Desert Dance – Welcome to the Psytrance Festival of the Middle East

By: Clumsy Hermit, Jerusalem
Edited by: Kai Teo
Pictures: Clumsy Hermit

Photo courtesy: Clumsy Hermit

The Middle East – a land plagued by the suffocating, xenophobic propaganda of the West – is more than what the media portrays (oh, surprise, surprise). And it is here, that our tribe of Rainbow Warriors also dwell. And they’re having a festival, a Psytrance festival.

Welcome to Desert Dance. This year, on the 21–24 April, is the fifth time they’ve gathered in a celebration of oneness, music, and dance in South Sinai, Egypt. They’ve managed to keep it small and intimate though, because as much as the message of love and music is true, not many in the region have been exposed to it, just like the rest of the world.

The big dune beach in Sinai, cooled by the soothing waves of the Red Sea, is the perfect location for a neutral gathering of fans of psychedelic trance, devoid of the separation caused by religion, borders, visas, and other weird shit. Basically, anyone from the region could get a visa to be here, as it is an area that is opened to tourism.

We’ve written about how the love for Psytrance and psychedelics has helped broken down the walls between Israelis and Palestinians, and today, we’re extremely proud to say that Desert Dance has gathered over 150 lovers and friends from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Israel and Europe.

Photo courtesy: Clumsy Hermit

The décor teams from the UK (Pan Gaia) and Germany (Fluoronauten) injected their talents to create a safe space of psychedelic indulgence for our psychonauts. Powered only by pure love and their earnest support, they paid for their own flights and transport. Because they knew they had an important cause to support – our cause of unity.

Amidst ISIS terror attack warnings from the authorities, and the rife fear mongering, our Middle East ravers have set aside their differences and come together to stomp to the same beat of the galloping unicorn.

Of course, the fight for truth and love doesn’t come without its struggles. In Saudi Arabia, one DJ told us how he was jailed by the religion police after he was arrested for organising an event in the desert on the outskirts of Riyadh. He was accused for devil worshiping. Apparently, there was too much acceptance towards others, and too much dance.

Such common stories are often heard from other Arab countries in the gulf, Jordan and even mainland Egypt. Palestinian ravers often have to suffer from the rough hand of the Israeli police or the army, who continuously deny them permits to enter the country just to simply, dance.

Photo courtesy: Clumsy Hermit

But there’s no such bullshit in Sinai. Having received permission for the Desert Dance, only one sleepy Egyptian officer was indifferently securing the grounds, even to the sight of passing spliffs. This lenient attitude, compared to everywhere else in Egypt, could be seen as a dire need to attract visitors that would populate the empty beaches of Sinai.

So now you have it, 2 million decibels of first-class Psytrance blasting out from Funktion One speakers (let’s not even talk about how fucked up it was to try getting them across the borders). In these otherwise oppressed and repressed cultures, this is the ultimate expression of our freedom – our freedom to dance freely under the same sky.

For these few short days, they were free. They were one. And they understood that there was more that bound us together, than all the manmade differences that made us hate one another.

Photo courtesy: Clumsy Hermit

And as the ravers returned home, they went home to corrupt dictatorships, oppressive religious morals and military occupation. But once their eyes have been opened to the true cause of our humanity, once they have understood the true meaning of unity, once they have felt that true love is boundless, there is no stopping them.

Everyday in their lives, they will live strong as Rainbow Warriors. And everyday, in every little corner of the world, we salute them, and give them all the love and support that will keep this message strong.     

Photo courtesy: Clumsy Hermit

Thank you Desert Dance. You know you are needed. And we know that one day, when all children of the universe dance together under the same stars, you have been one of the crucial game changers in our world. 


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