Your guide to the sickest summer electronic music festivals of the season
Cape Town is home to the outdoor trance music party. Sure, Joburg tries its best, but this seaside city, with its chilled-out reputation and its surrounding natural splendour, is the obvious choice for weekend-long, wild-eyed music festivals in undisclosed, enchanting locations.
However, if you’re not in the know (Capetonians are often said to be somewhat cliquey), upcoming outdoor trance parties can prove rather elusive. More times than not, it’s hard to get concrete info about what’s happening where and when.
More specifically, in much the same way as people from Cape Town direct you around the city with useful instructions like “drive away from the mountain”, descriptions you’ll get on a trance party are, “party of my life”, “mystical visuals” or “amazing energy”.
Don’t despair though; we’re here to help! We’ve compiled an overview of the best outdoor trance parties of the 2013 and 2014 season in and around Cape Town. So, without further ado…get to stomping.
CAPE TOWN TRANCE PARTIES
Fourth Dimension Events Presents Sunflower Festival (31 August-1 September 2013)
Billed as the first trance jol of the music season, Fourth Dimension’s Sunflower Festival is sure to be the perfect warm-up for the fast-approaching summer. The stellar line-up of international and local artists brings thundering bass lines, retina-melting visuals and dance-floor destroying rhythms to the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch (a venue just 25 minutes outside of Cape Town). Top acts on the bill have performed at Burning Man and other massive international psyfestivals and include Captain Hook, Magneto, Orca, Deliriant, Bruce and many more. Celebrate the start of the warm weather with Sunflower! Gates open at 11am.
•Tickets: Tickets are available via Computicket.com, Computicket outlets, select outlets (see the Sunflower Festival’s FB page) or at the door. Early bird tickets cost R120p/p but are limited to 500 only. Combo early bird tickets (which includes the Sunflower Warm-up Party at Side Show) go for R170p/p and are limited to 500 only. Once early bird tickets are sold out, regular tickets are available for R220p/p, if purchased in advance, or R250p/p at the door.
Alien Safari Sprung (7-8 September 2013)
You’ve packed up your tent from the Sunflower Festival, but don’t despair: Alien Safari Sprungtakes place only a week later in a discreet Paarl valley (there’s two dams!). As a Cape Town institution, Alien Safari is known for putting on brilliantly organised and executed bashes, so it’s no wonder that the music line-up boasts three supersonic international acts, Antispin (UK), Hedflux (UK) and Sinerider (UK), as well as some of the best in local psytrance. Food and drink vendors will be stationed around the festival, but you are also welcome to bring your own refreshments. Gates open at 10am.
•GPS coordinates: Latitude: -33.684696 | Longitude: 18.933101
•Tickets: Pre-sale tickets are now available via Quicket.co.za and cost R260p/p (excluding online booking fee). Tickets are also available from select retail outlets (see the Alien Safari FB page) at the same price and will be on sale at the gate for R290p/p.
Earthdance Cape Town (20-22 September 2013)
With a new venue and completely remodelled stages on the cards, this year’s Earthdance Cape Town is shaping up to be a whole new out-of-this-world experience. Say goodbye to Nekkies Resort (where the festival’s been held forever) and hello to Pronkies Holiday Farm in Piketberg! What’s more, the mind-blowing jol brings you three pimped out musical spheres: a psytrance zone, a bass and breaks zone and a chilled out house-y, electronica zone. With the usual green theme, the trance festival boasts generator and solar-powered equipment, vegan and vegetarian refreshment stalls, healing areas, and much more alongside swimming areas, art exhibits, adequate camping facilities and around-the-clock security. Gates open 1pm on Friday.
•Tickets: Tickets for Earthdance can be purchased online from Quicket.co.za, from participating outlets (see the Earthdance website for a list) or at the gate. Tickets for Friday-Sunday cost R350p/p at outlets, R355p/p online or R390p/p at the gate. For Saturday-Sunday tickets, expect to pay R320p/p at outlets, R325p/p online or R350p/p at the gate. Sunday-only tickets can only be purchased at the gate and cost R200p/p. There is an additional option of a Friday-Sunday ticket plus one tree from Greenpop for an online price of R450p/p.
Mindcultivation Presents Cosmic Connection (5-6 October 2013)
Fans of the annual Mindcultivation psytrance parties will know that to miss this year’s jol is a definite no-no. For one, the summer festival’s usual location at the West Coast Ostrich Ranch (roughly 25 minutes outside of Cape Town) boasts a large dam (think midnight swims galore), grassy terrain on which to frolic and plenty of space to jam and camp the whole weekend long. And of course, you can’t forget the music; Cape Town trance favourites like The Commercial Hippies, Connecto and Deliriant will all be there. Gates open at 3pm, and the tickets are among the cheapest of all the parties.
•Tickets: Tickets can be purchased online at Quicket.co.za, at approved ticket outlets (see the Mindcultivation website for details) or at the gate. Early-bird tickets are sold between 1-10 September and cost R200; pre-sale tickets are available from 11 September for the price of R230; and tickets sold at the gate will cost R250. What’s more, Mindcultivation will be donating 10% of all tickets profits to a local charity, The SunBird Foundation.
The Village: The Gathering (12-13 October 2013)
The Village’s annual jol, The Gathering, stomps its way to the green pastures of the Wildekrans Wine Estate from Saturday, 12 to Sunday, 13 October 2013. This yearly October opskop heads to the Bot River region this year to hit slick groovies at a tricked-out psytrance music festival of note. Featuring first-rate local and international beat-makers, this trance jol promises to be bigger and better than before! This year, party-goers can expect to see Israeli-born Lior Yosha (aka DJ Josh from Outer Signal), and Mzansi legend Headroom makes a welcomed return to the festival line-up after a three-year hiatus.
•Tickets: Tickets are available at select stores as well as at the gate on the day and range between R200p/p and R250p/p in price. Click through to the event for more information.
Organik Gaian Dream (19-20 October 2013)
Get lost in a magical world where you can reconnect with Mother Earth and stomp to your heart’s content at the 2013 Organik Gaian Dream trance party. Set to take place from Saturday, 19 to Sunday, 20 October 2013 at The Wood between the Worlds (an enchanting, lush piece of land situated just outside Caledon and about 90 minutes from Cape Town), Gaian Dream is a peace- and love-filled festival offering the best in progressive and psytrance beats. The line-up includes some of Cape Town’s favourite mixmasters, like Headroom and Stereotype, as well as two international acts, Berg from Israel and the UK’s DJ Shane Gobi. Bring spare blankets and clothing for the less fortunate as there will be a collection box at the gate, and otherwise, prepare to journey into another time and world. The venue is open from 10am on the Saturday.
•Tickets: Pre-sale tickets are available at selected outlets at a cost of R240p/p; otherwise, they can be bought online via Organik.co.za and Quicket.co.za at R245p/p or at the gate on the day at R270p/p.
Groovy Troopers presents Mandala Project (8 – 10 November 2013)
The folks at Groovy Troopers certainly know how to throw a stomp-tastic do, and the Mandala Project from Friday, 8 to Sunday, 10 November at the majestic Diepklowe Nature Reserve is no exception. The psychedelic gathering features top-notch local and international beat masters, including Mad Maxx from the USA and French producer X.S.I, both of whom will perform together as part of the tricked out duo known as Wild Monkeys. Plus, revelers can expect the good noise from their regular faves, like Headroom, Spekta and L.S. Dork. The private nature reserve, which is just 100km from Cape Town, is the ideal get-lost-and-party venue, with its meadows, fynbos and swimmable dam. And if the jamming gets too much, there are art installations, craft markets, a bar and food stalls to explore and enjoy. Dressing up is more than encouraged, so remember to pack your intergalactic space suit and bring something extra to donate to the less fortunate.
*Tickets: Pre-sale tickets are available at selected outlets or online at Groovytroopers.co.za/products-page for R295p/p. Tickets at the gate will cost R330p/p, and Sunday tickets (available from 8am) cost R200p/p.
Beartrap - Remanufacture (16-17 November 2013)
Watch this space for information as it’s released.
Vortex and Free Earth Festival: Open Source (5-9 December 2013)
Located at the ‘Circle of Dreams’ in Riviersonderend, the three-night, four-day Open Source bash encourages the idea of ‘one dance floor, one energy, one love’. For this massive psyculture calendar highlight, organisers Vortex and Free Earth have thrown together a stellar line-up of dozens of trance music artists, like Zen Mechanics, Koxbox, U-Recken and Z-Cat. What’s more, the surroundings boast secluded mountain ranges, a long-running river and miles of lush forest that create the perfect enchanting environment in which to spend four days in mystical bliss.
•GPS coordinates: Latitude:34*08’16.27”S; Longitude: 19*59’43.14”E.
•Tickets: A limited number of early-bird tickets for Open Source are available until 30 September at a cost of R350p/p. Email email@example.com to book these. From 1 October - 4 December, pre-sale tickets cost R400p/p and can be booked through the same email, via retail outlets (see the Free Earth Festival FB page) or via 3am.co.za (for a special price of R330p/p). Additionally, tickets can be purchased for R450p/p at the gate.
Boomerang NYE Festival (30 December 2013-1 January 2014)
One of the most legendary Cape Town festivals to date (only rivalled by Rezonance for the title New Year’s Eve king), Boomerang’s annual three-day fest is one for the books. Held close to Cape Town at the West Coast Ostrich Ranch (a 25-minute drive from the city), the more intimate end-of-year jol transports party-goers to an enchanting location for awesome stomping beats. Past line-ups have featured the likes of Mekkanika, Earthling and Tron, and Mindcultivation (the party organisers) promise that this year’s international and locals artists will be even more explosive.
•Tickets: Stay tuned for information and details of how to score tickets!
Rezonance NYE Festival (28 December 2013)
Details for this year’s Rezonance are still in the works. Check back for updates as the date gets closer.
Vortex and Mindzone Let There Be Light NYE Party (31 December 2013-1 January 2014)
Watch this space for more information as it’s released.
Nine Lives Outdoor Festival (18-19 January 2014)
This year MMD Records celebrates nine years of bringing you the best in body-rocking beats with the Nine Lives Outdoor Festival. The trance extravaganza will feature an array of mind-bending acts from both the local and international psy scene. Stompers can look forward to a return performance by Australian manipulator Glacial as well as a once-off performance from Android Spirit of Germany. Local favourites include Zion Linguist, EMP and The Skragg. Gates open at 3pm on Saturday and close at 5pm on Sunday. More details to follow soon.
Groovy Troopers – Metamorph (25-26 January 2014)
Watch this space for details over the coming months.
Origin Electronic Festival (31 January - 2 February 2014)
Origin Electronic Music Festival is back with three days of bang and an off-the-hook line-up at the end of January. 2014’s get-down takes place on the Elandskloof Farm, a venue tucked between Villiersdorp and Greyton, 125km from the Mother City. Origin will make a psychedelic splash with four pumping areas – the Origin stage, Beats dance floor, Heartspace and Visionary Art Gallery. And as mentioned, this year’s bill features a dazzling selection of both local and international acts spanning the techno, world music and progressive scene. Much to festival-goers delight, three dams have been built just for the event, so be sure to pack a costume to relieve yourself after a sweaty stomp! Gates open at 2pm on the Friday.
•GPS coordinates: 34° 2’55.86″S 19°24’18.21″E
•Tickets:Pre-sale tickets are available at Quicket.co.za for R330, at selected outlets for R320 and at the gate for R350 (entry after 8am on Sunday will cost you R250)
Beartrap - Celestial Beings (15-16 February 2014)
Watch this space for details and ticket information as it’s released!
Alien Safari – Masqued Ball (1 March 2014)
Check back here for the scoop on this early March festival.
Beartrap Celestial Beings (15-16 February 2014)
Don’t miss the chance to see top international acts Vibe Tribe and DaVinci Code at Beartrap’s regular Celestial Beings jol this February. Solo act Vibe Tribe is the brainchild of Russian-born Israeli producer Stas Marnyanski and, formerly, Elmar Ivatarov (aka Spade). Marnyanski has been producing since his teens and is known for his inventive high-tech, full-on style. DaVinci Code features the duo back in action, this time venturing into 138-bpm territory and lower with a fresh progressive psychedelic sound. Gates open at 4pm on the Saturday and close at 4pm the following afternoon. More details to follow soon.
Groovy Troopers - Vision Serpent (28-30 March 2014)
We’ll have more info in the coming months, so be sure to check back soon.
UltraNoize (5-6 April 2014)
This year marks the 5th anniversary of this Durbanville-based trance party, which was brought to life by Nothern Suburbs DJs Deon Louw and Johan Huisamen in 2009. This year’s event is sure to promise a line-up of top-quality trance acts comprised of both local and international artists. Gates open at 4pm and close at 4pm the following day. Watch this space for more details.
Organik Love Project (10 May 2014)
Ready for a trance party blowout to wind down the summer music season? Organik Love Project’s seasoned festival organisers are the perfect bunch to plan just such a jol. Watch this space for more info on the mid-May trance bash.
Jungala Festival (26-28 April 2014)
Tucked away in the Cape Winelands, between Tulbagh and Wellington, lies Gouda – the location for this year’s Jungala Festival. Come sweat and stomp to your heart’s content beneath the lush forest canopy. We’ve got word that tickets go on sale early February, but other details are still to be announced. Watch this space for more information