My body is at the desk, but my mind, soul and energy is at the Circle of Dreams. The dust is surely still settling in Riviersonderend, and I will still be buzzing for weeks to come and am definitely still in recovery mode. Here goes everything…”

We will look back at the latest festival through the eyes of TYI’s trance festival guru, Leland Edwards:

Vortex : Phoenix Festival of Fire 2017

Before I begin this incredible tale, let me first tell you this …

This festival was more than just South Africans and people around the world gathering. No, this was a FAMILY gathering. Now I’ve just got three words for you.


The journey…

It was a little after 4 pm when Daniel, J.P and Gemma picked me up for our two hour journey to Riviersonderend. I had been up since the sun rose on that glorious day.

We took the N2 and it began. The blistering wind beating down on myself and Gemma as we fought bravely to keep warm on the way to the Circle of Dreams.

After driving for some time we stopped at a garage to fill up on essentials. At the garage we met some fellow troopers on their way to the event.

Everyone is truly buzzing, but we hit the road again. A little after 8pm we arrive at the entrance gate to the Circle of Dreams.

The queue is painstakingly long, and the music starts to take control of me. We have not even entered the event yet!

There is still some way to go before we have officially arrived. We enter the place at too 9 side, it is buzzing.

This is how I am going to put this: You know what playing high school rugby is like?

That moment before the first team hits the field?
The deafening sound of the hype in the change room?
The drumming of our boots on the floor, grabbing your brothers as you unite?
The moment you run out of the change room and onto the field, the cheers of the crowd?

That is the emotion that ran through my body as we entered this place.

The Festival…

We set up camp in next to no time. Well done to all the coordination in the dark.

By the time I am ready to jol and I mean jol, Sci Lab had already began his set. His set is the second last of the first day before the music goes off for nature time (music is stopped for some time to all the environment to recover).

I find myself “skitting” my biscuit (term used for dancing) right at the back, I slowly move forward to the front of the dance floor.

I’ve lost my friends, but I am truly not alone.

I move towards the front. I am at this point transfixed with the lighting, the 3D visuals and the beautiful people I am surrounded by.

I am skitting hard, Dj Sci Lab’s exhilarating beats commanding my every move on the DF.

He was something special, he was preparing us for the last set to be played by a personal favourite of mine, Mad Science.

Sci Lab moved us, well me, so hard that I forgot I had friends, I was skitting next to some foreigners from Italy and I felt they were my friends.

It was truly intoxicating, the performance from Sci Lab

Moment I will cherish forever …

Sci Lab finish around 2am in morning, it is so cold out in the open, but the heat emanating from the DF, it might as well have snowed we still would not have stopped dancing.

Okay so Sci Lab comes down and thanks everyone, he is approaching my side. I grab hold of him, I thank him for everything he has done on the decks and for the love he has showed us.

He is still holding me, he leans in and whispers something like this in my ear, “Much love for you guy, it is only a pleasure making your dreams come true,” before hugging me and departing.

It was the turn of Mad Science.

The thought of my friends has not even drifted through my mind yet.

I find myself skitting next to a guy by the name of Keenan Marias (I do hope I got the spelling correct).

We don’t know each other, it’s our first time meeting, but he showed me a kind of love I only witness through my family.

We are completely in sync in all our moves. The good Lord alone knows how we are doing this.

Mad Science, WOW …

They demanded more of us, we were raging, if there was some sort of scale that could measure the energy vibrating on that DF, we would have probably been able to power the entire Cape Town.

Keenan and I turned after some time and we take a breath from all the madness.

As soon as we turn and see the rest our family still skitting, we have no choice, but to turn, face the dj and keep it going.

The howls on the DF were sounds of wolves, the smiles on the face of everyone made you smile, the energy radiating from the person next to you was enough to keep you going.

So it came, Mad Science thanked us and they thought they were done…

Hold up.

“We want more! We want more!” rang out first and we got what we want.

So we are still skitting after the music was supposed to stop. After the encore, the music goes silent, hold up.

“One last time! One last time!” is belted out before Mad Science really packed up.

After sharing yet another memorable moment with Keenan on the DF, I find my squad and its packing up time, for now.

We eventually went to bed at around 5am in the morning.

The next day would be my first time in my five years on the festival circuit, that I would be volunteering at a festival.

At this moment I would like to thank the Vortex Trance Adventures family for making it possible for me.

Massive, massive shoutout to Bronnie and Nikki. You guys are amazing and you are both just vibrant in all your ways.

I worked 12 hours and the Almighty Father alone knows how I managed, but I did.

I used most of Saturday night to recover from the aftermath of Friday/Saturday morning’s antics.

Added to the fact that I am not much into dark psychedelics, which played Saturday night.

Only slept like two hours, so it was a much deserved break.

Myself and another amazing soul Shane, my friend, kicked back and enjoyed the scenery and nice vibes.

The Funday…

Okay so this funday rocked me to my core. How were we capable of doing what we did?

How was something of that magnitude possible?

Did we really possess that amount of love as humans?


During the Funday

I got ready for the day at around 8am. My entire squad were ready to skit at 11am for Headroom’s arrival had come.

The psytrance and techno beats dropped by Dj Headroom, if there was ever a real magician, it would be those people behind the decks. We were bewitched.

There is a surge, it is as if my entire body just discovered its true potential, I have to let loose. To the DF.

Headroom had us under a spell, my crew and I are skitting like legends on the DF. I slowly move forward towards the front.

I am in my own cosmic world, eyes closed, feeling the energy of the +/- 3000 people. I’m in the zone.

I meet up with a good friend of mine, Layla Banks and she joins myself and the rest of our trance family for the last part of the event. Now I am floating in space amongst the stars.


I meet up with Keenan one more time and once again we keep it going.

My friends join in at the front and it is so ON!!!!!!

We are raging at this point, Headroom you beauty.

It was completely moving to look back and see, the many colours, cultures, religions, creeds just stomping, embracing one another in unity.

Freedom Fighters ended the jol off for us and like I don’t want to get into his set, it was absolute fire on Earth!!!

Raging on Freedom Fighters

I shared moments with the rest of SA and the world. Thank you my good Sir.

I didn’t get the chance to tell you this Freedom Fighters, but what you and rest of the dj’s do is something I dream of every time I close my eyes.

You have inspired a generation and set me free, thank you …

I’d like to add this about the jol …

This vortex to had so much emotion, yes I know the feeling.

It’s not about the jol, or the music, it’s about the whole experience, vibes, the movement, colours, nature, conservation, smiles, hugs and everyone vibrating, stomping as one on that DF.


Remember the 23rd-25th, for it is OURS, for all time.

[All Photography by Leland Edwards]

Categories: Entertainment