Like the name defines itself, Dreamstate SoCal festival sounds like a dream to reach, especially for those who are not from United States. A mix of a dreamy vision for a new, different type festival, and the experience at the prime and biggest trance music event in USA, Dreamstate also implies a few tasks to be completed before getting there. It demands long flights, visas, some conversation at the departure airport before boarding, an interrogatory dialog with the U.S. border officers at the arrival airport, and finally your own transfers to San Bernardino city in California, where the festival took place for the third year.
Dreamstate‘s home, the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino – a wide open-air area with a park decorated with lights, high fountains, trees dressed with color changing lights and many green areas to chill around the lake. Four musically and visually different stages were set up around the park, under special tents, more or less enclosed to perfectly solve the music interference between the stages. All Dreamstate grounds were decorated with lights and prepared for the crowd of 35000 attendees – never too packed, so just be ready to celebrate the festival in summery weather.
All the experience starts at the busy airport exit, with a view of several spindly palms, dreamy USA highways like in the movies, along the last kilometers to the venue by Uber and eye catching festival attendees walking in front and behind me, marking the direction to the entrance. “Yes, I’m heading to a festival gate” – quickly said to relatives and couldn’t add more, the whole situation was exploding right now, at this moment just before security guided entrance in wild San Bernardino streets.
Quick polite procedure at the box office to collect a ticket and a very symbolic “Historian” labeled wristband, not so long queues to be attentively checked by security. While waiting I can watch spectacularly dressed ravers around, listen to their clear American chats, and finally I pass the last gate as the last step to this new planet in front of me to be explored – Dreamstate Socal festival world opens.
Just after entering the first festival grounds, it comes the need to breath deep and try to assimilate this far trance destination has been reached, and now it is just around you, in the shape of blinking thousand lights on garlands, decorated trees and fountains. This compact Dreamstate city is futuristic and noticeably different from all those in Europe also by its attendees looks, and the preparation for the event. You can watch everyone and stay amazed by the idea to dress up, details, accessories, fantasy, common looks culture. You wish to photograph every second person during the festival and you may have an unsolved mystery to prepare the best own and unique look to celebrate this festival being a part of American festival celebration culture.
Dreamstate attenders appearances were so various and astonishing that it often drew my attention away from the music and the stages, to the people standing around. There was a feeling our near future had landed at the festival and what we see here all around, it’s an exact coming future including not just looks – many of attenders had sticks in their hands with selected logo, picture, mask or symbol, prepared for the festival, and the sea of sticks is seen on every picture or video, moving with the beat, or floating within the melody.
Within the first minutes of an event, the heart breaking stage choice begins. Dreamstate festival had some performances which couldn’t be missed: the West Coast premiere of AEON presented by Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren and Benno de Goeij as GAIA (first time in California), Jordan Suckley‘s worldwide premiere of 3FECT, Key4050 project, Rank 1 live set presented by both of duo members, as well as the audiovisual Hologram Show.
Most of mentioned performances were scheduled for the biggest stage “The Dream” (event mainstage) and it could feel like a heart breaking timetable rebus is simply solved, but there were three more stages with a selection of the best trance DJs, 70 in total. Even for two days, it was too much of timetable choices for a trance music fan changing one stage to another, regretting to miss the coming part of the set you have already left and some euphoric tracks to dive in with the crowd, having no any time to sit and enjoy the view of decorated lights trees near the lake – that is what the variety of beloved trance DJs, creating music journey at the same time at 4 different stages, means.
During the time at Dreamstate festival there was some state of mind reached, tender and flowing, ecstatic, softly taking higher with unfelt emotions. It was new state, new type of event, new type of experience and new feelings. Some classics or nowadays beloved tracks could get you just into trance music and party, but then you can barely think or dance, just feel with tears rolling down, when you remember where you are now, how far you went to reach this dream, and dreamy state of mind.
The overall festival feeling, experience were got over with those coming from whole journey to this place including long-haul flight, USA highways with landscapes, clear and beautiful English language understood by every single word, astonishing festival attenders looks, tender weather of Californian autumn. It was like a taste of an iconic American dream and a deep sharp record into the heart of new trance destination together, after half of the Earth’s circumference is travelled to arrive here to attend the main trance music festival in USA. That’s why the name Dreamstate was, is and will stay so symbolic.
After the festival weekend some of European travelers visited Los Angeles downtown, Hollywood, the beach of Pacific Ocean. When these places are added to event experience, Dreamstate SoCal becomes an unbeatable choice and the top decision of all trance travels, festivals and events around the Europe or some continents nearby. Dreamstate SoCal wasn’t just a new far festival to try, it was experience for a lifetime, which began landing behind California mountains with so recognizable view of Los Angeles skyscrapers in a clear skies day and is felt until these days like healed soul, healed by City of Angels.
What should be the worth price to hear legendary duo of Rank 1 playing live an own classic such as “Airwave” million miles away from home in the middle of a happy crowd which is shouting with strong satisfaction and having a blast for legendary trance? All the magic live set of Rank 1 was prepared with such, including own, classics, following one after another like a music journey to die for, deeply taking over and a direct shot to the addicted trancer’s heart to tears. It was a dream, a state of dream, it was just Dreamstate.
It was a state of mind that had been following me even on the airplane back to Europe, where only fully dark night made me to close wet eyes while watching disappearing USA and Los Angeles from the skies, the city that will always stay like Dreamstate’s home and destination, where I can breath the ocean air, sit on the sand and tell random strangers about the dreamy unexpected music festival and experience, which got me to arrive here. And be purely happy by the ocean waves another new day.
When a trance loving friend asked if this USA trip was worth the price, time and efforts, I couldn’t just simply answer him, because – yes, it was definitely worth the price, that I can’t specify at the moment, because it just must be tried, tasted with own view and, the impact you might be looking for, and with some steps at night around Los Angeles skyscrapers streets in downtown or watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean with your favorite trance songs playing in your earphones, at one of your faraway geographical edges of the world – Dreamstate is the future and the dream gathered together.