ABSTRACT

This chapter examines how a heterogeneous post-1960s haven for cultural exiles evolved into a globalized traveler dance music phenomenon. In the late 1960s and into the 1970s, Goa, the former Portuguese colony of India, was a destination for traveler ‘freaks’ making departure from the worlds of their upbringing. In Goa, these travelers procreated a live dance music scene that developed in the 1980s as a seasonal paradise for ‘trance dance’ parties led by pioneer DJs, who mixed diverse electronic music for travelers from locations around the world. These parties were the product of fl ows of travelers carrying the latest sounds out of scenes from Paris to London, Rimini to Ibiza, Berlin to Amsterdam; from a psychedelic tribalism nurtured in the seasonal DJ-led scene that escalated by the turn of the 1990s, reaching a peak by the mid-1990s, around which time several factors conspired in its demise. Among these was the emergence of Goa Trance,1 a psychedelic trance music that intended to capture the ‘essence’ of the idyllic parties in Goa through a psychedelic orientalism, a marketed theme compelling the growth of trance tourism. While the genuine Goa scene declined as a result, Goatrance, and subsequently psytrance, fl ourished around the world as evidenced by its paramount expressions, psychedelic festivals. Once traveler festivals, and thus homes for Goatrance travelers, these events grew to become recreational destinations for the psychedelic traveler, who is now less likely to have visited Goa, nor perhaps traveled far from home. Today, in regional party and festival organizations, the romance of the traveler sensibility infuses a global event-culture.