The whole outdoor trance festival thing


I wasn’t impressed by Rainbow Serpent this year. I didn’t feel the magic. Actually come to think of it, I probably haven’t felt the magic in some time. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time – it was a fun party – but that was it. I chalked it down to getting jaded and being tired, having just got back from Vietnam a couple of days before. But I was left thinking that unless something changed, it could be my last Rainbow.

So I decided to go to Maitreya.

Maitreya lacked many things. Being located outside a harness racing track in Carisbrook, it lacked the completely in the bush setting. Its market area was too spread out in an attempt to cover up the road and the stadium so the fairy village atmosphere that festival markets can get at night just wasn’t there. Plus, there was no real social area – the organisers had set up a tent but provided nothing else but a couple of hay-bales. It isn’t until one goes to a festival without the Holy Cow Chai Tent that one appreciates how much space and atmosphere to relax and socliase they create.

However, in spite of all of that – Maitreya had magic.

The size of the festival helped. It felt like a quarter of Rainbow – so maybe 3000 people. I’d forgotten how much more intimate a smaller festival feels. The crowd helped too. The people who go to Maitreya generally seemed to be there much more for the music and less for the party. This meant less dressing up and showing off but also more focus. Unfortunately, this also meant the trashbags were more obvious – something that had certainly diminished at Rainbow over the years.

Finally, the music at Maitreya was better – more layered, more complex, more passion. On occasion it felt like trance by number but the moments were rare.

Anyway, I left Maitreya having a bit more faith in the genre and that maybe I still have a few more outdoor trance parties left in me.

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