Interstellar Dreamfest

Friday-Monday, Sept. 3-6; Oak Shores Retreat, outside Mount Vernon, Ill.

Drink lots of coffee, take a load of energy pills and brace yourself for four days of new-school psychedelic excursions in the form of a gathering called Interstellar Dreamfest. The event, which takes place in a park about an hour east of St. Louis, is, to use the old terminology, a rave, but only geeks call them raves anymore. This is a gathering, one featuring more than 50 DJs pumping out psychedelic trance and goa, techno, drum & bass and a handful of other genres too hairsplitting to go into.

If the idea of a four-day rave is perplexing, you're too old, a geek or both, because the rise of techno was pushed along by these huge festivals — in Europe, three- and four-day events with tens of thousands of people in attendance aren't uncommon. The Midwest seems the perfect place for something like Interstellar Dreamfest: loads of open spaces far removed from the meddling of city cops and a fair number of cities within a half-day's drive of almost anyone in the region. Wisconsin has been home to some monstrous raves in the '90s; last weekend's "Turned On" festival, outside Madison, played host to some huge names (and an amazing flyer) and apparently drew thousands.

Interstellar Overdrive, in addition to having a cheesy name, is less impressive but will feature at least one don't-miss five-hour set by dark Detroit minimalist Ritchie Hawtin, a.k.a. Plastikman, whose recent CDs on Novamute Records — especially the wondrous Consumed — are some of the most interesting techno releases of the late '90s. There will also be a huge trance presence, most notably from U.K. label Phantasm. More than anything, it'll be an adventure; if you wanna know what the sound of the 21st century is, you should check out the Dreamfest: It's everything the sci-fi writers said it would be, and more. For more info/directions, call 502-569-1757 or visit strangeloop.nu.

 
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