There hasn’t been an electronic music genre that has touched my life as profoundly as trance. Ever since I was introduced to it I was hooked. The peaks and valleys during a trance set that makes me grip to this genre so strongly as it takes its listeners on a musical journey. Trance was there during my most personal times. I did however lose touch with this genre over time as I personally feel it hadn’t received the equivalent attention here in Canada as it receives internationally in Europe, Asia, or South America. Based on my recent experience with my first visit to the golden state of California, I see that there is a change underway and a bright path for trance music.
Last week I hiked up my dance shoes, packed up my rave gear, and withdrew some american currency with a mission to spend… my heart, soul and wallet at the sacred rave grounds of the NOS event centre at Dreamstate. Sacred, based on the fact that this festival, unlike the many multi-grenre ones I have attended is trance-only music in San Bernardino, CA. Insomniac supporters are well aware that NOS is a cornerstone for raving in southern California where Insomniac grew the scene. In fact, even EDC was hosted at these grounds long before its eventual moved to Las Vegas.
The popularity of trance has been finicky here in North America but is embraced globally outside of our continent. To say the least, I project only good things for trance music in north america after having attended this festival. The production was the usual Electronic Daisy Carnival style with LED screens, graphics, flickering lights, smoke machines and lasers. For a smaller scale Insomniac event (compared to EDC LV) it still packed quite the punch. This year they had two more stages set up and doing so allowed a higher capacity. Though the event did not sell out I felt it had the right amount of people. For the most part there was space if you needed to decompress if needed.
The energy that people brought with them was something fully expressed this weekend… those who may have felt repressed were not holding back! This event was one that allowed trance fans from all over to come together and share their love for the genre, a thing of beauty it was. I had the chance to check out many acts with John O Callaghan, Astrix and Jorn Van Deynhoven being my most anticipated over the weekend. All three didn’t disappoint!
Insomniac hosted the Timeless stage for classics only trance with artist like Richard Durand, Talla 2XLC, and Binary Finary amongst others. Though this stage received the least amount of production, it arguably made up for in vibes! The Vision stage had a mix of different styles of trance with acts like Ben Nicky, Jorn Van Deynhoven, Menno De Jong, Sneijder, Photographer, Mark Sherry and Jordan Suckley. Because of the weaker sound on day 1 at this stage, aside from Ben Nicky and Jorn, I didn’t frequent this stage as often. The Dream stage (main stage) hosted all the major acts and was great for uplifting melodies and songs that everyone can sing-a-long to… truly felt like a reunion every time we pondered over to that stage. This stage also welcomed some progressive house as well such as KhoMha dropping Eric Prydz’ Opus and Jason Ross giving us some Anjuna Beats feels which was a nice touch considering how progressive house and trance can be intertwined together easily.
Now lets get to my favourite stage, the Sequence, which hosted only psy trance for the entire weekend. Needless to say, I got warped right into the music, production and energy at this stage… it summoned something within me that just wanted to unleash haha… Ace Ventura & Astrix’s sets stole the show for me for the entire weekend and were both at Sequence and later played a b2b set as Alpha Portal. Just when I thought psy couldn’t take it any more darker… these two rocked everyone into another dimension with their psychedelic led graphics. I have no regrets being glued to Sequence that night and would recommend everyone to check these two out either individually or together! John O Callaghan was also one of my favourite sets of the weekend as he was my most anticipated and did not fall short of any expectation. Captain Hook also crushed everyone into smithereens on day 1. As I would walk around all I would see are tireless expressions on peoples faces that just read, “Keep Going”, for the music to not stop! It was surreal to see tranceheads bring just as much energy as baseheads do! A highlight of my night was meeting some of SoCal’s best shufflers that transported watchers into another realm with their fluidity and finesse.
On that note, I got to make some connections with people in the southern california area and met a lot of new people. In fact, I met more people in two days at Dreamstate than all 3 days at EDC over three years! This is the best way of me describing the extent of good vibes and willingness of everyone to communicate with one another during this event. Many artists also hosted an unofficial meet and greet during the afternoon at the nearby In-N-Out which was great for fans. It has been reported that Insomniac is going to be hosting a Dreamstate stage at all of their 2017 events, so look out for trance to begin to bloom here in north america! It takes a very successful and infuential promotional company to be able to do what Insomniac is now doing for trance, which will in turn lead to a trickle effect for smaller promotional companies to introduce trance into their scene. One thing for sure is that I will gladly return to Dreamstate again if it becomes a three day festival next year, considering that many of us have travelled internationally my only qualm was that it flew by quickly (We all know my love for 3+ day festivals). Regardless of which, I would recommend this festival to anyone who enjoyed trance back in the 90’s right up till the newcomer who's interest peaks today! A huge shout out to Jemal I, Terry G and Omar R for being such a great rave squad this adventure and Im sure all of us look forward to many more to come! I would like to end with Viva La Trance & Long Live Insomniac!
Peace, love, unity, respect
Photo credit: Jake West, Insomniac