telling me the first year he was sorry about what they had done, but there was nothing he could do. I simply couldn't understand that and replied: "Bo, this is your event, and they should be working for you".
And by now, I'm going to assume Bo and Kasia now clearly dislike me and don't want me to come back. Given the job of their security team, stripping of credentials, even having them wrongfully accuse me of random BS (see above), and of course refusing to do anything about the locker theft, I think they've done enough to drive the point. So indeed, unless something drastic changes, I can't go back to Lumi, and I'm actually sad about it, what a waste..
And I want to be clear that this is not a happy outcome, I would much rather have been able to work with them, and help the event slowly improve in places where it honestly can.
Still I wanted to give thanks to everyone who gave me thumbs up and kind words these last 3 lumis, including a lot of lumi staff, and hopefully I'll get to see at least some of you at other festivals.
some of the many people who made things happen, thank you for your work, we love you guys
And well, despite what happened, I still gave my word that I would do a report, so here it is:
took a few thousand pictures, deleted the bad ones and put the better ones here
As always, my wish is for more people to dress up and make the event more fun for all, even if it is not the "custom" in Europe. Thanks to all who did:
Amen brother, that burning star, sucks :)
going with a low tech LED vest was obviously safer given the security team
Good to run into friends and favorite DJs again:
Alessandra was happy :)
by day 4, it was really hard to go anywhere (see above), but still got to hug my friend Fadi
Things started well:
you could watch from the beach for free :)
An addition for this year, the VIP wristbands you could buy
Anthony did another awesome set
FactorB went all out again :)
lovely to see Richard Durand again
As a special treat Nu NRG got back together to play Dreamland for us:
Anthony got a 2nd set, which was also lovely
I have no idea how he can operate regular decks, simply amazing
And I ended the evening (not quite night) with Ferry Tayle
Lumi happens during the longest day of the year, so very little darkness (only 45mn), but day #1 was overcast enough that I was able to wear some LEDs and a shirt without overheating:
after a long day, the sun started setting eventually
Summary Video for Day #1:
having a good time
Summary Video for Day #2:
Summary Video for Day #3:
I'm obviously not a fan of the sun, but the sunsets were great:
great to finish with Fadi
Summary of Day #4:
Changes for this year
The previous year, I suggested that they should sell VIP wristbands with access to the pool and artist area, and sure enough they did. I felt that they were quite expensive, but it was probably by design and they didn't force anyone to buy those, so I guess that was a good change overall.
They tried to improve handicap access, but let's be honest the venue makes that very difficult. They did make a handicap ramp but before long it was burried and covered in sand. Thanks for trying to make it more navigable for wheelchairs:
by day4, it was sadly covered with sand
thankfully the steep route worked when people helped to push a bit
There was some water refill on the last day. Note that I said "refill", the waterboy did refuse to refill containers that weren't from the venue. Bernie's was definitely allowed to be very greedy, which is quite unfortunate given that their venue is not even that great for a festival and has many challenges.
The price of water, not that there should be a price on it, is literally the worst I've seen anywhere. You might as well get apple juice or pepsi that are cheaper... And I don't want to hear excuses that it was the venue, Bernie's fault, because Lumi can negotiate this with them and they chose not to.
6.55 euros for water, seriously?
stash of all the forbidden bottle water caps. People asked me to pick them up and give some to them
that was a nice touch on the 4th day only, but why only on day4? and really, refusing to refill regular containers?
Right, so this is probably the hardest one of any festival I've had to write.
This is where I should have been able to write "this was the end of another great lumi, the best one yet", but unfortunately it was massively ruined in many different ways, the worst one is probably making me feel very unwelcome and sending the security goons after me to watch me whether I'd somehow escape from the event and try and come back (which again, never happened), or having one of my friends thrown out, or having my credentials stripped. I was still hoping that maybe my locker got emptied by the staff overnight and my stuff would re-appear, or that at least they'd compensate us for the loss, but none of that happened either. That was one reason for me delaying writing this report so much, I really really wanted them to get back to me and try to make things right, so that I wouldn't have to write all this, but it didn't happen.
I could just yield, accept that hired muscles aka security goons run lumi, ashow up with a boring Tshirt, and accept the over 500 euros of loss I've incurred due to their gross negligence with the lockers, with 0 apology or any compensation whatsoever. And I could try to pretend everything is ok and continue to do my reports and advertising which I'm happy to do for free. But honestly I think you won't be surprised to read that as much as I love trance and seeing the artists there, the cost and ways they are treating their customers, are just not acceptable to me.
Should you still go?
I'm not going to tell you to boycott Lumi on my account, that would be self centered and petty,
However if the points I made concern you, especially if you were impacted, or are generally worried about the security staff, you can Email the organizers (email@example.com) about what they need to fix before you'll go again, even if it's just access to free drinkable water and not taking liquids/sunscreen that would be allowed on planes. And if they don't reply or do not give you an answer you're happy with, then please don't go. Sadly it seems some things will only change if people otherwise vote with their feet.
If you however decide that they do not deserve your business, you can also go to one of the many other trance festivals in the world (if you can afford to fly to LAX, Dreamstate Socal is now my #1 trance festival in the world, bar none). That said, I'll say right now that I haven't found another festival that is equal to lumi in filling the niche of having so many DJs that you do not usually see on stage anywhere, so honestly I think it would be better or the Trance scene if Lumi became a welcoming and safe place again.
In the meantime, if you have other events you can recommend to me instead of lumi, please send me a chat on IG: https://www.instagram.com/ledtranceguy
If you are able to work with Bo and Kasia to help make lumi better for those who can still go, please do. It's a unique event and I would much rather see it fix its issues than for it to go away: firstname.lastname@example.org + email@example.com. Thank you for anyone who can help.
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