Backyard Sessions 2017 – The rave you could bring your Mama to

By Kai Teo
Photos: Cecilia Karlsson and Ariel Banasiak

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Raving has always been considered a dirty word in my family. Instead of telling my mom I’m going to a rave, I’d usually use a combination of words that include “forest”, “camping”, “professional musicians”, and “performances”. Even dancing the whole evening sounds a little excessive to them. They’d very quickly assume I’m gonna take copious amounts of ecstasy, cocaine, mix them all up with a cocktail of prescription pills, and take part in a mass orgy while bathing in goat’s blood or glitter or something equally unfamiliar to them. 

No bullshit at Backyard Sessions.

No bullshit at Backyard Sessions.

I can’t blame them. That’s because our raves have long had a reputation of being just that, maybe not the orgy part (I haven’t been to one THAT exciting yet). Many big mainstream festivals have managed to gather large numbers of drunk or high people tumbling around blabbering about how drunk or high they are. There have been numerous reports of people being molested or even raped, even more fighting over nothing and all the other bullshit. 

“But hey, the festivals that I go to are not like that!” Yea, I’ve been to a few amazing ones too. But mama doesn’t really know the difference, does she? 

So that’s when a bunch of good people in Malmö decided to come together to redefine raving. And they call this new definition – Backyard Sessions. 

Disclaimer: actual festival experience might vary.

Disclaimer: actual festival experience might vary.

No more dodgy member sign ups and last-minute location reveals and stuff. This overhaul of the local rave scene takes place right in the middle of Malmö’s Folkets Park, and the two-day affair starts at noon and ends at 9 in the evening, so you don’t need five lines of speed to last through the whole night. 

Of course, you can’t bring your own carton of beer or your own box of wine, which, not surprisingly, makes people a lot more well behaved. And somehow, the outsourced bartenders (from a nearby local bar and not really the responsibility of the organisers) might have been trained in the art of unfriendly customer service to deter our happy festival folks from buying anything from them. Or maybe their pet snake died, which would be understandable, because everyone has a story and just because they weren’t nice that weekend doesn’t mean that they’re not nice people.

The Backyard Stage boasts of one of the biggest lineups in Sweden.

The Backyard Stage boasts of one of the biggest lineups in Sweden.

Drug use at Backyard Sessions is almost unheard of, and even if there is, our psychologically altered ravers are somehow still able to walk straight, be polite, smile at strangers, and shut the fuck up about their drug use. Thank you.

Psychedelic minigolf palace!

Psychedelic minigolf palace!

What started out as a Sunday afternoon party under a tent has upsized to an XL edition this year. The extra large but still fucking cosy festival area treats your senses with two wonderfully decorated stages featuring a world-class artiste lineup, food trucks serving up super yummy food (fries that cost only 15 kr), stalls from local designers and producers, a bar, bouncy castles, a minigolf palace thingy, and even a boule pit – so mama doesn’t have to be on the dance floor all the time.

But the most beautiful thing about this festival is the colourful mix of people from all different subcultures. You’d see grandma twirling around with her sundress to the heavy thumps of Simina Grigoriu, Ralph Lauren Polo Tee boys shaking uncontrollably to the galloping Psytrance triplets of Flowjob, and little toddlers trying their first dance moves at the festive bounce of Tensnake. We’re doing a little namedropping here, but these are huge international names that deserve loads of ass kissing. 

At one point during the Iboga crew’s psytrance set, I noticed that there were zero hippies with dreadlocks on the dance floor. Zero. That is a revolution. Step by step, we’re taking what we’ve held so dearly as our niche subculture and introducing the love and peace and crystal healing to the masses. We’d know we’ve infiltrated the society the next time you walk into a bank and see an “Om” tattoo on the neck of the person behind the counter. 

No dreadlocked hippies were spotted during this psytrance set at the Garden Stage.

No dreadlocked hippies were spotted during this psytrance set at the Garden Stage.

And this is what Backyard Sessions is about. Changing the face of raving, turning it into a fun day in the park for the whole family – something wholesome, something shareable, something mama would enjoy. 

It’s a long long way to go before we’d all be dropping acid at our family dinner (if that thought made you feel uncomfortable, it’s probably because our society is still stuck in the outdated dark ages that perceive all illegal substances as bad but 4 bottles of wine is fine). 

ANNA closing the outdoor session of Day One.

ANNA closing the outdoor session of Day One.

But Backyard Sessions, to us, is the first step to building a society that is based on understanding, inclusivity, and love. By bringing techno to your picnic in the park, they are creating giant ripples in the archaic system we still live in, and bringing the festival life to our everyday lives, and our mamas’ lives.

Buddha Mag sends our love and respect to the organisers, the crew, the artistes, and everyone else who has helped made this such a revolutionary festival. We’re already looking forward to BYS 2018 XXXL.


Some artistes that blew our minds (click to listen to them on Soundcloud):


See the full lineup at Backyard Sessions' Facebook Page
And while you're on Facebook seeing what your high school ex ate for lunch, give Buddha Mag a like too!