I almost didn’t go to Dreamstate in San Bernardino this year. The cost of flying during one of the busiest, most expensive times of the year in the US and booking a hotel cast doubt on my ability to afford the trip. Nor I was certain I would have anyone to watch my two girls over the course of two days so I resigned myself to traveling to Mexico City for Dreamstate the following weekend. The ticket, flight, and accommodations were all considerably cheaper than what I would have paid to go to Dreamstate Socal. Plus, Bryan Kearney was on the lineup so while I couldn’t enjoy two straight days of trance, I thought I might have the time of my life in a country I had never visited before. But as fate would have it, my mother made herself available to watch my daughters and with that, I was back to planning my escape to trance heaven in Southern California. I canceled my flight to Mexico City and applied those funds to my flight out to Ontario, bringing down the expense of flying and enabling me to plot my second pilgrimage to the ultimate trance destination in the States. I can’t even begin to describe the joy I felt at learning that I could return to the place I left my heart.
So how was it you ask?
How was it that for a second year, a trance festival could take place and draw thousands to Southern California?
How was it that some of the biggest names in trance could converge at the NOS over not one, but four stages?
How was it that I felt exactly where I needed to be, among the most beautiful souls on the planet?
This year the festival grounds were transformed into a neon light spectacle with bright, glowing trees of different colors but the greatest light was that shining from within the dreamers who walked about. There were all manners of people of different nationalities and persuasions. I decided to become a unicorn for the first night, donning a wig that looked like a unicorn threw up. For one night, I wanted to be magical because I felt I was going to a magical place and that assumption was proven true!
My friend and I made it to the event on Day 1 in time to see Neptune Project who were scheduled on the Timeless Stage. I noticed something was off right away: the sound. The Timeless stage was in a small tent across from the Citrus building where The Sequence was. It was a nice little set up, with vendor tents to the left and some benches for you to sit on, but I couldn’t get into their set as much as I would have liked because something appeared off about the sound, even when I stepped inside the tent. The set itself was wonderful, but eventually I would wander off to go see Stadium4. I love Lange and Andy Moor individually. Together they did not disappoint. Later I would hear from others that they thought Stadium4 was kind of all over the place, but I enjoyed the flow.
After Stadium4 we skipped over to see RITMO, one of the artists I absolutely had to see. I discovered him earlier this year and he was a main factor in my decision to go to Dreamstate, along with Menno de Jong, but we will get to my Dutch crush later. RITMO’s set was powerful and unrelenting!!
It was tough choosing between the rest of the acts for the night. Squeezing more talent in the night with four stages is a grand idea in theory, but for the trance lover it’s the ultimate dilemma. I ended up splitting my time between the Timeless, Sequence, and Vision stages. As much as I wanted to enjoy the Thrillseekers and Binary Finary, I couldn’t due to the sound but I stayed for a good portion of their sets because the music was just too perfect to abandon those time slots. The production was pretty scaled down for the Timeless stage, which wasn’t too big of a deal, but I felt the legends they put in the Timeless tent deserved a grander stage and much better sound.
The sound was much better on Day 2 in the Timeless tent and whatever issues were present the first night were fixed. I arrived after 7:00 pm on Day 2 so I sadly missed Richard Durand but I did make it in time for Talla 2xLC, who has been around since the 80s. His set was passionate, emotional, and locked me in place. The guy even came down from the decks to shake hands and say hello to us all, which was so special. Dreamstate is a place where artists and fans mix, before, during, and after the event. It’s a place where you can turn to the person next to you, smile, and feel what the other person is feeling without saying a word.
I stayed for a little over an hour at Talla 2xlc and then went to see MaRLo, but found myself back at Talla 2xlc for the finish. Immediately afterwards I jetted over to Menno de Jong, the man I had been looking forward to for months and months. He was unbelievable and also very tall. The man really is a giant, a trance giant at that. The next hour was one of the harder ones to make a decision on, for I was faced with missing Paul Van Dyk, John Askew, and Alpha Portal in favor of M.I.K.E. Push. The Sequence remained packed throughout the second night of Dreamstate, to the point they had to keep people out at several points in the night. When I saw that it was still filled to the gills around the time I wanted to check out Alpha Portal, that left a choice between Paul Van Dyk, John Askew, and M.I.K.E. Push. I stayed for a little bit of Paul Van Dyk’s set, to honor him after what has been such a crazy year for him, what with the fall and his miraculous recovery. I couldn’t miss M.I.K.E. Push, a trance idol, and he didn’t let me down!! He got on the mic a few times, but that didn’t bother me. As long as the music is good, a little crowd interaction is okay with me. By 1:00 am, I was exhausted but managed to drag myself over to see Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella before my body gave out and I headed home. I was treated to music on my walk, however, and so I got to hear a decent amount of Simon Patterson on my way out.
Dreamstate’s first year was very intimate and while there were more people at the NOS, it still felt like I was part of a close knit family. The food options were also pretty good. I tried a kimchi quesadilla and spicy pork tacos from the Kogi food truck. It was pricey, but good. It gave me the energy I needed to keep dancing. I was also pleased to see that there were actual bathrooms that I could use. I wish I had known this when I came into the festival day 1 because I used a porta potty and instantly regretted stepping in, but I had to pee and I didn’t want to chance stepping into anything worse inside the festival. The restroom available for everyone to use was tended to throughout the night, allowing for a comfortable, clean bathroom experience. To a woman, a good bathroom is everything at a festival.
More incredible than restrooms that stayed relatively free of body fluids on the floor, were the lights and lazers. The Dream stage was particularly fascinating. At points I felt like aliens were descending down, with lights flooding down and zipping all around the venue. Paper streamers were released and covered the crowd in yellow paper tentacles at The Vision. It took a bit of work to unwrap and unravel from all of it, but I walked away with a colorful hair accessory so no complaints from me. One of the moments that stands out in my mind is when the crowd parted so a person that was in a wheelchair could come to the front. The person in the wheelchair was immobile, but here he was, making his way to the front to hear trance. I started to cry. That is the power of trance. It compels you to face the odds. Hell, it enables you to forget your odds and heal the spirit, which can’t be contained at an event that allows the real you to transcend.
I’m so happy I was able to experience this wonderful event for a second year in a row. Trancefamily came out in full force. I was changed, once again, by two wonderful nights of friends, family, and the most energizing music on Earth. Dreamstate, I will miss you. Till we all meet again, trancefamily.
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