Thanksgiving Dreamstate 2017

by | Dec 19, 2017 | EVENTS, REVIEWS

I somehow convinced my mother to allow me to invite a small group of friends-let’s round down to 30-from overseas and out-of-state to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. It made for a beautiful and wholesome pre-party.

Prior to Dreamstate 2015, I would have said that the music is what keeps me coming back to festivals. Since that magical weekend, the answer is far more complicated. The euphoria and freedom you feel when crossing the threshold and leaving reality is unmatched. It’s the people you will create lifelong memories with. The music connects us all and strips away our differences, so in that moment the only thing that matters is what is in front of you. It’s powerful, and Dreamstate 2017 delivered for the third year in a row.

I was beyond nervous that in the midst of me hyping the event, I had created a situation where Dreamstate couldn’t live up to my overblown expectations. Perhaps my expectations were tied to the fact that I took a more active role in the event this year. This year my good friend Andrew and I organized a meet and greet for the two fan pages we run. And the response was out of this world. It was heartwarming to witness my chosen family and friends getting rare pictures and signatures from the producers who have sound tracked their lives. The mix of legends, powerhouses and first timers like Roger Shah, Stoneface & Terminal, Solarstone, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Sean Tyas, Simon O’Shine, Ucast, Manuel Le Saux, Shugz, Cold Blue, Sam Jones and The Real Trance Family was a dream and almost felt like fantasy. I have said it a 1000 times before, trance DJs are the best out there, hands down, no question asked. The feedback has been brilliant and we cannot wait to host the event again next year.

Before I knew it, Friday had arrived and my nerves were in overdrive. As my friends and I started to make our way to our car, with Daniel Skyver in tow as my precious cargo, my heart honestly began to race.  As I dropped off Nessa and Derrick to proceed to the artist entrance.

As we walked in on day-1, it hit me that I was at the greatest trance event on earth. While it’s easy to be taken by the scale of the event when the lights and sound are sending your sense into overdrive, it’s humbling to walk around the empty venue before the doors open and appreciate the amount of work that Insomniac put into making this all happen.

Daniel let me join him onstage during his set and the view from that vantage point is breath-taking. He slayed his set and I only wish it was recorded so I could relive it. I’ll never be able to repay him for that memory.

It seemed that the grandeur of the Dream Stage from 2016 was missing. However, the lights and LED screens were still amazing. The only full set I caught there all weekend was from Key 4050 – easily the highlight of the weekend. Bryan Kearney and John O’Callaghan were on opposite sides of the stage doing a back-to-back performance that blended the two king’s styles perfectly. The tech lift powerhouse that was highly anticipated lived up to the hype. Dropping some serious music, I really need to get my hands on that closing track. As I stood with my trance family and dear friend Karttie who made this larger than life totem of the Key 4050 logo. Her hard work paid off as she won the “Music First Totem Challenge.”

The second largest stage was the Sequence Stage. Psy trance wasn’t really on the agenda for me this year with many artists  to see but I did make an exception for Khromata and Leiel. Besides being technicians and master of their craft, they are two artists who I have formed great friendships with so I was happy to make time to catch them do their thing. The Damaus building brought me back to Dreamstate 2015. Filled with enough lights, LEDs, and a mind-blowing hologram screen that you could easily lose yourself in.

The Vision Stage in a smaller building made a drastic improvement on the sound. I spent a good amount of time here. I finally got to see Greg Downey who blew me away. His set was high energy and easily had me dancing most from any other set.  Easily top five sets for the weekend. Thomas Datt had me smiling ear to ear, as his faithful fans poured in at opening. Trance fans unlike other events are lined up deep at gates opening ready to get in. Not wanting to miss a single moment, I only hope that next year they open doors 15 minutes early, so fans can be there for the opening beat.

Lucky for me the layout this year was more intimate which made stage hopping between Mauro Piccotto, Marco V, Menno De Jong, and Jordan Suckley who were all fantastic.

The most memorable part of the weekend was watching John O’Callaghan slay his set from the stage. The warehouse was packed to capacity as he performed a stellar set.  I sang, I danced, and I definitely cried when he played Daniel Kandi’s mashup of Big Sky and Home. As the crowd sang to the beautiful lyrics, I was on cloud 9.

The Timeless stage was my home for Dreamstate 2017. They did some major improvements from the previous year. More lights, better visuals, and bigger sound made for an elevated experience. I spent a lot of time here, and even when I thought I wanted to see someone elsewhere, I couldn’t fathom leaving. The Real Trance Family née James Lynas and Jovan Brooks (who filled in when they moved Khromata to “Sequence”) both played solid sets. James especially, who seemed like he may have had something to prove, played like a beast with high energy, great track selection and good transitions. He definitely proved his neigh sayers wrong. I was very happy that James changed so many people’s opinions who were skeptical.

Daniel, Alex M.O.R.P.H, Orkidea, Shugz, Stoneface & Terminal, Manuel Le Saux, and Arctic Moon (who filled in for Sied Van Riel due to visa issues) all slayed. Each set was better and better than Fady and Mina made their debut.  I’d been anticipating this one and the set was an uplifting wet dream. The duo just swept me off my

feet. They were followed up by Cold Blue who completely blew my mind, I still can’t get over how good a set it was. I might have had multiple ‘trancegasms’ on the dance floor as I dance, cried, and felt joy only trance can bring. Both acts made the most of their US debut and anyone in attendance will argue best sets of the weekend.

The cherry on top for the Timeless Stage was Roger Shah. I made a post when the set times were released stating, I was leaving Dreamstate in a puddle of tears and that is exactly what I did. Roger Shah’s Balearic sound just washed through the crowd and his closing four tracks Castles in The Sky, Lost, Unbreakable and Going Wrong was just too much. Not a dry eye in the crowd which is how you end the best Dreamstate to date.

Mariusz Roj has a tattoo that states, “We live for the nights we can’t remember, with the friends we’ll never forget”.

Dreamstate was an amazing weekend with friends and family who I will cherish forever, all connected by trance. Since it began in 2015, this event has truly changed my life which I am honored to be associated with the brand.

Each year has grown bigger and better, and I cannot wait for Dreamstate 4.0.

-Danielle Sanders