We all have different impressions of what a music festival is. Most Singaporeans have probably heard of ZoukOut or Laneway Festival. And for the more adventurous, there’s Tomorrowland in Belgium, featuring massive headliners such as Axwell, Steve Aoki, Ferry Corsten and Paul Van Dyk.
But this giant EDM extravaganza is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the music festivals that Europe has to offer. When we start exploring other genres of electronic music, when we look beyond the expensive laser lights, and when we peer beyond these highly commercial festivals – that’s when we discover a whole new world of pure love and true freedom.
At most of these festivals that I’ll be recommending, organic and synthetic mind-altering substances are commonplace and nothing to be fearful about, nor judged. While many of us still have a very negative impression of what are commonly termed “drugs”, at these festivals, these substances are merely tools to help deliver different kinds of personal festival experiences, often experimented with responsibly and safely.
Festival organisers recognise that their joyful dancers would inevitably be exposed to these substances, and instead of prosecution, some of them even have booths that provide clear drug safety information and first-aid to keep everyone safe.
Just as some prefer to have their senses and perception dulled by litres of Long Island Ice Tea, others prefer to heighten their experiences with psychedelics, lengthen their dance floor hours with a line of amphetamine, look within themselves with ketamine telescope, or infuse themselves with unlimited love through MDMA. In these free spaces, your freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins. In other words, “Do what you want responsibly, as long as you’re not a nuisance to those around you.”
That being said, Hype & Stuff does not endorse the use of illegal substances. This article serves only as a reflection of these festivals that the author has been to, with no intention to encourage illegal substance use.
So let’s open our minds and our hearts, and come with me on a journey through these five festivals that would blow your mind, and maybe even change your life.
1. Ozora Festival, Hungary – The Love Revolution
July 31 – August 6, 2017
This psychedelic gathering of over 50,000 rainbow warriors is more than a festival. It’s a revolution of love. It’s tribal, it gets muddy, and people get very naked. It’s a celebration of freedom, dance, and life. Besides the giant dance floors, there’s an astounding display of mind-bending art, a beautiful children’s play area, a circus tent, enlightening workshops, yoga classes, and even massage sessions. It’s a week of living in love and a pure lightness of being.
2. Fusion Festival, Germany – A True Fusion
June 27 – July 1, 2018
Be immersed into a parallel world of neon colours, bouncy castles, avant-garde art, and hypnotic music from all around the world – all set against the backdrop of a gigantic, old military air base. One of the most popular festivals in Germany, Fusion draws people from all walks of life to dance together to the same beat.
Need to rest your tired soul from non-stop trance, techno, tech-house, electro swing, or live bands? Float lazily on an air mattress on the lake, watch a movie in the 24-hour cinema, delight in a play, or simply borrow someone’s bike to cruise around the whole festival area.
3. Midnight Sun Festival, Norway – 24-hour sunshine and oh my god, the view
2018 dates to be confirmed
Ever wished the sun never set? Now the world’s most scenic festival, held above the Arctic Circle, can promise you just that. Set against the majestic cliffs of Norway’s Vaeroy island, the electronic music festival is an adventure for the most dedicated of Psytrance and Psychill fans.
Have your breath taken away by the insane display of colours in the sky as sunset is immediately followed by sunrise, with the pounding music pumping away into the horizon.
4. Norberg Festival, Sweden – Pushing the frontiers of electronic music
July 27 – 29, 2017
Get ready to have your senses jarred by the most experimental electronic music festival in Sweden. Throw away any preconceptions you’ve had about electronic music, slaughter your Avicii, forget Tomorrowland. This is the future. This small, almost nerdy festival brings together musical geniuses and audionauts from around the region for a communal exploration in sound. Did you also know that noise is a genre of electronic music? If you didn’t, you should try experiencing it here at Norberg.
5. Desert Dance Festival, Egypt – Camels on the dance floor
October 5 – 8, 2017
Still relatively unknown to the world, Desert Dance Festival is one of the pioneers of music festivals in the Middle East. Held in a big dune beach in Sinai, Egypt, the gathering attracts psychonauts from all around the world, while blasting out love and their message of peace and unity to the region, which is often portrayed by mainstream media to be a war-torn and violent area. It’s a brave new world here, and you’re welcomed to be part of it.
“It’s not just a festival, it’s a love revolution.” Time to book your tickets