The Best European Psytrance Festivals
As regular readers of my blog (that’s you Mom) will know, I first got into Psytrance last year whilst Backpacking around Goa. It was like an epiphany, a religious conversion, a light on the road to Damascus. Where had this been all my life?
Goa feels like a distant memory now and the soundtrack of British nights out in my hometown is cheesy pop, bands who were big in the 90’s and the perpetual, lairy din of drunks. In short, I need my Psytrance fix now!
Well happily, summer is here which means its festival season. And Psytrance, being a genre that seems custom made for festivals, has loads of festivals dedicated to it all across Europe. Let’s take a look at some of the best European Psytrance Festivals of 2018.
1. Noisily Festival – Coney Woods, United Kingdom – 5th – 8th July
Of all the Psytrance festivals in Europe I’m staring with this one.
Sure, maybe I’m’ a little bit biased in putting a UK festival at the top of the list but then again Nosily Festival is very special indeed. The creedos of the Noisily Festival is that quality is more important than quantity and the gathering retains a rather intimate feel with only 4,000+ tickets for sale. It could be much bigger but it doesn’t want to be.
Set in a beautiful, tranquil forest glade, Nosily is a celebration of individuality and cohesion soundtracked by Tristan, Killerwatts & Avalon. As this is the UK, where Psytrance is still a niche genre, there are also Techno, House & D & B stages.
The only downside with Nosily is that at the end of the day it is a British festival and therefore the chances of rain are pretty high. Some people mind this more than others. For me, spending all weekend feeling damp and muddy is a buzz kill that even Psytrance psychedelics will struggle to mitigate.
You can still but Noisily tickets by going to their website.
2. Ozora – Dadsputza, Hungary – 30th July – 5th August
For some reason, Eastern Europe seems to live and breath Psytrance so much more than its richer, safer, stagnant Western sibling. As such, most of the festivals on this list take part in what was until recently, very repressive communist states where even long hair would have seen you on secret police watch lists!
Those days are gone though and Psytrance is thriving east of the Danube. Ozora Festival in Hungary is without a doubt, the pick of the Eastern bloc’s bunch and rivals Boom as the definitive Psytrance festival. The line-up this year is unrivaled and is pretty much a who’s who of the genre.
I attended Ozora last year and it was an awesome experience. However, it is now very popular which results in some minor overcrowding. Competition for good camping spots is fierce, shower queues can be long and you will not have more than 20m space all weekend no matter how far from the main stage you go.
The success of Ozora has also brought other problems and each year dubious characters descend on the festival with the intention of making a few Euro by any means possible. Beware fake drug dealers selling counterfeit products and using sleight of hands to screw you out of change. Also, every year countless tents and camper van’s are robbed so do not leave any valuables in them – use the lockers which can be hired for 1 euro per day.
Flights to Budapest are plentiful and affordable and Hungary has a cheap, reliable but sometimes slow, train and bus network that will take you the rest of the way.
Tickets are still on sale.
3. Boom – Idaha-a-Nova, Portugal – 22nd – 29th July
Portugals Boom Festival is as much as a way of life as it is a music festival and for 10 days every 2 years, thousands of new agers descend upon Idaho Lake to establish a temporary, earthly Shangri-la. As well as the music there are plenty of chill days (seriously, nobody can party for 10 days straight) as well as seminars and groups discussions about ethical and sustainable living.
Boom Festival is to be looked at as a movement as much as a festival and hopefully, once you leave you will take a part of it with you and manifest some positive change in your own life! The musical offerings have expanded from Psytrance and now encompasses World Music and live performances. This one sold out a while ago – try again in 2020!
4. Transylaliens – Sibiu, Romania -5th – 8th July
During a visit to Romania this summer (an awesome country which I wholly recommend) I was stunned and very impressed to learn that the under-rated Balkan country has 4 Psytrance festivals happening this summer which is pretty remarkable. The pick of the bunch for me is Transylaliens in the enchanted forests near beautiful Sibiu.
The province of Transylvania is amongst the most beautiful regions in Europe boating the mighty Carpathian mountains as well as gorgeous medieval old towns that come straight out of a fairy tale. For those of who like you Darkpsy, you may not be able to resist a visit to Bran Castle – the home of the real-life Dracula. The line up is solid including one of my personal favorites, Shivatree.
Romania is also a pretty cheap country to backpack and I advise hanging around to explore either after or before the festival. You can pick up great accommodation in Romania and I had a great Air B n B apartment in Cluj-Napoca which I picked up for $25 per night. You can sign up to Air B n B by clicking here and if you do, you get $35 off your first booking and I get a $20 kickback which enables me to keep on traveling and keep on blogging! Win/Win.
5. Master of Puppets – Nr Brno, Czech Republic – 25th June – 1st July
Master of Puppets takes place in Brno in the Czech Republic. As the name kind of indicates, the emphasis on here is on the Darker side of Psytrance so expect a lot of Dark Forest (fine with me!). This year is a 5th anniversary special and the festival has not been expanded to 7 days and features masters of the Dark/Forest genre Arjuna & Vector Void.
In my opinion, the Czech capital of Prague is best skipped during the summer months as the tourist overload is just way too much. Instead, consider accessing the festival by flying into Brno or Slovakia.
6. Elysium Island -Sremski Karlovci, Serbia – 18th July – 22nd July
Psytrance is massive in Serbia and by god do they do it well. Many of my favourite artists, notably Imaginarium, hail from the misunderstood county at the heart of the old Yugoslavia. The Serbian capital of Belgrade is party central and the cities of Nis and Novi Sad regularly stage summer parties inside medieval fortress where you can trance the night away amongst the most beautiful (but least friendly) women on earth!
Therefore, a full-blown Serbian Psytrance festival is something to behold and absolutely not to be missed. If you can’t make Elysium Island, then Way of life Festival takes place the same month (26 – 29th July). Serbia is also very affordable and I picked up an amazing Air B n B for $25 per night. You. Can sign up to Air B n B here and get $35 off your first stay (and I get a $20 kickback – hurray!).
This is possibly the coolest festival on the list.
7. Indian Spirit- Eldena, Germany – 30th August – 3rd September
Germany seems to have a one country mission to bring Psytrance to the EU and this summer there are about 10 festivals in the country fiercely challenging Germany’s reputation as being the straight man of Europe! Interestingly the majority of these are in the former East by the way…
Bookending the summer, is Indian Spirit in and you should head here to get your final festival-fix before Autumn creeps in. The line-up is very heavy weight (but not necessarily my favourite one) with performances by Psytrance legends Tristan, Ace Ventura, Astrix and Vini Vici.
8. Mo:Dem- Mjesto Primišljem, Croatia – 6th August – 12th August
Croatia’s Modem is fast emerging as a rival to Boom and Ozora as one of Europe’s leading Psytrance festivals. The Psytrance offerings take place on The Hive Stage and the emphasis is on the dark side of the genre. Dark Forest masters Arjuna, Confo, and Giuessepe are putting appearances in.
9. Psy Fi Festival – Netherlands – 15th August -19th August
Psy Fi Festival bills itself as a Shamanic Rite set on the Dutch coast. Because Psy Fi takes place in the Uber-liberal Netherlands, the good news is that cannabis and magic truffles are readily available! The line up is great featuring Ajja, Liquid Soul, Shpongle and Megalopsy.
Hadra Trance Festival – France – 06.09.2018 – 09.09.2018 – France / Association du plan d’eau de Vieure
By September, the Northern parts of Europe will be feeling the creeping chill of autumn’s melancholy. Thankfully, Hadra takes place in the South of France where summer has at least one more month of life in it.
Psytrance is also huge in France as I noticed when I found myself surrounded by Galls at Ozora. This festival is France’s best with performances from Laughing Buddha and Spirit Architect (the only festival he seems to be doing this summer) who both have morning sets. Onkel Donkel also has a dark hours set when he will unleash the forces of darkness over the trance floor.
So that’s your summer sorted. By the time the night’s drawback in, the mornings cool and the leaves begin falling it will almost be time to head back to Goa for 3 months of nightly Psytrance. Recipe for a happy life right?
Full List of European Psytrance Festivals in 2018
BioRitme Festival – Spain –
23.08.2018 – 27.08.2018 –
Spain / Vilanova de Sau
New Horizons Festival – Germany-
24.08.2018 – 26.08.2018 –
Germany / Nürburgring
Genesis Project – Daytime Festival 2018 – Sweden
25.08.2018 – 26.08.2018
Sweden / Göteborg
Magic Castle 2018 – Switzerland
25.08.2018 – 26.08.2018
Switzerland / Castello di Mesocco
Gaggalacka Festival 2018 – Germany
30.08.2018 – 02.09.2018
Germany / Mondsee
Insomnia Electronic Music Festival 2018 – Portugal
31.08.2018 – 02.09.2018
Portugal / 3400 São Gião
Sound Engineers Festival 2018 – Turkey
01.09.2018 – 05.09.2018
Turkey / Istanbul
Connection Festival – Spain
04.09.2018 – 11.09.2018
Spain / Piscinas Naturales del Río Gévora
Sacred Aeon Festival 2018 – Turkey
04.09.2018 – 04.09.2018
Turkey / Antalya
Skogtroll 2018 – Norway
05.09.2018 – 09.09.2018
Norway / Trondheim
Earthquake Open Air Gathering – Germany
06.09.2018 – 09.09.2018
Germany / near Karstädt
Back to Nature Festival 2018 – Turkey
19.09.2018 – 25.09.2018
Turkey / Çamlıköy Tabiat Parkı
The Psychedelic Way – “Festival for life” – Italy
20.09.2018 – 23.09.2018
Italy / North Italy
Świt Gathering 2018 – Poland
29.09.2018 – 30.09.2018
Poland / Warszawa
World Trance Festival – France
31.10.2018 – 01.11.2018
France / Avignon
See you on the trance floor!