All words by Adam ‘King Joo’ Lifshitz
All images by Marc Shane Berman
Equinox’s latest outdoor offering, Expose, took place this past weekend and has become a social media subject for mixed opinions. I, as an avid fan of their previously successful parties, have decided to pay another visit to their latest instalment.
For those of you who have been to the party, you would already know what it offered and have your own take on it. For those who didn’t, the Monday Facebook feed now serves as the ultimate platform for quick updates on everyone’s (mixed) feelings about what went down.
To ease on your attention span, allow me to quickly share my thoughts on the key factors that can make or break an outdoor party experience:
Location – Expose has nested itself in a reasonably nearby venue, 68km out of Cape Town, on the way to Darling. Whilst the venue was utilized effectively, I have to flag that it came short in comparison to the previous venue Equinox has made use of. This time around it was rather barren, with no natural water body nearby and wildly in the open with minimal vegetation. One aspect that always remained a positive aspect in my memory of their parties was their lush green forest experience that sat by a river, and unfortunately this location didn’t quite cut it the same way.
Setup – nonetheless, the setup was great, as expected by the Equinox team. With a great sound system, visual mapping, water misters and one hell of an impressive Chameleon, the amount of effort put into the party was positively notable. However, once again, I feel it came short of their previous parties, where their little touches that really stood out from other parties were now missing (who remembers those lineup Mario blocks, the jumping castles, the popcorn machines?)
Music – I didn’t get a chance to be there for the whole party, but for the time that I was there the music was pretty damn good. Chubunk, Portal vs D-Sciple and Royal Flush were the top favourites in my books, each delivering a rather unique style of their variations of progressive trance, and each act owning the dancefloor appropriately.
People – The party itself attracted a nice and intimate crowd, never packing the dancefloor to an uncomfortable stage, and one could sense a greater sense of harmony between most of its inhabitants, strangers and friends alike.
Now that the blah blah is out the way, let’s talk about the real pressing issue here:
Who let the cops out?
(Image by Ryan Frame)
My stand here is mixed, and I challenge you to share your take on the situation in the comments below.
On the one hand, it seems that parties have gotten to a stage that, whether you like it or not, the cops are required to be there. Outdoor trance parties, not even that long ago, used to be a rather peaceful and safe escape for thousands on a weekly basis. It provided them with a space to let go, immerse themselves into their favourite music experiences and surround themselves with people they love and trust.
Over time, that ‘privilege’ has been abused, to such an extent that the law literally had to step in, where previously we were let be. Drugs, of all kinds, forms and ranging in authenticity have flooded the parties beyond control. They are too readily available, by too many people, and they are being consumed by people who know nothing of them that buy from people they’ve never met in order to chase a feeling they’ve never had.
Sometimes, and lately, that feeling leads to death. It’s harsh to say, but it’s the unfortunate truth. We allow unknown dealers to come to where we were previously safe, and bring in substances that are called one thing but do another thing. Young people, literally fresh out of high school, then allow one another to purchase these unknown drugs and indulge in them, without any prior research, experience or knowledge of what the outcome may or may not be. Risks are being taken more and more by people who literally cannot afford to take them.
What happens when unknown drugs are being dealt at parties in massive quantities and occasionally lead to deaths of young people? The law steps in. Are they right to do so? Abso-fucking-lutely.
Here’s the other hand:
Whilst I understand the need for cops, I don’t necessarily agree with how they enforced their position and role at the party. A friend asked the following: “Why should the masses’ experience be compromised due to the irresponsible choices and mistakes made by a few young people? Why should the majority suffer due to a minority?” I can’t help but agree, but the reality of the situation is purely that.
Rather than just a measure of safety, it truly felt as if this lined-up structure of 8 blues was solely there to throw their power and status around, searching and ridiculing people that literally did nothing wrong, whilst arresting people straight from the dancefloor when caught performing some questionable act. Did you stop some drugs? Barely the dealers, at most just a few consumers. Did you set panic and a constant sense of discomfort for EVERYONE at the dancefloor? You sure did. Could your role have been better played out? You bet (why not stand around the parking lot, looking after cars that are broken into? Why not stand at the gate, testing for drunk driving?)
Why stand on the dancefloor, where you clearly don’t like the music, or its people?
Adios amigos, I’m out.