Psytrance Festival in China
“Come on – be part of the dreamland Shalanaya!” With this sentence the organizer attracts the visitors and I immediately know: “I want to go there!”
It is September 24, 2018 and a special festival is being celebrated in China. The moon festival. It is a Thanksgiving Day and the second most important after the Chinese New Year. For the Chinese, the moon festival means one thing above all: family reunion and harmony. It is against this background that the Open Air Festival was born seven years ago: Shalanaya, the Psytrance Festival in China. Love and harmony are in the foreground and psytrance music should create a very special mood.
What is psytrance?
Psytrance, short for psychedelic trance, also called goa or hip trance, is a direction of electronic music and represents a subgenre of trance music. Psychedelic hypnotic sounds, with 130 to 160 beats per minute, are said to stimulate the neurological effects after LSD consumption can be simulated.
Where does the Shalanaya Psytrance festival takes place?
The festival takes place in a park near the water town of Zhujiajiao, which is about an hour’s drive from Shanghai. My two friends Joe and Brad from the USA choose us for the train. We are impressed by the view and can hardly believe that the whole area still belongs to Shanghai on the way to the water city. Arrived in Zhujiajiao we stow our bags in a hostel in the Chinese traditional style. We could also have camped on the festival site. Tents can be rented there for about 5 euros a night.
We take the last few meters by taxi, because the festival site is about 15 minutes by car outside the city. The taxi driver is a bit confused when he is supposed to leave the main road and turn into a small weed overgrown. It is already dark and I am glad that I am not alone in the taxi. We walk the last few meters. In the middle of nowhere, we lose orientation and simply follow the beats that come from afar.
Music and other art
We finally reach the entrance to Dreamland. “Hello Shalanaya!”
we say in the choir and enter another star. On the main site https://shalanaya.org/ we are spellbound by dancing fire-breathers who are accompanied by the rhythm of the drums of Moroccan musicians. They dance elegantly with fire. The main stage is further back. The boxes spray the electrifying tones of psytrance into the vast sky.
Clear sky and fresh air
It is warm even though it is autumn, the sky is clear and the air is fresh. The star of the evening shines in the distance. A big, full moon. Like the moth attracted to the light, I go to the main stage and embark on the psytrance music adventure and I dance in a colorful mix from all nations. Chinese, Europeans, Americans, Russians. Some of them live in China, others came to celebrate here. We all dance together in this mystical atmosphere and share the joy of music and existence.
Whether on the main stage or in one of the tents where you can refresh yourself with delicious drinks, the atmosphere is friendly and open in every area of the site. In addition to drinks, there are also delicious vegetarian dishes, fresh fruit and cakes. Everything selfmade. And by the way, you get to talk to people from all over the world all the time.
Freedom is the number one topic of conversation
Like for example with Juri from the Czech Republic. We’re talking about freedom and burn out syndrome. It was completely overworked for several years until he decided that there are more important things than work and money. He looks fancy with his hat and glasses. In the middle of the conversation, he looks down at himself and realizes that he is barefoot. “I think I’ll go find my shoes,” he says and laughs. I will hear this sentence more often in the next few days. From different people. I go back to the dance floor.
Dancing until sunrise
“Everyone who comes is part of the Shalanaya family and is loved and respected,” is the motto. And that’s exactly how I feel. Suddenly a small petite Chinese girl stands next to me. As if from another world, it seems, she suddenly appears next to us and hands us a pomegranate with a smile. I eat a piece and notice how sweet and fruity it tastes. Our planet is wonderful.
“Sooner or later the right shoes will come to you.”
I dance in the sunrise and suddenly Juri is standing next to me again. “Guess!” He says. He is now wearing shoes, but his hat is gone. “I lost my hat!” And I say: “And your glasses too!” After all, he now has shoes. Whoever they belong to.
And that doesn’t matter at all, because together we understand the meaning of this experience: “Sooner or later the right shoes will come to you.”
“Chill the base”
Chillout zones with a relaxed atmosphere
I’m going to one of the chill out zones. Even on the third day of the festival, there are no signs of negative vibrations, as they say here.
Everyone is sitting together at a table, listening to music, singing, dancing and, above all, doing one thing in particular: laughter! Some grab the Hulla Hub tires that are scattered all over the site. You let your child out. I wonder how long ago it was that I played with a Hulla hoop and I grab one too. It is fun!
We can be children and free! This is what this festival tells us on every corner of this wonderful terrain and at every moment. I am happy to be here and I never want to leave. And together we sing: “Shalanalalalanayalaya!”
Back to reality
Leaving Shalanaya – the Psytrance Festival in China
I`d wish, I could have stayed!
Shalanaya, the Psytrance Festival in China, is coming to an end. Nobody really wants to leave the site. Reality, what is it actually?
The seventh Shalanaya Festival was once again a complete success. I ask the organizer whether there will be an eighth next summer. He was part of the party himself and answered with shining eyes: “But definitely! I just hope that a lot more people will come. You cannot imagine how much work is involved in all these preparations. But Shalanaya is worth it! “
Shalanaya – I will miss you
And he’s right. Shalanaya is like an island in the middle of nowhere in a country whose rapid economic growth seems to overrun everything.
It offers the unique opportunity to enjoy a piece of nature and freedom and to slow down the pace of everyday life. An island that makes you feel that no matter where in the world, all people really only want one thing: freedom, love and peace. “Shalanaya – you dreamland!” I sigh. And with a heavy heart I step on the threshold of the exit to return – in the madness of everyday life.
Shalanaya, the Psytrance Festival in China, was an unforgettable experience, that not only showed me the beauty of trance music, but also the beauty of life, peace and freedom.