I don't want to sound like a fanboy, but hot damn, Dreamstate is genuinely getting better every year, and last years didn't suck!
It was so much more fun to go with friends and I also made a few extra displays for my outfit:
and I found my Dreamstate girlfriends again, so happy :)
What was new this year was the after party from 02:00 to 06:00 which was a great last minute addition for anyone who didn't have a long drive home. Also, it was good not to have 3 conflicts every hour, because damn, that was the rest of dreamstate for me, I really wanted to be at 3 stages almost every hour. I wouldn't be mad if DS switched to 3 days with 3 stages instead of 2 days with 4 :)
The lineup was solid like I said:
I got a good shot from the plane, nice to see from high up, Vision on the left, Void in the middle, Sequence on the right by the entrance, and Vision adjacent to the oval racetrack:
The lights and decors were awesome as always:
The stages were as follows:
The void got bigger and nicer this year
And Vision was indoors as usual, nice but the stage was badly lit
Dreamstate is the biggest Trancefamily Reunion, so many friends, and I didn't even get to see them all, but it was great to see the ones I did, and it was even more fun with two of my friends:
ready to go out
so great to run into my DS Harbor friend Emily
she was so sweet and made an custom tranceledguy kandi
and it's not a party without Afik and his crew :)
Danielle from TFLA
Trancefamily SF, represent!
Ran into copycats, haha
I thought that was funny :)
I'm easily amused ;)
So, let's start with Day #1, we almost managed to get there when it opened, not bad given the travel and hotel issues:
arrived in time to see my friend Khromata for more great psytrance
Hana and her angelic singing was great to see again
Then we had the Trancefamily Meetup Pictures:
And back for Elysian to see Emma Hewitt and ilan Bluestone:
It was great to be able to meet them both:
Ben Nicky also had a very enjoyable set
But it was time for some psytrance triplets, stopping by Ms Monique on the way:
Up to Liquid Soul for some lovely psytrance:
so much fun to meet again
Then Astrix was next, for more technical psytrance, focussed as always:
Back to Dream for PvD:
And then ending with a Aly & Fila b2b John O Callaghan:
stage lighting was minimal unfortunately
Short Video Summary:
After minimal sleep from day #1, we didn't quite make opening time for #2, but just in time to see Rinaly just before her set at Vision:
Then was time to see Ruben de Ronde:
pretty full by then already
But yes, I wanted some more psytrance, so we went to see Whiteno1se:
And while there, it was great to hang out with some of my favorite psytrance DJs:
3rd time is a charm, Blastoyz finally looks like his picture :)
and Reality Test
Then back to Dream for ATB and then Audien:
And then Armin. I was hoping he'd finally play a classic trance set, given that it was, you know, dreamstate, but he played some mainstage set again, that was disappointing. The set wasn't bad per se, but a poor choice for dreamstate in my opinion:
Abraxis was last, hard to get pictures with no proper lighting on stage:
and just like this, it was 02:00, the main show was over
But not the afterparty in Vision, 4 more hours to go:
Craig Connelly and FactorB finished the set with some pure trance joy
It's not a good party if the sun hasn't risen when it's over :)
And just like that, the 2 days, 26H of trance, were over. I cannot give enough thanks to insomniac, all the artists and everyone who brought in outfits, smiles, and good vibes.
Video summary of Day #2:
I had so much fun at Untold last year, that I wanted to go back. I got there right after 4 days at tomorrowland, and I'm so happy I went back. It was definitely more fun for me than tomorrowland on many levels:
This time I flew to Cluj directly, although there aren't many flights there. Lufthansa failed at their one job to put my luggage on the plane, though, and it arrived 1.5 days later. Thankfully I didn't trust them and brought my outfit and anything crutial, with me.
the airport had plenty of untold related things, including trance music when I arrived :)
Ok, those who know me know that I often have rants and thing that each festival could improve. in the case of Untold the list is very small: please ditch the fake money and get rid of in-town.ro, it's broken beyond repair.
Untold is one of those festivals left not to use contactless credit cards. Their system was broken last year, I had to waste time in line to get them to activate my bracelet so that it would even accept money, and money put online didn't get there. This year, same deal, it still didn't work and the money I put online never appeared ever. I was able to put money at a top up point eventually after they fixed my bracelet, and the money I put online never appeared after 4 days. I ended up putting a credit card dispute to get my money back. This is stupid, just stop this BS and take credit cards.
100 I paid onsite worked eventually, the 100 I put online, never worked
the special tech support (only one person) was only able to activate my broken wristband, but never got my online money applied
https://in-town.ro/ is broken in too many ways, get rid of it. Last year, I never even got my wristband barcodes and they had to fish out my payment in some special system to get my wristband. This year, I got the barcodes, but I had to activate my account (for extra money). They took the money and didn't activate the wristbands, forcing me to go back to the same place to fix my wristband and take a picture before being able to go in.
Other probblem was that this is the site used for topups of your fake wristband money, and of course it never put the money on my wristband, but it also never worked on any of my 2 phones, the website just wouldn't log me in. It worked on my computer each time, but obviously I'm not carrying my computer around to the festival. Sigh, computers are hard, let's go shopping :)
small improvement: the android app has a few issues, and is totally missing an interactive map to help you find the nearest top up point (although those need to go), or bathroom, or even where is the galaxy stage?
The venue is really good, and I love the fact that you can literally have lodging less than 10mn on foot from the entrance. That's a huge win compared to every other festival I've been to.
Security was quite reasonable and quick, just like tomorrowland. It was probably a bit more permissive, no issues with my outfit, or slightly oversized LED backpack (A4 paper size is the official limit):
the venue is pretty big, although it would have been nice to have the map on the android app
One thing I like about untold is they don't bother with unreasonable searches, and instead have plenty of security onsite. This is by far the way I prefer, thanks for that:
Although it's not with tomorrowland or EDC levels of money, Untold stands out for its many decors and nice things to see. You don't have to spend more money, that level is already quite a lot of fun and enjoyable
Like those animated fireflies, I'm sure they didn't cost much, but they were totally awesome:
Lots of fun things to see, get makeup, take pictures:
Food options were plentiful, with the caveat that you have to pay with the wristband fake money that doesn't work well:
If you smoked enough (lots of smokers in Romania), you could win some iFly ride, although it was more fun to watch the performers do it:
including an LED dancer
This is one thing that makes Untold special, it's not just a festival for the few, but it feels like the entire town comes to party, including children. That's awesome:
Untold has lots of costumed dancers:
And some of the attendees too, of course I did my part, and it was great to run into some of the same friends from the around the world, again:
Aryel was having way too much fun again :)
Also fun to see some of my favorite DJs again:
I took *a lot* this year, this is partially because I have 2 cameras in addition to my 2 phones, and I attached one to a pole with battery packs, to record some sets while still being able to enjoy them:
While Lufthansa didn't get my luggage there, at least they got me there on time, which given all the flight issues in Europe was not a given. After getting settled at the apartment I was able to find closeby, time to go enjoy the show, day 1 out of 4. I had all my outfit in my oversized and way heavy carry-on, so thankfully I was ready for the night :)
Well, except for the stupid in-town.ro website that failed again, and didn't allow me to register and required a special visit to the reconcilliation tent again. Thankfully they fixed it quickly.
I tried to go to mainstage a bit more. For the most part, not my music, and dumbed down EDM, but can't argue with the lighting, lasers, and fireworks :) On the first day, we had Vini Vici and Above and Beyond, so that gave me an excuse to spend time there :)
Next was above and beyond, it was my 3rd time seeing them in less than 2 weeks :)
After that, back to fortune for more trance:
Video Summary of the night:
Let's do this again:
I was super excited to see Steve/The Thrillseekers as Hydra, so good to have him back, it was a stellar set that I was able to record in full:
Lots more at fortune that night:
stop the war in Ukraine
Aly & Fila was next, great to see him again after just a few days. I was also able to record that set in full:
Then, we had Sean Tyas, another set I was able to record in full:
And more, I also went to check out mainstage a bit:
they had a mosh pit, great
clearly I've been missing out :)
Day #2 Summary:
One unusual thing at untold is the daydreaming stage. It's not something I'd listen to all night, but it's definitely enjoyable to spend some time at:
But spent most of my time at Fortune as always :)
It did briefly go check out Galaxy, interesting stage but not my music:
Back to the safety of fortune :)
Just in time for Ruben de Ronde, for which I have a full set recording:
Giuseppe Ottaviani was next:
Had a bit of a look at other stages:
Back for Andrew Rayel:
And finishing the night with Xijaro and Pitch, for which I have a full recording:
Day #3 Summary:
Day #4, Home Stretch
I opened the day at daydreaming:
Then went to see my friends Exolight and Suncatcher, for which I have a full set recording:
Much more trance for that night:
ATB was next to play his first set at fortune, it was packed. Here is a full video:
I ducked out quickly to mainstage for the closing ceremony with fireworks:
Came back just in time for Emma Hewitt, also have a full recording:
And Xmas was not over, Ferry Corsten was next for a Gouryella set, so much love (also fully recorded):
Jorn van Deynhoven was next:
But ATB went to do another set, at mainstage this time (mostly recorded):
And had a bit time left to see the WLT:
After that fortune went back to hardstyle, so I went elsewhere for fun :)
The night actually finished with some good rain, made good use of my umbrella so that my outfit didn't short and catch fire :)
'till next time
Lots of fun like last year, Fortune was pretty much pure joy all the way, except the hardstyle sets during the last hour: not my thing and felt pretty out of place for that stage.
It was lots of fun. Please fix the fake wristband money so that I can not worry about that again next time, as I hope to come back:
Made my flight, long trip back to California, sure slept on the planes :)
That was my first tomorrowland. Getting tickets was "interesting", I got help from a friend of a friend who got tickets that included camping I had no intention of using, that put the regular tickets at close to $800, which is the price of VIP tickets for EDC. I definitely owe thanks to Larry Lim and David for the help with getting tickets this year.
Given that tomorrowland is 2/3rd during daylight, I brought my older LED outfit that is brighter, and then switched to the better one at night:
We got there in thursday to pick up the wristbands (OMG, that was quite complicated: Tomorrowland forces you to assign tickets to people months before the event, and changing the person the ticket is assigned to, is extremely hard, it requires a signed power of attorney from the original ticket buyer, why so hard, seriously? I guess because they can, but that's not the best way to treat customers who already paid for way overpriced tickets).
Despite the stress related to getting the wristband they could deny despite having travelled across the world, we got in and went to visit Dreamville, the huge campsite where most pepole stay since getting in and out of Tomorrowland is not that trivial, especially when they block all the roads and prevent public transportation from getting there and back (shame!). The 300 city bus from Mechelen kind of worked to get us there if you didn't miss it (otherwise it was a 65 euro taxi there and 100 euros back, ouch). Dreamville was huge, it took 15mn to walk across, which was impressive:
Not Quite a Trance Heaven?
If you're wondering why I'm making a point of saying this, it's a major festival with more than 10 stages and DJs from across the world. There are 3 weekends, and you often don't even know who is going to play when you buy a ticket. Turns out week 3 when I went, was the one that had the most trance, with a Trance stage the first day, and ajnunabeats on the 2nd day, as well as some psytrance running at the same time.
Unfortunately the trance stage on day 1 was very small (Kara Savi), in the hot sun with no shade, and a road with people crossing constantly if you were trying to enjoy the music from the shade of a tree. The sound was actually good, but the stage size was super disappointing, it was packed and it was hard to see the DJ plenty of times. Part of me though they gave it a shit stage because tomorrowland people don't care about trance, but in real live, anjunabeats and psytrance were packed the next day, so they just didn't care and put major trance artists on a small stage that couldn't accommodate enough people, which was sad.
The next day was better with anjunabeats vs psytrance, but then again why the conflict? There was 0 trance on day #3, it would have made so much more sense to put those on different days...
To compare, although Creamfields had problems bad enough that I'm unlikely to go back, it had lots more trance (even if the sound engineers screwed it up badly enough that you couldn't enjoy it much at one stage), and Untold also has a solid trance lineup, solid enough that it's difficult to go see other stages :)
All in all, when I saw some the wonderful other stages, and have fond memories of seeing Ferry Corsten play a huge room with great visuals, it was disappointing not to have our trance artists in any of them.
Day 0: Thursday
On thursday, they opened a very short part of the festival to run one stage for people staying at the campground and we had multiple DJs playing one stage until midnight:
as a surprise set, Vini Vici closed the night
Video summary of Thursday:
Then time to go home and find an expensive taxi back (uber wasn't really an option, too few of them):
nice shaded areas for eating
I should have checked to see how full or empty the bin was :)
Most people weren't wearing any outfits, not a thing in Europe as much, but a few were, including the costumed staff
it was fun to see Paavo just 5 days after seeing him at the Gorge
fun to run into friends again
Day 1: Friday, Trance Day at the Small Stage
Day #1, the entrance was from the tomorrowland side, over 45mn walk away from the dreamville entrance on the other side. It was a bit closer to where the city bus dropped us, so that was good.
We went to the trance stage right after arriving to enjoy the trance lineup, although that was in blazing sun, or far away under a tree, not great conditions. The stage was also small and hard to get around due to a path that crossed past it and some strange one way signs
all day we had people walking by, nice for people watching, but distracting for the set
Sander Van Doorn
Aly and Fila was next
John O Callaghan
Quick look at mainstage to see a bit of Tiesto:
Next, was an attempt at seeing Eric Prydz, but the room was packed as hell. Should have arrived earlier indeed:
Then back to Kara Savi for Alessandra Roncone and Craig Connely:
Hi Aryel :)
Great to see Alessandra after her set
Video summary of Friday:
Day 2: Saturday, Psytrance and Anjunabeats
Time was spent between Youphoria (psytrance), and Crystal Garden (anjunabeats). The psytrance lineup was actually solid, it's just unfortunate that tomorrowland thought it was a good thing to put both tracks in conflict on saturday, and then 0 (psy)trance on sunday.
Ilan Bluestone did a great set
Quick look at mainstage again;
Back to Crystal Garden for Above and Beyond:
their graphics didn't display well, though
I was worried that few people at Tomorrowland cared about trance, and that's why it got a shit stage, but there were lots of pepole during Above and Beyond, and ultimately people seem to care about the stage more than the genre. This does mean they could have put trance in a much nicer stage and they chose not to.
And Finishing the night at Youphoria for Astrix, another enjoyable set that was quite packed too:
The bad part about saturday, is that to cater to the locals, they moved off all the busses and shuttles far away (30 to 40mn walk from inside the festival) and in the process they entirely blocked off the city bus we were supposed to take home. Their staff had no clue about where the bus was re-routed and mostly lied to us to go on a long crappy walk where we then had to take a bus to a parking lot to a taxi stand for another expensive taxi. Not happy...
the walk was so long that they had fire jugglers along the way
eventually you go to a bus depot (about 30 to 40mn from when you left the event), but none of those busses were for us
Video summary of Saturday:
Day 3: Sunday, Exploring Day
Given how bad the transport options from Mechelen, were, we took a cab that tried to get us as close as possible, which ultimately was still quite far because of all the closed streets, but that allowed me to plot an exit route for the way out, direct to the back of the cab line to save time on the way out. It was a 10mn+ walk in, but reversing it allowed us direct access to the end of the cab line, which helped on the way out
locals on the way hard music and drinks for sale
Once in, there wasn't a whole lot on the schedule that looked important, so it was a good time to go around all the stages3108*|interesting to see the stage when it wasn't as packed as with Eric Prydz
Would have loved to see Ferry Corsten here
Tgere was a nice ferris wheel, but the line was a bit long;
Plenty of other stages:
this is the only stage that was always full and I wasn't able to get into
that said this stage was pretty full too
After a good amount of exploring, time to enjoy a few sets:
I had the perfect outfit for infected mushroom at the mushroom stage :)
And went to finish the night with Vini Vici at the library, and it was packed:
luckily, I had the perfect outfit for that set too :)
we got a bit of rain, which made for nice visuals :)
And just like that, the night was over:
Video summary of Sunday:
Time for a long walk out with a shortcut I plotted to the back of the super long taxi line. Although the previous night they screwed us over by making us walk 30mn in the wrong direction just to miss our city bus and take an expensive cab, I got to a place where we were to get a ride and avoid the huge cab line (although it was yet another $100 due to lack of transport to Mechelen, ubers that were geofenced off, and very overpriced cabs). Sure, there were private busses you could book to far away locations, but those looked like they would take you a while to get home too
long cab line that we thankfully avoided
Thoughts and Conclusions
Tickets are had to get, they're expensive, tomorrowland tries to get you to pay for overpriced packages you don't want or need, to secure a ticket, and they make ticket transfer complicated to avoid resellers I assume. However in my case it was very complicated and stressful to get a ticket re-assigned to a new person a few weeks before the event. This is too complicated and unnecessary, other festivals don't do this
Security was more than reasonable. They either didn't check me very carefully, or were fine with my outfit. Ultimately they mostly cared about not bringing food/drinks and weapons, which is fine by me (although a metal cup counted as a weapon, and so did an LED baton).
backstage access was well controlled, except for the occasional backdoor/holes
All in all, given the size of the event, I found security screening to be sufficient without being too much, as well as being efficient (pretty fast to get in). Much better than nearby luminosity for sure with all its over the top rules.
Fake Money/Pearl BS
This is one of the few festivals left that thinks it's still ok to do this fake money BS. With most people having contactless credit cards and pay by phone, they are of course totally useless today, and at least luminosity got the memo this year and switched to those.
I'll add that their fake currency is likely designed to make sure people have no idea what they're spending, and they of course hope you'll end up with left over unspent pearls that you can't get refunded (they claim it's automatic if you put money online before the event, but at the same time, putting money online was broken and they discouraged you from trying it as it could take over a day for your money to show up).
All in all, I'm not impressed and I hope they stop this nonsense, but since they profit from it and have more people who want to go than tickets for sale, they will probably continue this crap unless people complain very loudly that it has to stop.
Putting aside the pearl BS, the food options were quite good:
Even a nice garden with more good food, or actual restaurants:
where is the last festival you had lobster, at?
So, sure, it is challenging, and given that they have to cater to locals and avoid traffic and noise, they went and maybe had to go over the top in blocking streets everywhere around the venue to the point that even cabs had to drop you off 15mn away or more. This does not include the 40mn or more to get the kiss and ride east taxi stand, or city busses (300) being blocked from operating, which was kind of bullshit.
How much better can it really be? I'll honestly say that since I don't have all the variables, I can't say, but seems to me that it can be improved and that it's probably ok for a few residents to have to suck up a bit of noise until 02:00 a few days per year.
I was pretty unhappy with the very overpriced cabs that charge whatever flat rate they want for distances that were not that far, and the fact that the city apparently managed to block off ubers entirely to remove competition, which is unacceptable.
Clearly the festival grounds are very impressive, outside of a couple of stages that were poor, including sadly the trance stage, most were between good to very impressive. Once you're inside the venue, it's actually quite good overall, except for some questionable foot traffic flow + where you were forced to walk around some one way paths.
The Music was good too, although there is the problem that with 3 weekends, you don't always know which artists are going to be playing on a given weekend until after you've already booked it, which is unfortunate.
Clearly it's a nice festival, but it's expensive, complicated to get in and out of compared to let's say untold where you can walk to the venue or take a quick bus or electric scooter.nues/Stages/Music, and even compared to EDC, I got from my Vegas strip hotel room to EDC and back quicker than from Mechelen to Tomorrowland, and for much cheaper.
If you add transport, Tomorrowland is not cheap. I'd say it's on par with EDC Vegas, although EDC mostly doesn't sell out and everyone gets to enjoy the same artists, and I think EDC has a bit more of a whoa factor, even if tomorrowland is quite good too. Tomorrowland does win for nature (park, water, ducks, etc), while EDC is sitting in the middle of a racetrack in the desert, although that also means rain at EDC is super unlikely, which is not true for tomorrowland
Untold though, is probably my favorite in Europe since it's 4 days, big and impressive enough, and has a better feel with all the locals coming to party too, including kids. Untold also ends up being cheaper and doesn't sell out either.
Will I go back? For creamfields, the security and staff were so bad, plus so many other problems, that I'm unlikely to go back. For tomorrowland I'd say maybe, except for the fact that I don't love having to fight for tickets, being forced to buy some overpriced package with a poor hotel room far away just to get a ticket (or hell, now they also sell you NFTs to help ensure a ticket allocation), not really knowing if the lineup will be nice on a given weekend, before buying the tickets, or knowing if my favorite artists if they come, could end up at an underwhelming stage like Kara Savi. So let's say, maybe?
It had been 3 years since our last weekender at the gorge with Above and Beyond and this year we also have an Above and Beyond Group Therapy 500 in LA, but given that it's going to be at the Banc of California, which I now know after ASOT 1000, is a terrible venue, I was looking forward to the weekender as a much better event, which of course it ended up being.
Glad to be back and great to be able to see and meet some of my favorite DJs:
Like last time, we rented an RV, and got one from Pasco (tri-city) airport, which was closer to the venue adn where we were able to pick up our rental RV from (thanks to Alvin for finding it for us):
technically it can sleep 10, but it was comfortable enough for 7
Pre-party on friday
The pre-party started at 18:00 on friday, we had DJs play on Walter the Bus, from burning man. I only got there around 19:30 since it took us a bit of time to arrive and get setup and by then the party was already well going despite the blazing sun:
getting the LED totem ready
Paavo and Aname (formerly gardenstate), were already playing
As usual, ran into some friends:
Natalie came with us
Finally it got dark (late due to north location and summer hours):
People and Friends
As always, great to run into fun people and friends:
Smmary of pre-party at Walter the Bus:
We stayed in gold camping, close to the venue, but far from the pivit in general camping where all the paries, are
this is a bit burning man like :)
The venue opened at 14:00 (or 13:00 for merch), so I got there then:
got to check out walter the bus
then got a free tmobile chair and a nice viewing point in the shade
nice views of the gorge of course
Again, a late sunset, but great views:
I went to check out the pit for a short while, but it was packed, and honestly the views weren't as good.
but I got to run into my friend Bryan
so I went back up for a good view of the Above and Beyond set:
we're all we need indeed
I was ready for it :)
surprise, push the button is back!
Then, there were the lasers, those were impressive:
Smmary of Day #1 at mainstage:
Genix was last from 00:00 to 01:00 but instead I went to the afterparty in the campgrounds:
Gem and Tauri joined
Party shut down around 03:00 and it was time for a bit of rest for the next day
Smmary of afterparty:
Sunday was Deep House day, not my favorite, but still fun
let's do this again, this time it opened at 13:00
some cool acro yoga
A few views from the ferris wheel:
Then I went to check out the flow state yoga/meditation with Paavo, it was really good:
It was really good, here is a video recording:
I went to scope a chair and nice shaded spot to watch the show in 100F heat:
kudos to those who went dancing in the sun
good day to enjoy the great view
I'm still not quite ready for Qrion :)
lots of people went to enjoy the sun despite the heat :)
Thankfully, the sun did eventually set, giving great views again:
hard to beat the view
Back to the show:
Got to go on stage, great views:
Smmary of Day #2 at mainstage:
I then tried to go to the afterparty. The main one was cancelled due to sound concerns I think, but there was a smaller party from the Instigators, although it was hard to get in due to limited space:
and I then went back to the RV to get a bit of sleep before the 09:30 departure the next morning to catch our flights
Smmary of afterparty:
Obviously we had a fantastic time, it was great to be back after 2019, and thank you to all the DJs and people who were the life of the party. Hope to see you next time.
Paying toilets is not an uncommon practise in Holland which seems to like charging for things that you take for granted, but that's doesn't mean it's right, and for an international festival, that was a very bad move, got many people upset, and was just not a good way to make a bit of extra money. Given that it was too late to raise ticket prices, a donation box to help with the budget shortfall and the loss of revenue during covid, would have worked so much better, as well as selling some expensive "I helped lumi" tshirts, or bands, or anything. Anything but that...
To make things worse, you didn't get a wristband anymore, because in and outs were now forbidden, likely another attempt to increase revenue, and force people to deal with the quite limited food options at the venue. Outside of overpriced bananas, soggy fries, and decent pizza, the rest was really just survival food. So now you only got a wristband to be able to use the toilet for 4 days after you had paid extra. Sigh, not the best way to do things...
next year, we will go see this guy :)
After enough uproar, I think they stopped checking if people had paid.
Several people said they should have just sold a wristband that did nothing for 10 euros as souvenir and "thanks for your donations", it would have worked better than the "toilet wristband". I agree.
Another challenge was the lack of real bathrooms. There were plenty of porta potties, but well, they were smack next to the coco beach stage, and if wind went in the wrong direction, you can imagine what happened :( I don't have a good suggestion here, it's a problem with the venue, and I'm not sure what the solution is. I've never had issues with bathroom smells at any EDC or Dreamstate though, not sure what they do differently.
No tap water, pretense that recycling was a concern when huge amounts of non recyclable plastic waste was created, and the bottlecap BS wasn't over yet either
Next, holland loves to sell you bottled water, and good luck getting tap water in a restaurant there, but lumi pushed things to 0 access to tap water, at all and making sure you couldn't bring your own water in. The only official source of water were 6.5 euros water, which for 4 days at 1.5l per day, was going to be 12 bottles at 78 euros, for water only, sigh
Did everyone spend that much? Of course not, but too many people also danced dehydrated which is just unsafe, especially in combination with some drugs. People have died from dehydration at festivals, I have a hard time understanding how lumi thought it was a good idea. That didn't even count desperate people getting water from the hand wash stations, which was tap water that came in buckets, but probably not in a container that was very safe to drink:
So yeah, it felt a bit insulting when they reminded us to drink and there was no free water anywhere:
And yes, those who know me, that when I see clear problems, I'm not shy about pointing them out. For those who will say "but it's only money, they need money, just give it to them", I'll reply again that I would happily have put 50 euros in a donation box at the entrance for the 4 days (in the end, I ended up buying 2 tickets for one), but this also would also ignore the super long lines to get said water, that they tried to sell you one bottle at a time, while keeping the bottlecap. Yes, yes, they weren't done with the bottlecap bullshit either. OMG, why? FFS, you're already selling water for the price of alcohol, and you still need to steal the bottlecaps to prevent people from being able to conserve that water more easily? This really does not bring happiness and again makes Lumi stand out as festival with very questionable rules. Please fix this.
As a side effect, it also caused people to waste non trivial amounts of time in long lines to get the water they needed. Really sad...
yeah, lots of long lines to get water, often one bottle at a time and without bottle caps
Oh right, and they said they were worried about plastic waste, so they had a fairly cumbersome system with tokens to exchange against empty glasses or bottles, or you were fined another 50 cents for each drink for failing to recycle, even if you had thrown your stuff in a bin. But really the worst part is that plastic is mostly not recyclable, never was, probably never will, so the whole recycling is a lie. If you are worried about the environment (and you should be), stop this bottled water nonsense, allow hydration bags and provide water fountains.
Ah crap, what do I do with these now?
Ironically, this is what I wrote in my 2019 Lumi report, and it only got worse this year :( 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.
Will 2023 be the year that Luminosity changes things for the better? Time will tell, although give them your feedback too, they need to hear from everyone.
Paying with tokens
Haha, this time it's not a rant. They listened to feedback and got rid of the token system. You could pay with your phone or any RF credit card, and for people without either, they sold you RF cards you could pay with. Well done.
Ok, that one is also a sore point for me. They employ a 3rd party security company that Bo says they have no control over (as in Bo said he was not able to tell them to please allow my LED outfit which is designed to bring smiles and not, as the security people tried to claim in 2019, strangle people with my LED strips. They cost way too much for that anyway, I'd be using my non forbidden shoe laces instead...)
The list of forbidden items was very long, including a requirement to have transparent bags that people didn't have. They didn't enforce that part, but why then create angst with rules that don't get enforced? They had enhanced searches, looking all the way inside people's wallets (!) and even stole people's sunscreen, you know, the thing we need not to get cancer (I had 5 skin cancers removed already, so I very much do care). You will say that they helpfully offered poor quality and empty sunscreen containers at the medical station, yeah, sure. I'll stick to my real and non empty sunscreen, thank you.
here is the free empty poor sunscreen you could use after they had stolen your premium one at security, thank you
This is the enhanced security that I decided not to deal with after I recognized the exact person who took my entire LED oufit away last year saying I could injure others with it and strangle people with my LED strips. I'm sure they were also busy confiscating all the spare bottlecaps they could get their hands, on.
Security is hard, this is true, but with the security people enforcing petty things like taking sunscreen and water, and then telling people like me what they were a danger to others, is just not a win and does not make the event more fun or more welcoming. I'm unlikely to ever go to creamfields again, and I would rather not haver to do the same thing with Lumi.
Please re-visit the security rules, festival-goers are the customers, not the enemy, please be nice to us, restrict the search to weapons and real risks, give some leeway on the rest, and use security staff on the field to keep the event safe while it's happening. That's what other festivals do, successfully.
Sound quality/Sound Bleed
Another issue with the venue was the layout made it difficult to have 4 stages and there was pretty terrible soundbleed between them. The sunset stage was the worst one, you could barely hear its sound and you sure could hear plenty sound from the classics stage, which was a bummer. Classics also bled onto mainstage if you were behind it on the hill to see mainstage. All in all the sound was challenging, and probably not because the sound engineers sucked, but because that venue was challenging to use for 4 stages.
Again, I don't have a good suggestion here, the previous venue was way worse with the sound restrictions until 17:00 (to the point that could barely hear some DJs playing). Looks like playing by the beach with neighbors is just difficult and they tried the best they could. Thank you.
New Venue: Bernie's Beach Club close to Zandvoort
a convenient change is that the new location is only 10mn bike ride from Zandvoort
mainstage was now smack against beach houses, I'm sure the residents didn't love that :)
overview, with 2 pools that were off limits
So, what about the new location? The last one kind of sucked given the sound limits that prevented DJs from playing anything you could hear until around 17:00 (with the event start moved from 12:00 to 15:00), that was disappointing. So at least this time the event was 12:00 to 23:00, which was better, but for the LED geek night owls like me, that wasn't great as the event was over before twilight was fully over (sunset itself was around 22:20 as the longest day of the year was during Lumi). Also, I felt guy for whoever did the lighting and lasers that only got used about 45mn per day
It was convenient to be closer to Zandvoort, but this was sandwiched between 2 sets of properties and residents which were not thrilled with the music I'm sure. It's unclear how much they'll complain and try to get the event shut down or moved.
One issue with the venue was that it was not friendly to those with disabilities, but realistically few venues by the beach will probably be. They did put some boards on the sand that made things a bit more liveable for wheelchairs, but without a strong friend to push up, it was very steep in several places. That's not an easy problem to solve, either.
Again, despite the challenges, I liked the extended hours (11h/day instead of 6 to 9H in 2019 depending on sound levels), and it seemed more roomy in places.
Let's start with mainstage. It was covered for when it rained (and it did rain), and if you were within that area, sound was good, but at times, it was a bit too small to contain the amount of people who attended on saturday and sunday. It was definitely the best stage with nice lighting and lasers that unfortunately we only got to enjoy about 45mn per day due to the late sunsets:
Coco beach was ok enough, until the toilets started smelling, and then it was no fun anymore :(
The DJs had a lounge to rest and get a bit of time off:
You've likely already heard me say that, vampire me doesn't love day festivals due to the blazing sun, and unfortunately lumi is 95% during daylight hours. This of course meant virtually no night lights, and more generally only a few people had costumes, but thank you to those who did.
I brought my otherwise obsolete version 3 LED outfit because it was might brighter during daylight (but also sucked more batteries)
when it got dark enough, I was able to switch to my regular outfit for a mere 90 minutes before the festival was over
we had pink day when FactorB played to honor the passing of his lovely partner, to cancer
some of the SF crew that came along
At least some people had fun T-shirts :)
And OMG, someone came up to me and said "Dude, were you with me at UCPA in Ibiza 20 years ago"? Well, damn, sure I was, we were in the same exercise + party group that flew there for a week or two in 2003/2004. This one definitely wins the "Eh, I saw you at X" contest ;)
Like every day, I arrived bright an early just before noon every day to enjoy all the artists. The first day, I also got to sope the grounds a little bit.
I was very excited for Craig's set, which even though it was the 3rd time I was seeing him in 2 weeks, I sure didn't mind :) As always, he didn't disappoint.
like several artists, Craig nicely went to take pictures with his fans
Back to other stages:
I then went back to mainstage to see Richard Durang and Paul Oakenfold with Nadine and Robert, both had very enjoyable sets:
Paul was next:
Richard definitely had fun :)
haha, nice shot :)
But plenty of other sets and DJs:
sunset stage was unfortunately the poorest of them all, hard to see the DJ and to hear the sound
Don't be fooled, sunset was very late, half way through the last set of the night
Speaking of the end of the night, went to see John 00 Flemming, who had another great hypnotic set:
PvD came to listen to him
and Oakey came too, allowing me to shoot that double Paul picture :)
Ok, and a bit of Mark Sherry to see mainstage and the poor laser that only had about 30mn to shine:
found a few friends, Aryel and Alessandra Roncone
And just like that, day #1 was over, still twilight to bike home:
Summary Video for Day #1:
Day #2 started with Orkidea:
Roger Sha did a lovely live set
It's only been 2 weeks since I saw Will Atkinson
Delighted to see him again, fun set full of energy
And then AA meeting:
Back to mainstage with Gareth Emery, PvD, and Aly & Fila to close the night:
and another 30mn for the lasers to shine
Aly went all in and didn't stop when he was supposed to, good for him, we loved it :)
Summary Video for Day #2:
Day 3 was the day of rain, it started as soon as the event opened, which cleared the non covered part of mainstage:
My friend Aryel and the other Romanian trance lovers then went to see exolight whom I first discovered at untold last year, and have quite enjoyed since then :)
Then was time for FactorB, OMG that was emotional, he did such a beautiful job. After recently losing his lovely partner to cancer, he gave her a very touching homage. Everyone who saw it said how beautiful a set it was:
Giuseppe was next, it's time to play again :)
someone managed to have a makeshift totem even though they were forbidden, good job, haha
By then, it was pouring rain, so I used my LED outfit to do a rain dance :)
one good thing with the rain was that it was dim enough to use my real LED outfit
Summary Video for Day #3:
The last day of a 3-4 day festival is always interesting, it's a mix of who still has enough energy to dance, and the "party hard, it's the last day" crowd. Given that I was able to get enough sleep, I was doing quite well, so day #4, here we go:
great to see Xijaro and Pitch again, unfortunately the sound quality was quite poor
By then, Mike took over mainstage, Maybe because it was sunday, MIKE decided that trance was for suckers, and blasted something that was more techno and the the crowd sure didn't mind :)
because it was day 4, and it wasn't safe to take my LED outfit home to fix it, it was running on fumes and was partially broken, but whatever :)
Robert Nickson got a spot on Coco stage
We then got more hard beats from JoC:
Markus was next:
And the night, which still wasn't night, finished with Key 4050 and Solarstone:
Last sunset and finally some darkness:
Summary Video for Day #4:
So, there was an afterparty at Panama in Amsterdam, but honestly it was close to 1h away, then for anyone staying in Zandvoort, you had to find a way back when trains were probably not running at night, and most of us were then going to Amsterdam to get out on monday. 3 back and forth trips in the same night didn't seem that appealing for a few more hours of trance when I already had had 44 hours :) I would have gone to an afterparty in Zandvoort if there was one...
And as luck would have it, I found one on my ride home, some guys started a party from the back of a car, and we continued to dance there until the batteries ran out.
the police came to say hi, but drove off after a minute
Despite the challenges and a few questionable ways to make up the budget shortfall, we still had a great time, but many said online that they were fairly upset and offended by the water/toilet situation this year, I really hope it gets fixed.
raise the ticket price, pure and simple. Don't play those ridiculous and somewhat dangerous water games that waste everyone's time. Just charge us what you need to make a healthy profit
Other venue/fixing the sound bleed? This one is tricky, clearly the venue is sandwiched between 2 sets of properties, the dune, and high tide. Not really any room to expand, I think they did the best they could. Still, maybe a different layout would help some of the sound bleed issues, and at least raising the sound and fixing the equalizer setting for the sunset stage?
Bathrooms: maybe they can be moved closer to the entrance, away from the stages. Yes, it's a walk up, but not bathroom smell by the stage next to it would be good, and it allows for more room to expand a bit?
Running tap water, 'nuff said
Have a serious talk with the insomniac and/or untold folks on how they do security right. They keep the event secure without having lots of unreasonable restrictions that make the guests unhappy, or worse. A completely clueless and unprofessional (hello Creamfields) or over-reaching and not very rational (Sorry, lumi, that's you) security team really can ruin the experience for attendees. Please fix it.
VIP tickets? There were some VIP wristbands, I don't think they were for sale, I'm not even sure if they are a good idea given that Lumi is kind of a "everyone is the same" kind of event, but still worth considering?
this seemed to be the VIP area
For the venue, not everyone loved it. I agree it had challenges, but let's be reasonable: the options are likely limited. I'm sure that Luminosity did their best given lots of challenges. I with them good luck talking to the city council and dealing with some the nearby residents who probably were not happy with the event and 44H of trance, hopefully it worked out ok for most.
And yes, despite the challenges, it was still a fun event. Warm thanks to Bo and all the crew that made it happen and all the DJs who played for us, you rule!
Dreamstate of of course the happy place for Trance Lovers, Dreamstate Socal in San Bernandino is just totally awesome, but it's only once a year. Insomniac fixed that for us by adding a new Dreamstate also in Socal, but a different location. While I'd love to have had it in the bay area somewhere, Socal wasn't too far and it was another great event.
And so great to meet all my friends and DJs again (thanks Anna for the pictures):
Since I re-made all of Giuseppe's T-shirts, it was fun to take another picture :)
and it was so great to finally be able to enjoy Astrix's set and meet him
Thank you to Killed with Kindness for covering the event and all the pictures again, including this Trancefamily meetup:
Dreamstate Harbor, New Venue, Impressions
The event was at the end of a pier, away from people so we could enjoy plenty of noise. The venue wasn't huge, but just big enough, and looked great at sunset/night:
One downside of the venue is that it still had a midnight curfew apparently, which is surprising given that there wasn't much nearby. As a result the event started early (15:00) which meant plenty of punishing sun that got a fair amount of us sunburned despite sunscreen (one contributing factor was the breeze which made things cooler and caused people not to feel that they were being burned, it also made things kind of cold at night for those who didn't have layers). Hopefully the event can start and finish a bit later in the future to limit the harmful sun.
The good thing is the 2 stages were so close and it was easy to move from psytrance to trance, and speaking about psytrance, what a treat. It's rare to get good psytrance, and we got lots of it. Thank you!
Random notes on the event:
single GA bathroom location, but the venue was small enough that it was fine
food options were fairly limited, but enough not to starve :)
decors were nice, especially at night
free parking (thanks), although it was a somewhat long walk to the venue for some, but no worse than EDC
no sound interference between the stages and yet they were close enough for easy stage hopping
VIP facilities were maybe a bit limited compared to the much higher price, but at least you got the nice bathrooms (which didn't have lines) and it was easier to be closer to the front of the stages (albeit with a side view that wasn't great for pictures)
The lineup was solid with a mix of DJs from around the world, including some locals from california
Less can be more, I do love dreamstate san bernandino with its 4 stages, but that also means I'm missing out on 3 different DJs every hour. Here it was much easier to be able to enjoy most of the music.
Like many I put on sunscreen, but didn't put enough and got sunburned anyway. Ideally the event can be at least 2H later next time (17:00 to 02:00).
Got there bright and early, 15:00, and did my best to hide from the sun :)
Craig did such a killer set, loads of fun
GO delivered as always, thank you
psytrance loving me was excited to see Liquid Soul again, and he always looks so happy, can't blame him
After Astrix was unable to attend EDC, great to have him, another killer set
By then, it was time for a great sunset:
And back to the Djs:
JoC did another fire set
Nice to finish with Whitenoise for some psytrance
Day #1 video summary:
Day #2 video summary:
One of the things that makes trance special, is the people, all the smiles and great positive energy. Trance family is truly a family, and for many it is well needed therapy that gives us energy to cope with daily life :)
Many of the DJs were super nice and came to take pictures with their fans, thank you
and a huge thanks to Craig Connelly for this lovely gift
And just lke that, it was over, after 18 hours of trance and psytrance, thank you!
So great to be back with everyone after the unusual and lower attendance EDC last year:
Home, Sweet Home
TFSF + TFLA meetup
Getting there and back was harder than all previous years, due to the record 166K attendees. I went for the shuttle again, which was a known
fun to go through the Air Force base each time
For those who didn't know, EDC technically starts at 17:00, but that's only for a single stage, cosmic maedows, and the rest does not open until 19:00. What was funny was watching the opening of the rest on day #3, and the mad rush of people trying to get to the merch store to avoid the 2H+ lines (some say 4H?)
it was somehow important to be there :)
Downtown EDC is always fun:
As always, a good way to see EDC, is from higher up, and the ferris wheels are the best way to do it:
lovely Quantum Valley where I spent most of my time
As always, one of the most impressive parts of EDC Vegas is the amount of effort put into all the stages and decors:
nice to have various burning man art
The neon light tunnel to carnival square was also nice:
One addition to my outfit was a camera, that allowed me to rebroadcast what's in front of me:
so, who didn't know there were cell phone chargers at carnival square (and didn't bring their own), now do
Pixel Forest is still a fantastic place to enjoy, especially the dual pixel forest tunnel:
And the view from above:
Fireworks and Drones
EDC now has a drone show, but it's hard to see when you are at Quantum Valley, on the other side and looking in the wrong direction, especially given that it's silent. Still, I was able to see this on the first (windy) day:
Fireworks were cancelled due to wind on the first day, but did happen on day 2 and 3. At least those I knew were at 01:30, and was ready to watch and record on day #2 and #3:
Fireworks of the last 2 days:
As always EDC has been great because of the people who attend and the many friends I made over the years:
Still happy to see other people bringing LEDs :)
And dancers of course:
And it was so much fun to be able to meet favorite DJs as always:
Of course, I couldn't resist meeting a few more DJs :)
But anyway, let's get on with the festival:
Got a ride with Michael (thanks) and arrived smack for the opening of the rest of the grounds at 19:00 (after about 1h45 from leaving the hotel). It was nice to be there from the start as shuttles tend to arrive 45mn late on fridays due to traffic:
Day #1 was very windy (and therefore cold due to wind chill), this also caused Kinetic Field to close due to high winds and cancelled most of Seven Lion's set, but most everything else went on.
Great night with friends as always:
Nice to be able to see sunrise again and end with Xijaro and Pitch:
By day #2, it was possible to take the 18:00 shuttle and get there by 19:00 and see Khromata's set:
yeah for lasers!
Astrix was supposed to play but got covid, so Blastoyz was a great replacement, lovely set as always
like most DJs, Blastoyz is a great person
so glad I was able to get Afik to Blastoyz who happened to be walking the side of quantum valley
and somehow Craig Connelly got the 04:30-05:30 slot. A bit late, but he did another lovely set
fairly long lines at 05:45 to get back. Hopefully people didn't wait too long
Hello lovely, I hope you had an awesome night!
Kinetic Field before it got busy as hell
after a quick tour of the grounds, back to Quantum Valley
Hanna's set was surprisingly good even if I couldn't tell whether she was actually singing
it was fun to see rez, even if techno isn't really my thing
and it was cool to meet the creator arcane creations and the rez inspired neopixel glasses I wear
After that, it was time to find a good spot to watch Illenium and Armin at the now packed Kinetic Field:
cool to see the flower
turn into the insomniac owl
Finally it was time for Armin, it was more club/festival music than trance, just like ASOT 1000, but still enjoyable:
I tried to replicate the Armin's sign
Then, there was one hour left before the end of the night and festival, and time to get a shuttle back to town to catch the morning southwest flight out, so we went to Neon Garden for a bit of techno to end the night.
finished the night with some of my friends
While last year's EDC was lower attendance than normal and tickets were being re-sold at a loss, this one sold out and tickets were being re-sold for profit. The event was packed and went really well outside of the typical horror stories of getting that many people in and out of the festival.
Thank you to everyone at the insomniac team who put so much effort into making so many details right all over the place, with the great result that we all got to enjoy..
ASOT 1000 is a major event obviously, but unfortunately the US version was only 6 hours due to limitations of the suboptimal venue they chose. Unfortunately the Banc of California had many other stupid regulations that made it a very poor choice for a festival, including a super long list of non allowed items all the way to "no clothes with LED", OMG, way to go for a festival. They also required transparent fanny packs or bags, that most people didn't have, and by the time they warned us, it was too late to get them. But the worst thing they did was to prevent people from entering the main pit unless they had pit tickets that were alledgely sold out. Yet, in the end, the pit was half empty. How moronic...
welcome to LA
Finally got in, but looked like a naked peasant thanks go Banc of CA policies:
Got in in time to see Mr Brooks:
Good to run into friends again:
Ruben de Ronde was next:
Then Gabriel & Dresden were next:
Marlo came next with a dynamite set:
The awesome part was that TFSF's Triode got to go on stage for some of his tracks. We were so soooo happy for him:
Now was the time for cosmic gate:
And last, but not least, Armin of course. He did an interesting set that mixed a lot of genres, including almost techno and tech trance. Not everyone liked that, but I thought it was interesting and enjoyed it:
While this wasn't the fantastic Asot 1000 it could have been given the poor venue, rules, limited runtime, and so forth, I do have to say that all the artists put out banger sets. I know some didn't like Armin's but let's be serious, he has over 20 years worth of music and there is no way he can play the whole range and make everyone happy. Personally I liked the variety in his set even if I'm a melodic/euphoric trance person at heart.
And after just 6 hours, the show was over. It was a pretty short show due to curfews. A bit underwhelming for an ASOT 1000 show, a pretty terrible venue in my opinion, but it was still a show, better than all the other shows that got cancelled altogether.... But still, bitsweet to have a festival that didn't look like a festival due to the ridiculous rules in that venue.
This was my first beyond wonderland in socal, my last one was 6 years prior 10mn from my house at Shoreline. The setup on this one was definitely better given the extra room at that location, and Insomniac generally going all out a bit more every year:
Lots of nice places or people to hang out:
Definitely looking good at night:
One thing Insomniac really does well is the amount of costumed perfomers:
Of course, I also had fun playing with the crowd and decors :)
this was an unusual find :)
People were there to have fun as always :)
And great to run into friends as usual:
Hi Chris, thanks again for all your work
Anyway, let's get to the festival days. The first day had a good trance lineup, so I mostly hung out with the trance DJs, even if I went to see a few other ones too:
the visuals were pretty bad ass
And Blastoyz finished the night with a banging set I entirely recorded:
he was able to bring his parents on stage
Video of Day #1:
Day #2 was not a trance day, so it was a good excuse to see other stages
Ben Nicky was a surprisingly enjoyable set
Netsky was some good DnB
Then was time for the end of the night with Seven Lions and Above and Beyond:
and free infomercial :)
Video of Day #2:
Definitely a lot of fun, exceeded expectations. Thanks to Anna for the recommendation.