From dusk till dawn. From dawn till dusk. And then repeat.

By: Kai Teo

Photos: Julie Schønherr Rosengreen, Zandra Gaia Reinsen, Pierre Chateau

Event: The Dance of the Planets – Älmhult, Småland
Date: Friday, 24 May ’13 – Sunday, 26 May ‘13
Live acts and DJs:  Various artistes
Genre: Psychedelic Trance
Entry: 350 kr
Our rating: 4.5/5

Warning: This report contains material that is not suitable for some audiences. Read at your own discretion.

Before we set foot on this epic journey, Buddha Mag kindly requests that you cast aside your preconceived notions of everything, your preprogrammed impression of the psychedelic universe, and leave behind the unnecessary ties to the material world that human civilisation has falsely conjured up.

Ready? Ok, take my hand, let’s begin.

Picture yourself strolling into a magical forest, where towering pine trees filter the golden sunlight, breaking it apart into a million brilliant rays of diamond shine. Birds take flight across the orange sky, almost in slow motion, and the insect kingdom blossoms in its full glory.

Beside you, a calm, magnificent lake mirrors the landscape, only to double its beauty. And amidst the thick undergrowth is an open clearing littered with colourful tents and old Volvos. The air is laden with the strong beats of psytrance and its multi-coloured sounds of spaceships, fairies, flying elephants, crystal animals and even scary monsters.

Welcome to The Dance of the Planets. This is your home for the next 40 hours.

The kind organisers have created a dreamscape at the stage and dancefloor. Neon lights illuminate the entire space and highlight the bright, giant paintings of geometric mindscapes, filled with images of galaxy surfers, mind mazes and cosmic princesses. It’s like stepping into the mixed brains of Salvador Dali and Stephen Hawking, on fast-forward.

Are you still with me? Don’t drift off too far, I’m your reality, so hold on tight.

The dancing tribe consists of fantasy characters from the far corners of your imagination. Face paint goes out of control, feathers grow out from ponytails, and dreadlocks have a life of their own. Everyone is equipped with a perpetual smile, an open heart and of course, the standard issue: the baggy hippie patchwork pants. Everyone is huggable. Everyone’s a friend and a lover. Everyone is high on life. Or something.

Oh, hold on, let me empty my backpack. I’ve brought 10 litres of beer as fuel for our souls. Go out of control with me, will you?

It’s midnight. And the music is blasting our senses into a never-ending spiral of psychedelic pleasure. At the same time, it occasionally gets extremely dark and forces you to confront your fears and insecurities. To a point where you get tired of that darkness, and you just go “DJ, I fear you not. Bring it on!” Then the heavens bring the rains, and we’re reveling in its wet embrace.

As we go into an unrestrained trance on the dancefloor, time stops being an issue. The only restrictions are our bodies and our minds, and how far we’re willing to push ourselves. The sun has risen, the flora and fauna has awoken. But we are still deeply entrenched in the pounding abyss delivered to us by the DJ.

Oh, it’s 8am. Let’s have another beer. And a warm, fresh coffee from the counter as well.

I’m not even hungry. I’ve not had food for 12 hours, or more, I can’t remember. But I seem to have forgotten the concept of food. Oh, nevermind that, dancing is more important.

“Birds flying high, you know how I feel. Sun in the sky, you know how I feel… It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new life, and I’m feeling good.”

Shit. The DJ actually read my mind. Ha. Genius.

Here, come with me. You have to see the lake. Come, dip your feet into the water. Let it soothe you. Feel the ground in between your toes. Feel the fresh air in your lungs. Feel nature. Feel the wondrousness of mother earth. Embrace it. And remember this deep appreciation. Take it home with you, and then be a messenger to the people who have forgotten our oneness with the universe.

“Hey love, wake up, it’s time to party.”

What the fuck? When did we come into the tent? Oh… my god. What? It’s 4pm? Wait wait, I can’t think. Let me have my cigarette first.

The music surrounding our atmosphere now is epic, and very uplifting. An angelic female voice, combined seamlessly with a grand orchestra, and a touch of summer, plus sunlight. This is the right kind of bliss to be woken up by. I make my way to the dancefloor. And I realise that the voice belongs to the lady singing on the stage. Impossible. I am truly mesmerised. This is the voice of an angel, she is not human.

Let’s get a veggie taco. Now I’m actually feeling hungry. It’s delicious isn’t it? Here, stranger, you look hungry too. I just bought the last taco of the day, so you might want to share some of mine.

After all, we’re a tribe. We’re family. Sharing my food and my beer is more rewarding than taking the pleasure for myself. Oh, I can have some of your beer too? Thanks!

Saturday evening was spent drifting in and out of dreams and reality, sleep and alert consciousness.

“Hey love, wake up, it’s time to party.”

Midnight beckons. And the music is hard as ever. Boom. Here we go again. Let’s drink. Let’s get to the dancefloor. Let’s allow the DJ to take our minds on a journey, again.

Everyone’s friendly. Everyone’s giving one another thumbs up, smiles, and pats on the back. Everyone’s on the same level.

At this point, the darkness and the fatigue is slowly getting to me. It’s hitting me, hard. My senses are overwhelmed. I have to go back to the tent, have a little lie-down and listen to Pink Floyd. I want it slow and smooth now. The DJ is relentless, I lose.

Oh, do you want to join me in the tent? Let’s cuddle up and connect with each other. And of course, let’s really feel “Shine on you crazy diamond” and float away into Syd Barrett’s beautiful tragedy.

Right now, our little 2m by 2m cosy tent is our own dance floor. My mind is my own party. And my iPod is my DJ. Come, let’s hug. Welcome to my world.

“Hey love, wake up, it’s time to party.”

Noon. The wind is gusting, sweeping up the dried leaves and throwing them into the whirl of frenzy right in front of the stage. Guess what, the music is still going strong. And the last of the warriors are still performing their own dances according to the decree of the Divine Ruler of the Planets.

Let’s pack our tents. And then push our boundaries once last time, by dancing hard for the next 2 hours before we have to catch the train back to Malmö.

As we drag our tired bodies and refreshed souls away from the party, the organiser comes to bid us goodbye. And before we step into the van, he says, “Now we go back to reality.” And I merely smile and answer, “No my friend, this weekend is our reality.”