Words by Sarah Waltman, Photos by Steven Philips
March 30 – April 1, 2012, Kutcher’s Country Club, Monticello, NY
The weekend of March 30 – April 1 at the Rock n Roll Resort would be one I would never forget. I didn’t realize this on the two and a half hour trip from Philadelphia to Monticello, New York, but I do remember rolling the name around in my head, A Psybient Soiree, and thinking this was going to be anything but a normal weekend fest. The show that Shannon Plaquet’s Rock n Roll Resort put together was enthralling to say the least. This event fulfilled me musically, artistically, and spiritually. A weekend full of electronic, psychedelic, ambient, goa, and psytrance music was not the only thing bringing open minded people from all over the country to this affair. There was enough art and spiritually uplifting events to make any hippie’s heart smile.
We kicked off the weekend by catching Hallucinogen, which features Simon Posford from Shpongle. I made my way to the front of the crowd to get a glimpse of what was going on. Simon was center stage with Alex and allyson Grey set up to the right with a blank canvas, getting ready to start painting to the music. This being my first ever goa/psytrance show, it took me a minute to get the just of what it was all about. I’m a huge fan of live music, it was a little strange seeing just one guy up on stage producing everything I was hearing.
At first I thought, “Wow, this is basically like watching a guy play with his computer,” and I turned my attention to the people around me. Everyone else seemed to be getting it and getting down hard at that. I closed my eyes and let my imagination run wild. That was when the magic happened. I let go of any previous notions of what the show should be and just let the music come over me. A modest swinging of the hips turned into my very own dance ritual. I could feel my stress melting away. Making my way to the front, here and there, to follow the work of art this music was inspiring in Alex, I felt so lucky to be a part of the crowd. The music, art and the crowd all seemed to feed off each other creating an experience I will never forget. The whole Hallucinogen set was absolutely amazing! Pumped as I was for Shpongle, I was sad it had to come to an end, but little did i know Simon was just warming up.
In between Simon’s two sets, Phuture Primitive played upstairs. At this point Alex and Allyson had turned what was once a blank canvas into an array of symbols and faces. After introducing the two, and thanking us all for being there, Simon started his set with Shpongle. Alex and Allyson returned to what almost seemed like a trancic state, channeling the energy we were giving them through the tips of their paint brushes, and bobbing their heads to the music. The crowd went wild, jumping up and down, and swaying to the beat. I couldn’t help but lose myself in a place where the beeps and strange sound effects flowed as natural as the breeze through the catskills.
As delighted as I was with Hallucinogen and my new found genre of music, I would have to say that Simon found a way to outdo himself. The set was fun and interesting and for me, very spiritually uplifting. They ended the set with the song DMT, which astonished me and confirmed that being open minded is rewarding in every way.
After the show we made our way from the Stardust Lounge, which was the main stage, up the steps to the Launch Pad. A smaller stage was set up on the second floor, featuring three young guys from Boston known as LeSpecial. This band immediately impressed me with their unique style of playing and it was refreshing to see a live band playing instruments. Even though it was almost five in the morning, the energy was as strong as at the beginning of the night. Psylab started at 4:30am and played until 6:00am, and Digital Storm tore it up from 6:00 – 7:30 in the morning.
On Saturday there was a showing of “The Spirit Molecule,” a film based on the book by Dr. Rick Strassman. Strassman’s book is about a study on DMT and its intense effects on whomever decides to partake on that journey. This film was shown in the Stardust Lounge, where Rick and Mitch Schultz, the film producer, were available for questions afterwards. Rick revealed his inspiration that drove the study, and many other interesting insider tidbits about getting funding, administering the studies to the volunteers and documenting the effects of the drug.
The rest of Saturday was filled with awesome music from the likes of Brothers Past, Conspirator, Ott, dopapod, Jeff Bujak, and many others. By this time the crowd had come together into a cohesive group, and everyone was on the same wavelength. It was an amazing night.
Sunday was more of the same – beautiful chilly Catskill weather, hundreds of smiling faces, and great music, including Mun and repeat sets by Conspirator and LeSpecial. We took the opportunity to sleep in, to peruse the wares of the many vendors, and to once again shake out bones at the main stage and all the others as well. It was our intention to have a swim in the huge indoor pool, which had activities on the deck every day, including Yoga, meditation, and music. But it just didn’t happen. Too much fun, too little time.