That Extra Edge of Astral Energy: A Review of Cosmo Festival 2012

The following festival review has been written by Raine Trott, with photography by Mark Falmouth and Heloise Trott.

It’s a tingle in the air that is almost palpable. A heady excitement that is only born of one thing; the anticipation of three days and nights of revelry and mischief, dancing and friends, which have come together from the many corners of the country, and even the globe, for the UK´s only pure psytrance festival –  Cosmo Festival.

Cosmo rejoices in being a collection of like-minded people, making the age-old pilgrimage to a place where they can escape the status quo and indulge in the magical unity of a love of spirituality, cultural open-mindedness and music. In their own words “together we make a tribe,” and the truth of this motto could be felt and seen everywhere you turned.

At first, the location itself seemed humble in comparison to the epic forests and mountains of many psytrance festivals. However, as soon as you entered the melee of the festival, the idea that you are on a racecourse is entirely forgotten, and the horizon is populated by gentle hills and forests that created the vista of a beautiful wonderland. Indeed, this year’s event was particularly cosmic, being placed on a full-moon weekend with a full lunar eclipse, adding that extra edge of astral energy.

Despite the diminutive size of the event, the line-up promised to be huge, and it lived up to our expectation on every front. The main stage offered a delectable selection of fast-tempo psytrance, ranging from groovy full-on to full-power high-tech, which sent the audience into a feral frenzy. And, at night time, Cosmo was transformed into an eerie underworld with 3D décor from Ozmali that entertained and delighted the eye.

Flooting Grooves set the tone as the first act on Friday with his tribal tunes, while Sprocket stayed true to his style of never failing to impress, rising to the challenge of the inspiring anticipation for the long night of rhythmic stomping ahead. The quality and variety continued throughout, with rainstorms on Saturday night encouraging any stragglers into the dance tents for a feast of psychedelic beats.  An energetic climax, which can only be reached through the synchronised pounding of a thousand feet, was created by the Welsh duo Loose Connection. They finished off Saturday night with a performance so electric that it was as though the dancefloor had become a giant, well-oiled machine with hundreds of tiny, fast-moving body parts working in perfect unity. This energy carried over to Sunday, with the main tent ever-teeming with eager ravers, dedicated to celebrating every last minute of the musical offerings. Ankur was the closing act of the festival, forming a monumental psychedelic journey with his innovative style, bringing a brand new sound to a crowd who thought they´d heard it all. 

If the main stage started to prove too much and a more leisurely dancing pace was desired, the dome-shaped Lunar Stage was the place to sway. During the day the atmosphere tended towards a light-hearted family vibe, with children enjoying the range of ambient, minimal techno and progressive tunes as much as their parents. Danish Djane Lisa Lill gave a breath-taking set of dark, foresty progressive beats that inspired a state of dance floor meditation; with soaring crescendos and pumping bass-lines, she secured the validity of female DJs in a mainly male-dominated industry.

A third alternative was the outdoor stage Jack´s House; a converted double-decker bus throwing out some funky electronic sounds, as an option outside the pure full-on psytrance of Cosmo. Some enthusiastic revellers took this idea a step further and set up an impromptu party on the back of a pick-up truck, playing old-school rock and making the most of the beautiful sunshine.

For those who managed to tear themselves away from the dance floor on Saturday night a treat was in store, in the form of a troupe of fire-performers, Mushin, who showcased their debut fire show outside the main stage. Each member brought their own distinct style and flow, with three staff spinners weaving and burning graceful circles through the air, doing justice to the Japenese mental state of mushin; a condition of fighting without emotion that warriors achieve during combat, in which they can dissolve the need for technique and just move with the natural rhythms of their own bodies and experience. The solo poi artist held his own, carving mad shapes with highly technical moves, executed with apparently effortless ease. 

This wasn’t the only alternative to dancing provided. For those that needed time to relax and reflect, a healing area by Jyoti Goddess Healing Space created the perfect environment, with twice daily gentle yoga sessions giving the opportunity to replenish the body and soul away from the bustling crowds. The visual language came into play for any who chose to see, with the Elixir of Life team setting up a tent showing the sacred art of various painters such as Amanda Sage and Daniel Mirante, who aims to convey sympathetic resonance with metaphors and symbols within his work and to give form and vision to the spirit, as a way to connect viewers with their own idea of an inner magic.

So, while the nation will have been celebrating the Queen´s Jubilee, I think it is safe to say that the party of the weekend was on a small field in Taunton, where a thousand happy people were enjoying their own brand of fun in the perfect start to, what will hopefully be, a long and joyful summer.

Via the House

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3 Responses

    • Si says:

      It was a great weekend, very different to the northern circuit, shame about the 2 hour shutdown on Sunday for the jubilee, I’m sure that was led by some councillor or other nimby halfwit and not the organisers. The big chillout marquee was fantastic, £6 for a breakfast is a bit much tho. We’ll be there next year

  1. Psyclops says:

    I thought that the 2nd stage was a bit of a joke to be honest. It wasn’t even 1/3rd of the size it was last year, and although it had a “24 hour music license”, after about midnight the volume was turned down so low that you could literally have a conversation with someone, without shouting, directly in front of the speakers. Sorry, but that’s not what we go to festivals for! Seemed really silly to have such an epic line up for that stage, and then fail on something so basic. Last year the music stopped at 4am, but at least it was a decent volume until then!! I’d rather that, than a “24 hour” music licence that really wasn’t even as loud as a decent car stereo.

    If Cosmo wish to continue next year, they absolutely must find another site. Nobody I know will go back to Taunton Racecourse again, and rightly so if you ask me!! I’m surprised that the review did not mention this, everyone was talking about it, so either it was written from a biased perspective, or the person writing the review didn’t tell the whole truth. Either way, people reading reviews of this festival deserve to know the full truth.

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