‘Tis The Season For A Meltdown



Stars and Headlamps—Memorial Meltdown 2011

This is my favorite time of year in the States—the beginning of the outdoor party season. Last weekend I made a road-trip down to California for Goa Gil’s Memorial Meltdown—the party I look forward to most every year. The Gil party is the kickoff to the outdoor psytrance party campout season, for me anyway. This year it took place on Indian reservation land near Clear Lake, California, and was a long drive from where I live in Oregon—about 9 hours—but the Meltdown is worth the long hours of driving.

For those who don’t know, Goa Gil is a DJ who plays  psychedelic trance, or, more specifically, what many consider to be dark psychedelic trance. He’s originally from San Francisco, but in 1969 he left for India, where he studied yoga. Eventually he started playing parties on the beaches of Goa, in an attempt to combine yoga and dance (I’m still not sure how that works…). Today, he plays all over the world; I’ve seen him play many times in California, and I’ve also traveled to see him play in Mexico and India. He plays twice a year in California—Memorial Meltdown, over the Memorial Day weekend, and then his Birthday Bash in October. At these parties he’ll typically do a non-stop music set lasting about 24 hours, and the dance floor never stops for that time. It’s a biannual ritual I always look forward to—the beginning and ending of the season.

Goa Gil

Gil starting his set

As is sometimes the case in Northern California this time of year, it had been raining in recent days, leaving the grassy land where the event took place slick and muddy, which in turn caused cars to get stuck, and forced people to park far from the camping areas surrounding the dance floor. That meant most people had to haul their gear a long distance before setting up camp. Another result of the recent rains is that there was poison oak in the area, though I didn’t hear of anyone actually getting into it.

Gil started his set at around 10pm, and I prepared myself mentally for the long night ahead (the temperature would be cold, and the music dark). The best way to keep warm is to keep moving on the dance floor, though it pays to pace yourself because the music will be playing until the next night. The hours passed and the temperature dropped. I had come prepared with a fleece hoodie and down jacket, so I fared pretty well throughout the night. Of course, maybe the beer helped too.

After an intense, and bitterly cold night, the light of the coming sunrise lit up the eastern sky. Gil continued on, and everyone was along for the ride. Finally, the sun broke through the trees and the temperature began to rise. By mid-day it was warm and sunny. The music played on through afternoon, evening, nightfall, and eventually ended sometime around 10 pm. I was so tired by this time, I could hardly stand up, so I made my way back to my tent and collapsed.

Another successful Meltdown. Thank you to Gil, and all who came out to the party. I look forward to the Birthday Bash!

Check out the pictures and videos of Memorial Meltdown 2011 that Goa Gil took while he was playing.