IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT PINK UNICORNS, RIGHT?
Human beings have engaged in celebration for time immemorial – but there’s always been a repressive arm of our society that has tried to suffocate certain ways of life. Italian anthropologist Chiara Baldini spoke about this in much more sophisticated terms at the Liminal Village when she delivered her presentation: ‘Ancient Dionysian Activists: Altered States and Social Engagement at the Dawn of Western Culture’.
She spoke about the way humankind has been involved in ecstatic forms of dance throughout the ages and about ancient rituals, their origins to the cult of the goddess and how even back then there existed a repressive patriarchal culture of conservative values.
So what lessons can be drawn when we are faced such systems today? It was a question from the floor during the Q&A at the end.
She said: “The lesson for me is that life goes in cycles and to know that what has happened, will happen again. The lesson is to see there are two sides of a story. So when an ecstatic ritual like Boom happens – we must also be aware of the polar opinion held by the share of the population which says: ‘This is crazy, dangerous; this is madness, this is going to get out of control.’
“The idea is to be aware of both sides of the story and not just get stuck in our version of reality where we think it’s just about pink unicorns. Of course it’s also about our connection to the divine, but there is the other side too.
“So when people try to repress, we can understand where they are coming from. We know deeply what they mean. And instead of fighting, we engage in a dialogue by acknowledging what they say. We show them we are aware of that. It stops us from projecting our shadows onto each other. This way, we own the shadow aspect of what we do – both consciously and responsibly.”
The printed artwork on the floor near the Chill Out stage looked like a near replica of the Dance Temple yet it had been created by the Boomer way before the festival.
He said: “I had no idea the main stage would be looking like this. But now the festival has inspired me to continue making even better works in the future.”
He added: “We live in a capitalist world where everything is money-driven. So I hope my art can help people to visualise a different kind of world, to dream and envision their own reality – a colourful one they will want to live in. And to become a child again, and to wonder about the universe and life, because that’s the most precious thing there is. Imagination is the key.”
ASTRIX MAKES BOOM DEBUT
Astrix played perhaps the busiest and most ecstatic set yet at the Dance Temple as Boomers reached for the sky and danced their arses off to his perfectly produced tunes like ‘Deep Jungle Walk’ and his remixes of Shpongle’s ‘DMT’ and JJc’s ‘Bungee Jump’ (with Captain Hook). Surely one of the nicest guys in the scene, his smile resonated around the packed dance floor and the vibe was totally off the scale. His mixing was super-slick and his track selection impeccable.
Speaking to him after his set, he was as down to earth and humble as ever, despite the pack of enthusiastic fans waiting for him outside the backstage area. We only had time for a quick chat before he went to give them his undivided attention, where he mentioned how nervous he had been to make his Boom debut and how becoming a dad has completely changed his life – not least of all because he can’t sit up all night producing music any more as he has to be up early to take on parenting duties. We can only hope that this is just the start of his Boom journey.
Very few artists could take over from Astrix and not only hold their own but take things to the next level. Perfect Stranger manifested another epic set that took Boomers on an uplifting odyssey and had us glued to the stage. When he played one of his signature tracks, ‘Manifestation’, we thought the roof of the temple might just fly away. He handed things over to Boom favourite Atmos and the vibration somehow managed to go up yet another notch. All too soon the music stopped and Boomers dispersed to throw themselves into the lake, rehydrate and recalibrate before the evening’s celebrations.
PSYCHEDELIC TRIBE ROCKS OUT TO ETHIOPIAN JAZZ
Can you imagine a football-pitch-sized dance floor packed with psy trance lovers grooving to the sounds of Ethiopian Jazz?
That’s exactly what happened on Thursday night when legendary 80 year old Ethio Jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke played at the Dance Temple. Mulatu and his band played longer than planned after Boomers summoned them back to continue jamming some more.
Some would say it was a risky move – but the response of sheer love and appreciation from Boomers was proof it worked. And it was proof that the psychedelic impact of sound is found not just in one style, but in a diverse range of soundscapes.
We had the honour of speaking with Mulatu straight after the gig. He said: “That was really fantastic. Boomers are a great audience. It’s the first time I’ve been to a festival like this and it was a beautiful experience – the music really surprised me.
“Thank you again to the organisers and to the audience who gave us such a great response and the support to play on. Ethio Jazz is going strong for 50 years now and is inspired by the Bush people of Africa – they are my influences, they are my heros.
“So from my experience of life and music, my message to Boomers is: remember music, love and peace. And remember to always be yourself.”
The Zenon takeover continued with Ryanosaurous playing an absolute stormer of a set at 11.30pm. His driving dark prog was more than a bit of a contrast to the Ethiopian Jazz of Mulato, but paved a superb bridge to take it into the darker sounds of Meerkut and Confo. We didn’t think Ryan could outdo his set on the Alchemy Stage in 2016 but he certainly did exactly that, with a supportive crew of Antipodeans at the front of the Dance Temple hanging on his every beat.
There is just one word for the Alchemy stage: un-freaking-predictable. At crazy o’clock, the music went from trap and breaks to psychedelic techno and house. The floor was rammed and no doubt the mind-bending visuals and projection mapping by innovative Italian crew Delta Process also kept Boomers glued to the Circle. In short, we didn’t want to ever leave.