UPDATE: The ‘Magic M’ tape, apparently recorded at this event, turns out not to be anything of the sort- it’s a Sven Vath tape! Sorry about that!
Another party I missed out on, but sounds like it was a cracker. Amino Clang, who wrote this, is a dear old friend and fellow veteran of many amazing nights (including the 1992 Happy Daze Free Festival). I think this experience affected him so deeply it made him build his own bowel-shakingly loud soundsystem 🙂
Incidentally if anyone can help out with exact dates that would be great. Enjoy the read!
The first time I heard of a festi (that’s what Teknivals were called before they added the “TEK” bit), the first time I heard of Spiral Tribe and the first time I took acid are all intertwined in the same dreamy weekend – Happy Daze Free Festi in Bala and I still can’t work out if it was 1990 or ’91, but what a weekend!
“Have you heard? The festi has come to Bala this weekend. It’s only down the road, are you comin’?” He asked.
“What’s a festi?” I answered. I was only 15 but I had been a stoner and a mushroom tripper for a while already and I wanted to know more. Anything to do with a festival had to be better than dossing about in my dead-end backwater of a home town for the night… again!
I decided that the best way to find out would be to go and check it out so that night (the Friday I think) I got a lift down there in my mate’s dad’s ancient Landy. When we got there we turned into the dusty field (it was summer) past a single police car with a couple of pissed off looking coppers in it and drove onto the site.
As soon as we were past the “Police Blockade” my mate got up on the roof of the Landy to check out the territory and we drove through a couple of fields of sensible looking vehicles painted in the full spectrum of the psychedelic rainbow, other (less sensible) vehicles, marquees, strung-up tarps, funky backdrops and loads of people – traveller types, raver types, local farmer types, everybody, all ages, all colours (mainly due to the dust!) and all classes just chilling out together and enjoying the evening sun.
We hadn’t been there long before another mate offered me half a “Double-Dipped Purple Ohm” and before long I was coming up and asking for the other half ; )
I spent most of the night on top of the Landy (we had put a mattress on the roof) laughing hysterically listening to the sounds of the festi come at me from all directions (all kinds of music, each coming from a different direction, all combining together to make a beautiful noise before separating out again to be a full surround sound experience) and watching the technicolour night sky go wild before my eyes (acid can do that to you sometimes!)
There are a couple of things that have ingrained themselves in my head, but almost my entire memory of that night is just laughing uncontrollably on top of that Landy.
1. I remember going for a walk about the festi (still giggling uncontrollably) and seeing a fully hippified crusty type sitting cross-legged in a little makeshift tent with a sign advertising “Hash for Cash”. I think we stopped to buy some, but couldn’t really be sure!
2. I remember LOTS of people shouting “Hash for cash”, “acid”, “ecstasy”, “whiz”, etc, etc, etc, but mainly just “Hash for Cash”. Except there was this one couple of geezers walking about shouting “Acid… to my wife the other day…”. I guess they were trying to be discreet. Not surprisingly that just made me laugh some more.
3. I remember one guy trying to stop me from laughing and saying that he would give me a spliff if I could stop laughing for 30 seconds. I struggled, but despite his attempts to scupper me I managed it… and then the fucker backed out of his side of the deal, so I guess I just carried on giggling.
4. I remember one of my friends trying to skin up, but finding it difficult because the tobacco was wriggling about like worms and wouldn’t “Just stay still long enough for me to skin up… pleeeaase?” (more laughter!!)
Eventually the driver was saying that we had to leave because he had to get back so I got back in the Landy and we started to head off. I guess I must have had my head down just listening to the festi go on around me again before we left, but that sound just would not leave me alone. We got dropped back in town and started the walk back to my house (still fully tripping and still hearing the festi like it was right there around me – “Acid… to my wife!” HA HA HA HA, “Acid, Hash for Cash, Ecstacy, you name it we got it!”, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam). Eventually we got home (still hearing the festi) and made it up to my room (still hearing the festi) and got into bed (still hearing the festi). Trying to get to sleep was quite an experience I can tell you, what with that fuckin’ noise going on! However, I think I did experience all of creation from the perspective of both an electron and a universe simultaneously, so every cloud…!
The next day I was still on another planet for most of the day trying to make sense of my mental experience, but eventually I went home and got some sleep.
The next day again (Sunday I guess) I had heard that my brother had been spotted at the festi (he and some mates had come down from Sheffield where he was at Uni) so I thought I would try to get back down there to see him. He was not there, but Spiral Tribe were.
There I was, standing in front of the Spiral Sound System hearing these driving beats come out of the speakers, watching the world go by when somebody walked past selling mushies (I had done these before and knew I liked them) so I bought some, ate some and started to come up (here we go again!).
No adventures into “The Pit of Eternal Laughter” tonight, but I did spend a long time watching the sounds pour out of the speakers, just standing there in a state of complete amazement dying to go up and ask if they had a tape of this amazing music that I could have, but never quite getting it together. It was like some kind of marching beat, but with a really heavy kick to it, so heavy that the ground was literally shaking. The system was so loud that I thought I had to move closer a little bit at a time to let my ears adjust while I was dancing (ah the naivety of youth! I have seen much bigger rigs since then and I generally walk straight up to the front to check it out properly).
It wasn’t just a relentless hard techno sound though – there were plenty of wishy-washy bleepy trippy techy sounds fluttering about above the system too. An altogether driving, up-beat, tranced out, hypnotic sound that just didn’t let up but never made you feel unwelcome. My only regret was that I didn’t find this on the Friday.I love techno and always will and this was my first introduction to a sound that has captivated me ever since.
TECHNO, TEKNO, TECHNO, TEKNO, TECHNO, TEKNO, TECHNO, TEKNO, Hardcore will never die… etc.
Ah, Happy Daze!