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18 Pages

Psytrance: An Introduction

ByGRAHAM ST JOHN

In 2008, I travelled to Boom, the tenth anniversary of the biennial Portuguese psytrance and alternative culture festival operated by Good Mood Productions on Lake Idanha-a-Nova in the Castelo Branco district to the east of the country’s Centro region. During that week, my second consecutive visit to Boom, I shared one of the world’s largest electronic music dance fl oors with habitués holding passports from over eighty countries (in excess of 40,000 people). This festal massive is symptomatic of an intriguing transnationalism in music culture. As the premier event in the global psychedelic trance (or psytrance) calendar, Boom is connected to a wider industry of music production and performance, independent labels, micro media and event-management organisations, communities of visual, sound and healing artists, and seasonal networks of local parties and regional festivals held in dozens of countries. Like Boom, many of these events carry a pattern of cultural, musical and stylistic integration that has come to characterise psytrance, an electronic dance music culture (EDMC) that evinces a fusional integrity and paradoxical disposition downstream from its much vaunted, and yet often maligned, site of becoming-beaches and hinterlands to the north of the former Portuguese province of Goa, which was annexed by India in 1961.