OpenMind is a new North American festival, now entering its second year of operation. I missed the inaugural event due to my commitments at Shambhala in 2010 but heard plenty of good things when I returned from my summer travels. Since the Eclipse festival team took the year off OpenMind is looking to be the big trance festival of the season here in eastern Canada. This year, OpenMind is being held for the entire week spanning August 9th to 16th at Whispering Pines Campground, somewhere between Montreal and Ottawa, roughly a five hour drive from Toronto.
So what makes OpenMind different? Although I am mostly basing my impressions on the promotional material I’ve seen, it feels like more of a west coast festival than we are used to finding out east. Whereas Eclipse focused on providing world-class stage design and musical talent, OpenMind appears to be taking more of a “holistic” approach to festival design, opting for two relatively modest stages and more emphasis on workshops, yoga, visionary artwork, film screenings, healing services, and so on. Considerable effort has also been sunk into environmental concerns, as can be seen in their rather extensive sustainability plan. This is not to say that the music won’t be excellent. Au contraire, the the line-up features some excellent acts including international headliners Seb Taylor (performing as Kaya Project and Hibernation as well as playing a special Shakta retro Goa set) and Irina Mikhailova as well as Canadian heroes Ekoplex and Ben Rama, both of whom have excellent releases out on Ektoplazm, and newcomers Psilocybernetics. I am particularly interested in hearing Rikam (Tech Safari/Eclipse Festival) this year as he is scheduled to be playing a classic psytrance set.
I am very happy to be scheduled for two long sets on the main stage at OpenMind. Both time slots are just shy of three hours, a good amount of time to tell a tale, and both span the midnight hour. Midnight is a transitional time when the task of the creatively-minded DJ is to bridge the gap between different moods and lead the journey into the colourful darkness of night. On Saturday I will be playing after Kaya Project and just before a night-time psychedelic DJ. This calls for movement from tribal breakbeat realms into playful organic progressive (what I have been calling Zenonesque recently) and onward through the majestic beauty of proper night-time forest music. The idea here is to turn the psychedelia up to 11 and tune into the ancient consciousness of the whispering pines. Sunday night I’ll be rifling through the archives to share some of the finest old school Goa and classic psytrance. Since its a night-time set you will likely hear music from X-Dream, Cydonia, Tim Schuldt, Metal Spark, Hux Flux, Juno Reactor, and the like, but I never plan my sets so I can’t say anything for sure. Expect something like what can be heard on my Moonshadow studio mix. The rest of Sunday night is going to be a blast: it’s Goa trance (both old and new, I am assuming) all the way into the morning hours. I’ve never actually heard a full night of proper Goa trance at a festival. Can you believe it? Not even back in the 1990s did I experience such a treat. As you can imagine, I am quite excited about the music program at OpenMind this year.
Here’s the pitch, in the words of the organizers:
OpenMind Festival started from a vision; a vision to help consciousness to arise, to help us all to awaken about environment, nature, others, and about ourselves. This seed has grown into the OpenMind Eco-Festival; a gathering of celebration, well-being and peace much involved in sustainability.
The vision of the festival is to burst current paradigms to enter in a new sustainable and free era; as well as to create an important positive impact on the environment, societies and global consciousness. To achieve this, our mission is to create individual and global change by creating spaces to allow the blooming of our children’s hearts and the experience of a new healthy, balanced and sustainable way of living. We put forward an extensive sustainable plan which you can consult on our website.
OpenMind Eco-Festival is not only a visionary gathering of celebration, but also a moment to take care of ourselves; to reconnect with nature, with others and our inner child. The one week event has many different activities to offer: A sunny music stage playing world music, tribal, psychedelic trance, goatrance, psy-tribal, reggae, dub, trance; an ambient music stage playing ethnic music, Indian, psybient, downtempo ambient; an extensive yoga/workshops/conferences stage on a variety of conscious subjects; a healing area where all kind of therapist and healers offer free treatments; An enchanted forest to purify the contemplative mind; a visionary art exhibition; a giant labyrinth; a conscious cinema; sweat lodges; positive ceremonies; circus performances and original animations; a children’s village; a community kitchen; an artisans village; conscious restaurants and much more!
The concept of the festival is to create a moment out of ordinary life, out of time, to be able to experience new things, to discover new tools for enlightenment, to live fully each moment without thinking about anything else. To achieve this, besides all activities offered and quite innovative decorations, all activities (but food) are free on site. Enjoy!