Dreamstate UK – Danielle’s Trance Journey Across The Atlantic
Starting off 2017, I finally checked off a few items on my bucket list – Europe, raving in Europe and Ministry of Sound. As a child I loved Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Prince William & Harry and even James Bond. There was something about London I was enamored with. And learning more about England’s history, I fell in love with stories around the Tudors , Shakespeare and even Winston Churchill. London just left me in awe. So on Thursday March 1st, 2017, I boarded the air bus for a 10.5-hour journey for London, UK. I was giddy, anxious and patiently waiting to be one with the world’s greatest city.
With a 9-hour jet lag, I had to jam pack my days to see as much as I could on this short trip, especially after losing a day from just the travels. Ubering to my hotel, I gawked out the window staring at the city’s architecture. And while along the Thames River, I got to see the London Bridge with boats and ferries traveling up and down this famous body of water. We weaved in and out of small streets which was amazing. These streets have been here for hundreds of years before the automobile was even thought of. Having only read and seen on TV, I passed by the Mi-6 building and immediately thought back to every single James Bond movie. As I finally got to the hotel – Ibis on Blackfriars – my body was due for a quick nap from the travel and jet lag.
Antsy being in London after a power nap, I decided to explore the neighborhood around the hotel as the sun was setting. The Southwark Underground Station was two buildings away with a few small pubs nearby so I stopped in for a drink to see what life of a Londonian was like. As it got darker, I decided to head back and grabbed a few brochures from the hotel lobby. I spent the next two hours trying to strategically find a way to see everything London has to offer in just a few days.
Up early on Friday, I was ready for a fun-filled day of tourism. Thankfully I packed an umbrella because London’s climate is similar to Seattle, WA. Unsure of the early morning traffic, I took an Uber to Buckingham Palace and got to witness the amazing pageantry of the Changing of the Guard. Watching these soldiers
in action, I was in awe its sheer grandeur and thought back to how this long wonderful tradition has been going on. Once over, I headed back to the hotel to meet up with my friend Andrew who had landed. Once together, we took the tube (subway) to Westminster and exited to see the Big Ben – The famous clock from the Peter Pan movie making their way to Neverland.
We stopped at the local pub and had proper ‘Fish and Chips’. Call me crazy but it tasted better than back home in the US. And after our meal, we walked to the Parliament building displaying its divine architecture as we saw many members exiting the building and leaving work early that Friday. I was amazed at the early employees’ dismissal which I felt to be a better work & life balance. A concept not always well delivered in the US. From there, we walked almost 8 miles looking at historic sites and points of interest. We saw statue after statue, the Churchill War Room museum, the Trafalger Square, St James Palace, Spencer House, Hyde Park, Princess Diana memorial fountain and my favorite – the Peter Pan statue. We took the tube back to Southwark and decided to rest before leaving for the world-famous Ministry of Sound.
Living in Los Angeles, CA, I am accustomed to world-renowned acts in marquee night clubs. Ministry of Sound has been on my radar for years in hopes for a Markus Schulz or Simon Patterson night; however, I was delighted to see GC Fam Dash Berlin playing that night. This club was insane. Getting in around 1130PM, we were able to catch local trance artist Andres Sanchez throw down some amazing trance in the Gallery room. I completely fell in love with MOS because it reminded me of an old school club. No VIP tables or bottle service anywhere near the dance floor, and people were actually dancing. I was ecstatic. We left the club just before dawn so we could attempt to get a few hours of shut eyes as Saturday night was going to be an epic trance journey from across the Atlantic.
On Saturday, my cousin and his wife came down from Cambridge to take us on a proper afternoon English tea in this little boutique in Marlybone. We were served with pastries, tea and my favorite champagne. After some catching up, we rode the famous double-decker bus over the Abbey Road. I thought of my mother as I crossed this famous street. Her love of the Beatles and passion for music was instilled in me at a young age. I crossed the famous street four times before parting ways with my cousin. We started making our way back to the South Bank, grabbed some bites at the hotel and got ready for the ultimate reason – Dreamstate UK. We hopped on the tube to Brixton. Public transportation in London is amazing. It’s quick, efficient and makes travel easy. And with just about 20-min to spare before opening, we made our way to The O2 arena.
The line had already formed while hundreds of trance fans were anxiously waiting to get inside. I saw flags from all over the globe and t-shirts representing their favorite trance artist/label being worn with pride. Security was polite, friendly, made small talk and answered questions. Waiting in line, I was mesmerized by their accent as we chit-chatted with a few lads from Northern UK who were over the moon to see the ‘Godfather’ of trance – Paul Van Dyk. We got in with little to no hassle as The O2 arena was already jamming with the sounds of Shugz who I’ve never seen. He went hard from the get go and I was not disappointed.
In contrast, US crowds start the party slow while on the other hand, UK crowds were dancing from the moment their feet crossed the threshold. I am pretty sure Shugz brought every single trance fan that lived in North Ireland. They wore their NITF – North Ireland Trance Family – shirts with pride as they supported their own. By the time the second act, James Dymond and Dan Stone came on deck, the dance floor was packed. I took a moment to wander around and check out the venue while listening to their amazing B2B set.
After a while, I had finally caught up with the amazing Mariusz. He was grinning from ear to ear. I was so happy for him because he played a vital part in helping Dreamstate UK happen. You could easily see his work had paid off. He introduced me to other members of Ravers Army which made me feel as if I was back home with my own rave family. A little bit later I ran into Adam Kehoe who I met thru Dreamstate UK Facebook page. Adam was beyond helpful in answering questions and giving me some recommendations for my stay. After running into Leiel and catching up with him, I decided it was time to get back and enjoy the music!
Next up was Menno de Jong who brought some of his hard-hitting tech-trance. From that point on, I was completely lost in the music dancing and moving around in various places of the venue. From the front house to the controller booth and backstage, I successfully was on a mission to talk to as many people as I could. Upon doing so, I asked a group of trance family (about 150 people) from Poland their reasons for this trip which put a smile on my face. Basically Mariusz had professed the amazingness of Dreamstate and they wanted to be a part of. I don’t blame them. I flew from Los Angles to be a part of this event as well. You could feel the buzz among the partiers who wanted to witness what Dreamstate had to offer. As Paul Van Dyk, Bryan Kearney, Aly & Fila, and Vini Vici closed the night, you could see that those in attendance found what they were looking – something magical only experienced through Dreamstate.
As the night came to an end, a group of lads from Lithuania (rocking the Lithuania Trance Family t-shirts) who spotted Fadi were star struck and in shock as if they were talking with their living legend. One guy even showed off his impressive Aly & Fila logo back tattoo. With generous appreciation for his fans, Fadi took a moment for a photo-op with the group before heading on out. The passion, love and understanding of trance fans spawned Dreamstate as a unique event under the Insomniac branding. Every events are dedicated for its fans and their love of the music. Reluctant to leave, Andrew and I headed back to our hotel after some goodbyes. Speechless to what just transpired, memories will live a lifetime as friends become family and strangers turned into friends. It was a perfect evening.
Sleeping in, we took our time getting ready on our last day in town. There were still a few sights to see, but we were completely exhausted. We met up with Andres Sanchez for a proper English roast at the Waterloo restaurant just a few blocks away. It was a great dinner with fantastic conversations. We left as the sun was setting and decided to put on a few more layers of dry clothing before heading to the London Eye. The air was crisp and felt good. Sadly, we weren’t able to do the London Eye since it was already closed. We made the most of it by walking around, taking photos and catching the city’s beauty at night as Big Ben glowed for miles. I could sense the inspirations artists or writers used in creating masterpiece after masterpiece.
In the wake of my departure, a melancholy feeling set upon me. Saddened to leave, those 3 ½ days spent in London were some of the best times of my life though I didn’t even get to see half of what this gorgeous city has to offer. Nevertheless, my three bucket list items were checked off. Dreamstate was a success, Ministry of Sound was amazing and I fell in love with London in hopes to return someday.
Thanks to Dreamstate, this magical journey would have never taken place. Optimistic, I hope Dreamstate continues to go to new locations as I intend to follow this brand around the world.