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.

Ritchie Hawtin, a.k.a. Plastikman, performs at Interstellar Dreamfest.
Ritchie Hawtin, a.k.a. Plastikman, performs at Interstellar Dreamfest.

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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