Adventure in the Timeless Land

Naked Vegan Psychonauts Party

  • Photo Roxanne Baril-Bédard

I lost myself in the forest for the whole weekend like the dirty hippie I deeply, truly am. I packed all my things and checked them twice, for I would be two hours from dear Montreal, partying with nearly a thousand other psychonauts under the scorching sun of a September heat wave, and under the shimmering stars of a clear country sky.

I drove all the way to right near the Québec/Ontario border, stopping by Hawkesbury to do some grocery shopping only to realize one cannot buy a pack of beer at a grocery store in our western neighboring province. As usual, I tried to leave early in order to plant my tent lighted by the last rays of day, but to no avail, for our stops and the traffics jams got the best of our haste, and my boyfriend Karl and I assembled our modest shelter in pitch black darkness, only guided by our trusted torchlights.

Excited, and finally settled down, we set out to explore our new playground, Timeless Festival.

The Music

There were three stages for us to discover, playing music around the clock, each with particular electronic vibes, cycling as the DJs changed, but staying relatively harmonious in themes/tempos. Although these festivals are common throughout the summer, I tend to prefer the bigger ones as they have a more diverse program, and I have an eclectic taste in music. I much prefer to step to the beat of some happy hardcore, gabber, or heck, even dubstep, than, alas, to the tribal melodies of psytrance or the airy intonation of house – the former of which tend to dominate Québec’s festival scene. Far be it from me the idea to really complain about the scene, however, for I find psytrance tribes the chillest party people out there, but more on that later.

The main stage was thus psytrance kingdom, which also had the most elaborate fractal and multicoloured VJ projections on its glow-in-the-dark decorations, and the most people dancing in general, situated in an open plane, on the cusp of a forest where ran a waterfall. Full-on high tempo psy-trance raged on by night as the crowd, shrouded in darkness, forgot what little left of their inhibition they had and penetrated the intensity of the music. During the day, a sunnier, calmer tempo relaxed the dancers as they gathered strength for the adventures the night ought to bring again.

A little further up a path, passed the house of the owner of the site, could be found the Jangala stage; one that explored many beats and genres, passing from dub to UK bass. The clearing in which it was set had been meticulously decorated by artist Kaplow, who told me he had been inspired by the movie Avatar to create a kind of extra-terrestrial jungle to ravish and perturbate the senses. The setting was complete with alien trees of printed fabrics, a fairy nest, hanging drawings of mandalas, and a chilling area of small mattresses and cushions, inviting for a chat and a rest.

The third and final stage was Chill Chill, ironically set up quite a steep hill, but also set near the main camp ground, so they could shower their smooth vibrations on the tired ravers. A huge metallic dome occupied half its floor, for the people to melt on beanbags and bask in the Christmas lights glowing on the scene. Easy listening experimental music and ambient glided through the conversations, while triangles painted with illuminati eyes and fabric lanterns fluttered in the wind.

The People

Now, nice stages and cool atmospheres are nothing if empty, so here I come looping back to where I was some lines ago, to what really makes the psytrance community my favorite crew of people to hang with. I think they have it all: friendly, caring, reaching out for each other, and, a personal favorite, not all that sexual or intimidating. Their offbeat community welcomes you whether you want to dance butt naked or adorned as some fantastical creature. As opposed to bars, I rarely have been subjected to harassment, and feel safe stumbling around the site in all states of undress and haziness.

The crowd isn’t all; the team of organizers really actively participate to this feeling of security and warmth, which can really be seen in the small details of the weekends. A personal favorite were the big four litre water bottles left all around the campsite and on the dance floors, underlined with painted placards commanding dancers to drink, so that no-one suffered from dehydration.

Other community organizers were drug testers (shoutout to the dedicated people from Consciousnest who saved some users from potentially bad chemicals), accompaniers for people going through bad trips, plus crystals and ear plugs sellers, meditation and yoga guides, and last but not least, a collective kitchen run by a group called Les Jardiniers Itinérants, or the Nomad Gardeners, who cooked flat out amazing fresh vegan food all weekend, on a “take what you need, pay what you can” basis. The whole team was at work to ensure the wholeness of participants: body, mind and soul.

I think what shines through this organization, and probably of this type of forest festival, is that the individuals making up the community all come forth with their specialties and share them in a spirit of giving, with a desire to participate actively in a collective creation. The same is true for a lot of the festival goers as well, with many pulling together dreamy outfits, adding to the vibe of the event. From elves in earthy colours to feral children in leather pouches and fur, from fairies in glitter to mages with capes and face paint, people’s creativity contributes to the otherworldly ambiance, making festivals a special place in a time where most of social expectations are revoked, if only but for the time of the weekend. It is a moment of freedom, and I am already longing for my next one.

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