chapter  1
19 Pages

Goa is a State of Mind: On the Ephemerality of Psychedelic Social Emplacements

WithLUTHER ELLIOTT

For more than two years between 2001 and 2004, I conducted participantobservation research among Goa trance scenes in Northern New South Wales, Australia, New York City and several locations in India. A one-off trance festival outside Lusaka, Zambia, provided an opportunity to spend a month following a group of forty international travellers on an overland, trance-themed tour from Cape Town to Lusaka. A persistent theme throughout my ethnographic research was the foundational role of Goa, India, as an almost mythic place of origins and pilgrimage site for so many trance music enthusiasts with whom I have spoken throughout my research in these locations. It was not until the end of my research in 2004 that my partner and I visited Goa for a winter season. Despite having collected narrative accounts, photos, fi lm and video materials of the fabled origin of psychedelic trance culture for several years prior, I was unprepared for the rush of cosmopolitan psychedelic sociality and Royal Enfi eld motorcycles that still defi ned the holiday season, nearly two decades after the alleged heyday of psychedelic electronica parties on Goa’s northern beaches.