THE GATHERINGS OF THE CYBERTRIBES
The new tribes
The vision of the cybertribes links the understanding of old cultures
with the knowledge of today. It links the experiences of witches,
resistance fighters and reality hackers to use them for our age
now and develop them for the future. Personal development and social
change merge into a new unity.
The cybertribe vision neither stands for a determined principle
of organisation, nor for dogmatic ideologies. And even the projects
don’t have to call themselves cybertribe to realise certain
elements of their vision. It is more about tribes in the sense of
gatherings, projects and communities, using contemporary technologies
for interaction, symbolised and summarised in the “cyber”
These post-modern tribes, in all their different focuses, set flexible
networks, based on self-determination and equality, against the
predominant authoritarian structures. They emerge wherever there
is a new consciousness against manipulation, solidarity against
competition and a politics of resistance against the process of
You find elements of the cybertribe vision in many fields. For example,
urban political activists in the Australian outback joining groups
of Aborigines to fight against the destruction of the environment
through the mining of uranium. They use traditional rituals such
as electronic music and modern media. The psychonauts of today use
both plant entheogens and relatively new psychedelic substances
for their trips into the inner cosmos. As an ideal, Techno or Goa
parties are consistent with these original trance rituals where
today’s electronic instruments are being played instead of
The individual cybertribes in their many shapes are an outcry and
an uprising against the omnipresent exploitation of man and nature.
They can also be regarded as a kind of escape or the proverbial
dance on the volcano with regard to the current ecological and social
It seems very unlikely in the current structures of power to achieve
sustainable changes. But every single person is responsible for
making change possible, by being the spanner in the works and not
the grease that keeps the destructive process alive. Many projects
that act in the spirit of the cybertribe vision show the necessity
and concrete possibilities to react and develop free spaces, where
at least a rudimentary but different life is possible.
Music, Mind and Politics
The cybertribe vision finds analogy in some underground culture
projects such as Techno or in the Goa Psytrance culture. In the
90s the attitude towards life for a huge part of the younger generation
was reflected in those scenes and parties. New musical forms of
expression and a certain feeling of community shaped the cultural
evolution in those days as did the Trance experience, dancing for
hours and using psychoactive substances.
The Psytrance scene opened up an even wider understanding of partying
that was originally based on a holistic concept. The scene contributed
important impetuses for alternative cultural developments and personal
self-fulfilment. Unfortunately, the Goa scene, after some inspiring
years, has meanwhile passed its peak and is now entangled in a mesh
of clichés, consumerism and commerce.
With this background in mind, reflective discussions about these
developments are necessary – and they have to go far beyond
the discussions about new trends in music evolution. Another option
is to intensify the development of networks so as to promote exchange
and a synergetic concentration of energy. An example of this is
the trance scene, “Sonic Cybertribe Network”, putting
alternative and idealistic projects that originate in the party
culture into practice. The crucial essence is the constant development
of an understanding that combines cultural and political aspects.
This understanding can be found in the “Connecta” concept
which is based on the linkage of music, mind and politics. Besides
the music programme, many more elements are incorporated in this
concept such as workshops, sessions, discussions and cinema shows
and also political information and actions. This concept breaks
the predominant consumerist attitude by offering chances for active
participation. It fosters reflective disputes and critical engagement
and offers a wide space for hedonist and creative development.
The Connecta concept is reflected in the “Gathering of the
Tribes” festivals that look back on a manifold tradition.
The idea of the gathering of tribes is like a red line in history
– from the gatherings of indigenous tribes to the psychedelic
gatherings of the Hippies to the counter-cultural events of the
We are able to reach the stars
The “Gathering of the Tribes” in Frankfurt started in
2005 as an annual Goa festival and represented not only the creative
aspects of this scene but its stagnation as well. After two years,
the festival opened itself up and hooked up with the “Join
the Cybertribe” festivals that had taken place years before
in the Signalwerk in Mainz in keeping with the “Connecta”
concept. With regard to its development, this gathering is exemplary
for an innovative perspective of the Psytrance scene.
Integral parts of those gatherings were panel discussions about
the roots of the psychedelic culture and the relation between party
and politics. People were led to become involved in important discussions
that usually only very rarely happens in alternative party scenes.
Other crucial elements that broke with the usual focus on the DJs
were the children’s parties in the afternoon and the presentation
of different cybertribe projects.
The music programme, mostly designed by Space Frogz, was put together
to include not only Psytrance DJs and Electro acts but also political
Rock bands and experimental Ambient projects. The playground offered
the chance to participate in open drum as well as juggling sessions
under the motto be-your-own-live-act. Exhibitions showed pictures
of the reclaim-the-streets actions. Video documentaries gave information
on squats and the resistance movement against neo-liberal globalisation.
You could have attended workshops for Trance-dance and meditation.
What is more, the Alice project led coordinated sessions on mature
use of drugs.
The concept of music, mind and politics was completed with a spontaneous
night-dance demonstration parade with mobile sound systems in Frankfurt’s
inner city area. By using the motto “Free Tibet - No Gods,
No Masters!“ the action was just as equally against dictatorial
regimes and feudal-religious views of the world.
The “Gathering of the Tribes” events make clear what
is possible when free spaces are created that are not only restricted
to a single scene but see themselves as an expression of a multifarious
culture of change. The symbol-like stars will become reality when
we manage to live the visions of a different world in the reality
of the present.
Tom Rom and Pascal Querner (Ed).:
– 20 Years of Psychedelic Trance
Beats and Copied Spirits
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