A history of the development of psychedelic culture in Cape Town by Traveller Joe.
Goa or psychedelic trance is a form of electronic music that developed on the beaches of Goa, India in the early 1990s. With the worldwide explosion of this form of dance music beyond the borders of India, the first reported outdoor Trance party in South Africa was a small gathering of traveling friends with a ghetto blaster celebrating a birthday on Sandy Bay beach. The year was 1994 & trance had arrived in Cape Town, South Africa.
In that same year a young French trance DJ, Dhya visited Cape Town after a life changing Goa experience. On 26 November 1994 he was went to the first Vortex ever produced, an indoor warehouse party called The Essence of Fluorescence & introduced to the organizers by mutual friends. A chance meeting that was to have far reaching implications with regards the direction of dance culture in Africa. At this time dance music was in its infancy in South Africa with Vortex & Pharcyde producing house orientated monthly warehouse raves.
In February 1995 electronic music enthusiasts were treated to the first outdoor party ever held in Cape Town. Stardust, produced by a German DJ, Fresco-X, was held on the green patch at Scarborough. Suddenly the great outdoors seemed like the place to hold parties. Firmly bitten by the Goa bug & inspired by the blossoming dance sub-culture down here Dhya returned to Cape Town in February that year with a fellow Israeli trance DJ, Yulchi. Armed with DATs & hours of psychedelic music they approached Vortex with regards DJing at one of the parties. Even though Vortex was doing big warehouse raves, when they heard the music it was an easy step to agree to let the music be heard.
The first psychedelic trance to be played to an audience happened soon after, at Vortex’s Mayday party at Culemborg in May 1995 to a crowd of about 4000. Needless to say the jump from house to trance in an indoor environment was a huge shock for many people attending & therefore Vortex continued to produce indoor raves through 1995 winter. In September 1995 the Vortex crew, for the purpose of promoting outdoor parties & trance music, formed a splinter organization, called Progression. Three successful Vortex outdoor Progression events were held in the months September to December 1995.
Dhya formed his own party organization, Moonchild Express & began throwing trance parties. In November 1995 the first true outdoor psychedelic party was produced by Conscious Dreams, a collective of foreign travelers in collaboration with Moonchild Express, at East Fort on Chapman’s Peak. They continued to throw parties on a monthly basis usually on or around full moon.
March 1996 saw St. Pierre from France booked by Vortex to play at their Let There be Light party. He was the first international psychedelic artist ever brought to Africa. In March 1996 Moonchild Express & Conscious Dreams brought out Goa Gil & August 1996 saw Tsuyoshi Suzuki play at Vortex’s The Art Of Sound party. Towards the end of 1996 the Conscious Dreams/Moonchild Express collective ended & out of this Alien Safari was born, producing their first event in December 1996.
The millennium saw Vortex produce a hugely internationally acclaimed party on New Years Eve. In collaboration with Etnica this party was promoted worldwide & saw over 2000 international travelers attend from all over the world. This was a worldwide groundbreaking event, featuring all the formulative bands of the trance scene. Hallucinogen, X-Dream, Total Eclipse, Pleaidians, Kox-Box, Cydonia, Tristan, Tim Schuldt, Infected Mushroom, Droidlock, California Sunshine, Bamboo Forest & was at the time the biggest trance party ever held out of Europe. This put South Africa firmly on the map as an international trance destination.
The year 2002 saw a total eclipse on South African soil. Vortex in collaboration with Alien Safari & Etnica produced the legendary South Africa 2002 eclipse party in tribal lands on the border of the Kruger National Park. The rest as they say is history. With multiple organizations promoting outdoor psy-trance parties on a regular basis, psychedelic culture in Africa was on the go. At present there are outdoor parties almost every weekend through the summer months & trance is firmly established in Cape Town as one of the leading forms of popular youth culture.
Vortex Trance Adventures
Psychedelic trance is a way of life, a way of living that teaches us the beauty of the world and our relationship to it. Trance parties for us are about the connection of the conscious whole through the expression of dance & only the true intentions of the organizers & musicians allow this to take place.
Now producing just two outdoor parties a summer on the first Saturday of December and Easter Weekend the Vortex trance collective, are on a mission to bring you pure & real psychedelic experiences produced with the utmost care, with an attention to detail that you have come to know and expect over the years.
We believe that the commercialization of the scene worldwide has diminished the message of what trance teaches and are on a mission to bring back the true psychedelic experience. You can recognize our parties by looking for our logo, which means “Open your mind & give rise to light”, on all our marketing.
At our parties expect trance and only trance, in a renewed spirit of light & love. Trust in trance & keep it real. Be a part of the change you wish to see in the world.
Is the core of energy found within ourselves when we let go of all or fears. We have a loss of interest in judging ourselves and those around us. We tend to think and act spontaneously, enjoying each moment as we appreciate everything and smile through the eyes, from the heart.
We all long for love, understanding and acceptance. We can only truly give and receive love once we have gained acceptance and peace within ourselves. Our actions of love towards others all stem from the love we have for ourselves.
Is what happens when a group of people, who have peace, experience their love for themselves and each other, creating a oneness within the group.
The attitude you reach because of Peace, Love and Unity. This allows an environment of freedom of choice. You allow yourself the freedom to be yourself as you allow others the freedom and space to be themselves.
The world is music & creation is a dance
Our emotional state of choice is ecstasy
Our nourishment of choice is love
Our addiction of choice is technology
Our religion of choice is music
Our currency of choice is knowledge
Our politics of choice is none
Our society of choice is utopian, though we know it will never be
You may hate us, you may dismiss us, you may misunderstand us, you may be unaware of our existence, we are not criminals, we are not disillusioned, we are not drug addicts, we are not naive children, we are one massive global, tribal village, that transcends man-made laws, physical geography, and time itself. No matter how you marginalize and label us you will never ever stop us.
We were first drawn together by the sound from far away, the thunderous muffled, and echoing beat was comparable to a mother’s heart soothing a child in her womb. We were drawn back into this womb, and there together, in the heat, passion and darkness we came to accept that we are all equal, not only to the darkness, and to ourselves, but to the very music slamming into us and passing through our souls, we are all equal, we are one.
We could feel the hand of divinity at our backs, pushing us forward, pushing us to push ourselves, pushing us to turn to the person beside us to join hands and uplift them by sharing the uncontrollable joy we feel from creating a magical bubble that can, for one evening protect us from the horrors, atrocities and pollution of the outside world. It is in that very instant, with these initial realizations that each of us was truly born.
We seek to relinquish our inhibitions, free ourselves from the shackles and restraints you have placed on us for your own peace of mind. We seek to re-write the programming that you have tried to indoctrinate us with from the moment we were born. Programming that tells us to hate, that tells us to judge, that tells us to stuff ourselves into the nearest and most convenient pigeon hole. Programming that tells us to eat from the poisoned shiny silver spoon you are trying to feed us with, instead of nourishing ourselves with our own capable hands. Programming that tells us to close our minds instead of open them.
Until the sun rises to burn your eyes by revealing the distopian reality of the twisted world you have created for us, we dance fiercely with our brothers and sisters in celebration of our life, of our culture and of the values we believe in. These are:
Our enemy of choice is ignorance, our weapon of choice is information, our crime of choice is breaking and challenging whatever laws you feel you need to put in place to stop us from celebrating our existence and our need to shed ourselves of the burden of uncertainty of a future you have been unable to stabilize and secure for us. But know that while you may shut down any given party on any given night in any given city, in any given country on this beautiful planet, you can never shut down the entire party; you do not have access to that switch, no matter what you may think.
“Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, live like it’s Heaven on Earth.”
The music will never stop
The heartbeat will never fade
The party will never end
I am a Raver and this is my manifesto
Author: Anonymous & everyone
Clean & Green
» Vortex subscribes to the Leave No Trace philosophy. You can read all about it here.
» We are also part of the newly formed Conscious Media Collective which aims to create an eco standard for festivals in South Africa. As a first step, we intend to implement a litter picker reward scheme whereby people can volunteer to do a shift of litter picking at our parties in exchange for free entry to the parties. If you are interested to get involved please contact us for more details.