Festival: Love Forest 2015
Venue: Love Forests of Värmland, Sweden
Date: 5–7 June ‘15
Ancient folklore often speak of the enchanting forests in Northern Sweden, their magical pixies, rolling hills, towering trees, and the occasional moose in your headlights.
To honour the beauty of these Northern forests and the millions of poems, songs, and romance that they have inspired, a bunch of hippies decided to strip themselves naked, tie one another to the trees, make wild love on a bed of leaves, and organise a psytrance festivals for other hippies to do the same.
Thus began the legacy of Love Forest.
This time, Buddha Mag and our mascot Jessica Shanti Larsson jumped into a Saab with a few bindi-wearing wildlings, and embarked on a treacherous journey to the legendary Love Forest to see what hippies actually do in the wilderness.
The journey there – breakfast wine and getting an “OM” tattoo
Due to my age, I had the privilege of taking the front passenger seat of the car on the premise that I have bad knees. While it gives you more legroom, being the front seat passenger also has certain important responsibilities. I had to be in charge of changing the radio channel, taking selfies, and constantly caressing and harassing the driver to make sure she doesn’t fall asleep. All that work, and the driver didn’t even touch me back.
As the Saab cruised along the sunny highways towards the North, Jessica and I indulged in a breakfast that included a litre of wine and some cookies. And before too long, Jessica was a naked mess throwing up out of the window and rubbing herself against the dashboard. To satiate her restlessness, we decided to give her some ink that we thought she might appreciate. These included the look-at-me-I-took-too-much-acid-once-and-thought-I-found-enlightenment “Om” sign on the back of her neck, some Flower of Life stuff, and what we thought resembled sacred geometry.
About 9 hours, more wine, more tattoos, more driver caressing, and more selfies later, we arrived at the labyrinth that will eventually bring us to the party. And we got swallowed by the meandering paths and consumed by the breath-taking views. So about 2 hours, more wine, more tattoos, more driver caressing, and more selfies later, we came across another vehicle that we thought might know the way.
“Look, if the people in the car have dreadlocks, then we’ll follow them.”
And that’s how we got to the festival.
The Forest of Destruction – Brutal DJs and Angry Gnomes
After feeding Jessica with copious amounts of what we would like to call “Liquid Sentience Discovery”, we delighted in watching her spiral down rabbit holes, black holes and worm holes, and listened to her spew completely enlightened gibberish into our ears.
“Shanti, Shakti, is all in me. I shall honour the planets, the universal energy, by embodying love. And no chemtrails. We shall not eat meat. Feminism is the truth of femininity. Mushrooms are the key to unlocking the earth’s secrets….” And she went on for another 3 hours or so while we dragged her high ass to the full power dance floor.
The heavy beats were murderously brutal. What was termed Forest Psytrance was, in my mind, a wildlife massacre. Multi-coloured tigers screamed with high-pitched robotic squeals, and from within them climbed out armies of gnome-like creatures wearing the uniforms of marching bands, riding transparent crickets with 57 legs each.
Then everything explodes into a flurry of flames that arranged themselves into a complex pattern resembling the bottom of a coffee mug, in a fluid yet strictly geometric form. With every silence, these visuals get sucked away into a nothingness in my mindscape, only to be spat out by the monstrous mouth once the beats drop again.
If I had taken what Jessica had taken, it would’ve turned into a forest nightmare.
I looked at her lying on the ground, her plastic hands buried deep in the ground, as if she was feeling the earth. Her eyes stared blankly into the skies, her “Om” tattoo, seemingly fading out. Have we lost Jessica? I wasn’t sure. Wherever her mind, and soul may be, I hope she’s with the gods.
I left her face down, eating the slightly damp soil, because I knew she wanted to feel closer to Mother Earth.
The True Magic of Forest Psytrance
I could never really understand forest psytrance, really. I mean, I’m not too turned on by pixies and forest gnomes and talking trees and stuff. I like the pew pew pew spaceships and planets and all that. Well, not until Love Forest.
In the midst of doing my Pocahontas nonsense, swinging my hair wildly about and thrusting my hands in the skies to reach for the stars, I felt it.
I understood the real magic behind Forest Psytrance and why it’s so enchanting, and so fucking genius. It might just be me romanticising it, but my perception is my reality, and here’s what I think.
The real power of Forest Psy is fully displayed in all its might when it’s played in the forest. Duh. I know. Wait for this. The reason why it becomes so incredibly trippy is because the forest itself – the trees, the ground, the rustling of the leaves – all become its instrument.
Listen. And you’ll know that the forest is truly alive. Let the heavy bass bounce off the trees and let the branches scatter the sound waves into a million psychedelic micro decibels. And when the huge tree trunks push the beats back to the dance floor, the echoes awaken your spirit animal, connecting you with the surroundings, life, and let you fall deep into the warm embrace of Mother Nature herself.
It’s a genre that comes alive in its home. And a genre that is best appreciated in the midst of the forests.
Mama Stina, her Forest Singing Bowl Pixie, and Baba Kai.
One of the most remarkable characters that I’m honoured to have connected with is Mama Stina. Throughout the preparation of the festival, to every second we spent in the forest, Mama has been our planner, logistics head, action-oriented superwoman, and practical guardian.
“Mama, do we have water?” Wham, here you go, giant bottle of fucking water right in your fucking face. “Mama, the cookies are finished.” Bam, here you go again, a brand new packet of premium grade chocolate chip cookies, right in your fucking face. The list goes on. In the material world, Mama Stina reigns supreme. And here, we salute, and honour this great woman.
Of course, behind every great woman, is another great woman. Mama’s soul sister is the Forest Singing Bowl Pixie. Her unmistakable blue hair and outfit distinguishes her from the mortals of the world. Her gait is full of grace and spunk, and every time she strikes her golden singing bowl, she plucks you out from the reality and takes you to a place of pure love, ultimate zen, and everlasting peace. Her cleverness is impressive beyond all measures, and her smile always tells you that everything is fun, and everyday is a party. Here too, we give praise to the Pixie.
These mighty goddesses have bestowed upon me the name “Baba Kai”, which I accept humbly. So that while Mama Stina rules the material world, and Forest Singing Bowl Pixie owns the universe of peace, Baba Kai can help pull you out from the depths of eternal hell if your mind, and soul, and sprit, slips into the abyss. And indeed, it was an honour being the “Spirit Guide” and everything-will-be-ok friend for the beautiful beings on the dance floor.
Hi-tech Chillout and the Hobbit Land Trap.
When there’s a chillout floor, you’d expect to go there and rest your body and mind. But this time, something went a little wrong with the twisted minds behind the console early Saturday morning. And when we arrived at the chillout, we were sucked into some Lord of the Rings Hobbit Land what-the-fuck-are-we-doing-here atmosphere.
It was magical, it was kinda cute. But the problem with Hobbit music was, you are under the spell of the DJ, and when he wants you to stay in Hobbit Land, you can never escape.
As long as the music goes on, I kept seeing Elijah Wood and his hairy feet appear in front of my face. Please, fucking hobbits, go return the ring, and stop trying to invite me for tea!
Forest Singing Bowl Pixie, with her quick thinking, struck the golden “Om” at the precise frequency that saved our souls from the menacing little people. “Come to Zen Garden instead, at least the people here are normal sized.” Yes.
When the hobbits finally gave up demanding our company, the Hi-tech started. Chillout, that’s right. The thing with Hi-tech is that once you overcome the insane BPMs, there’s a layer beneath it all that actually flows like a calm river. And well, that’s why I listen to Hi-tech for meditation sometimes.
And that finally lulled us to sleep, as the rain started falling gently over our heads, and our minds calmed to a nothingness.
True hippies give true love.
The most beautiful thing about this festival is the people. Because it’s so secret, and so secluded, only the most dedicated hippies would make the effort to attend this gathering. Zero hipsters, zero gym-crazy tattooed face dorks, zero heavy makeup drunk face mini skirt people.
It was pure love.
I felt completely at ease with everyone and at some point fantasised about an orgy with the entire festival. After all, it’s Love Forest isn’t it?
P.s. Jessica is alive and well. She hasn’t been talking much though. Thank you once again to the family of hippies and lovers and great friends. Till next time. Boom!