Hungary 1999… The first edition of Solipse, missed due to being “musically challenged” at the time, was only known through second hand reports. A lot can happen in a few years… Tastes develop, including music, so Sepultura was traded for Kox Box and the likes, and Dynamo Open Air for Solipse. Regrets ? Read on, I’m sure you can derive you own conclusions 😉
It’s quite a trip (no pun intended) to get to Chisamba, the place to be from 15th to 25th of June. In any case, after plenty of flying, we got at Lusaka. Astonished by the fact that my fellow traveller had to pay lots more for his tourist visum just for being British (some could argue that’s reason enough), we got a minibus that drove us to the festival site. As it took a while – plus the fact that we were not geographically adapted – so it was well after dark and we still had to set up everything ! And that mozzie net didn’t really help either… But sure enough, all was ready soon well within the appropriate limits, which was hailed by a welcome spliff and a good night’s sleep. In all our clothes. Because “a bit chilly”, as the website stated, in our diaries is well above the frosty cold that cloudless nights can bring. No wonder the Zanbians complained they ‘d never before had such a cold winter ! [First mental note : buy a better sleeping bag]
YAAAAAAHWN ! Good morning Zambia ! Still more than a day before the music starts… The first Sunday was unanimously chosen as “calm before the storm”. A bit of wandering around on the site learned that we wouldn’t starve, had an assortment of toilets to choose from should a lesser species stimulate our bowel movements, that the local currency has a funny name, that the local beer is close to good, and that all of it breathes an air of pure space. Local security was in the hands of friendly Zambians, who were keen to know where (the hell!) we all came from. Just about from anywhere. [fast forward:] Like this girl, Melissa, who asked me, wearing a Sepultura T-shirt (hey! vintage!), were I came from. She was pleased to hear that they made it to Belgium. She being Brazilian, it figured. Another friendly face that’s become familiar ! [rewind].
And then the first moment we all waited for : the beginning of the music. But not before we were welcomed by the Zambian Minister of Something (politicians, who keeps track of names?), accompanied by a chorus or cheerleaders, who made it clear we should return and visit Zambia properly [mental note two : they were on to us rave bunnies!]. And then the music started… We’d already met Michael and his wife Tsunato (if I heard correctly, and the spelling can be dodgy), and he was keen on hearing Stella Nutella and George Barker, arguing that if you can pull it off with a name like that, you have to be good ! Well, another 12 hours and we could all enjoy her set. Which meant loads of dancing, plenty of space for it in front of the stage or elsewhere. Did we dance ! More than once I was in tears dancing in the morning, when chilly bones got warmed by the early sun, and realization that this was indeed the real life seeped in. Western luxuries and/or petty problems all seemed irrelevant, as long as there’s Nature, music, and dancing people, all the rest is not even interesting. [Mind to Self : you fucking hippie ! You promised not to return as one – BOINK (head-to-wall collision – Self : that’s better] After hours of decent tunes, I met Michael again for Stella Nutella’s set. We both agreed that she fully deserved to be here, and later on she was bouncing along on the dancefloor afterwards. How could you not, hearing Mixmaster Morris ? Those 4 hours before the end of the first dancathon completely used up all of the resources that were left bodywise, but oh my they were put to excellent use ! Followed by wandering around, killing time before the next set at 8PM begins. Basically stuffing oneself, trying this and that…
…until we were ready for the next boogie. . Is that you? No hmmmmm apparently not, Sorry! Smiles… Got the munchies, better catch a banana or whatever – One crepe with chocolate paste (Nutella – * grmble *) and coconut thingamies please ! What would Trala Lama think of this ? I mean, here I am, in the middle of nowhere, bouncing happily along with complete strangers yet cannily familiar, having visions that all this is a governmental experiment [the sub-subconscious would like to state at this point that yours truly, i.e. author of this poor attempt to convey with words the inutterable joy, happiness, spaced mindsets, humility at Nature’s grandeur, and other previously unexplored emotions, that this person, has read too much conspiration-theory-laden novels and seen and read too much SF, so please put away the straight-jacketsm, he’s a fairly nice bloke] where the ultimate frequency is sought that turns humans into mush-room enough to hide the bodies… Ridiculousness has just turned a page… Scary part: we actually like the idea… Oh hi! Pardon me! Hmmmm nice tune this one… And up and down and up and down, interlaced with diagonal patterns and specks of gold and neon… Hehehehe quite enjoyable this festival ! Whiieeeeeee ! Hey Michael, doing your morning gym ? Yep, Tristan sure plays a decent collection of tunes… (Where is my tent again ? Have I been there since like two days ago ?)
Well, still filling some gaps (I lost a filling there, so my dentist can confirm ;p) here and there, but I do remember that Alex Patterson goddamn rocked the place ! Amazing how my mates and me where flying during this mastering of a crowd. You had to be there, honestly… Words simply fail. Which is exactly, to a greater degree, what happens when describing the awe and humility, the excitement and intense inner rest one feels when the Total Eclipse hangs above your heads, that big black disc surrounded by a golden halo, you, small being, standing in the African savannah, as yet unspoilt, inhabited by the friendliest people… Imagine the birthday this Michael must have had (what are the odds!), sharing a sacred moment with his wife and friends… Try to reach deep down, when you where last emotionally stirred in a way that let a pearl form in the corner of your eye, and think how we, as simple by-standers, witnessed Sarah asking Glenn to marry her when the diamond ring appeared. Nothing can obliterate a glorious moment like that… And fair play it was as well ! Recognizing the fact that that moment was way (WAY) way too intense, she needn’t hear his answer right away, the day after was time enough. While Glenn was kind enough to relieve Sarah, having only needed three minutes to make up his mind… Needless to say all of us where high in the skies afterwards… Which is the reason why we were kind of expecting some realy stompin’ psytrance after the eclipse, and were a bit put off by the slower Former Orb Jam. But there was Atmos then, and Olli Wisdom, and Franke and KoxBox … Who did the job of shutting us up and liquifying us quite nicely and this is no governmental experiment after all… bass thumps are used to graft secret messages on our skeleton… Could be the government though, or some secret Wise Men [Deus Ex again… it was rather addictive] trying to better the world and who better to start off with than this assorted lot of neon-fluoro-hippies, they sure wouldn’t mind would they? Or maybe this music is truly alien, and they’re trying to get a message through… better pay attention before we’re all mush hehe. Better go to sleezzzzzzzz….
…zzzzz Woo-hoo another sunny day ! Shame we have to think of leaving allready, missing out on Anti and Logic Bomb… But then again, drank more tunes than ever before so no complaints here… Saturday was chill, more reggae-ish, so we could chill a bit before making preparations to get home [yet another mental note: this is such a relative term…]. We wanted to make sure we got to the airport before dark and as the plane was scheduled at 2AM (sad time innit), plus the fact that we learned to take our time for everything, we couldn’t stay longer. So instead of enjoying the beginning of the next marathon session, we played pool in Lusaka, did a nap, and flew off.
Regrets ? Yes. THAT WE DIDN’T STAY LONGER ! Other than that…
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