Psytrance Nation

Living life in a trance.


Photosynthesis Festival WA Hammarica Dot Com

By Damen Smith-Draeko –Photosynthesis is an annual EDM music festival based here in Washington State. It’s a spiritual/psychedelic gathering of artists, vendors, mystics, laymen, fire dancers, and mavens that all come together in the spirit of putting forth the will-to-good-power. It’s not just the party or the music that so many people look forward to every year, but that feeling of a natural connection to the earth, to a softer wholeness that the fresh air, the ocean and mountains, and the history of the region presents. It does sound kinda corny and very hippie, doesn’t it? But that is what it comes down to. This is what I got from speaking with many of the guests and from interviewing many of the artists and performers. And I don’t think it’s corny at all. I think the world would be a distinctly better place if more people thought on these lines of endorsing things like respect for culture, random acts of love, and the quest for individual and community wellness.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

When last we left our hero he, (…er, I) was walking through the rain at around 2:30 AM looking for a spot to set up my tent, a tent I had not even gotten out of the box yet.  With my sneakers already thoroughly permeated by the rain, I walked squishing about in the misty night with my soaky socks from Hell. My head lamp which I’d also gotten at the same time when I had purchased my tent, for some reason did not yet have the strap attached to it. I was pretty certain I’d left it in one of the many bags I’d brought along. I had actually been more certain that I had put the darned thing together before I’d left Seattle, but obviously that had not been the case. Well, at least it was working. I could hold it in my hand while I searched for the greatly anticipated sweet spot with minimal stumbling.


There are two things crucial to starting off a good camping experience:

  1. Get there and set up before dark.
  2. Always have a head lamp.

I walked past a lot of tents, most of them dark. Some of them had eerie lighting and I could see shadows moving about in some of those. Walking about four hundred yards, (366 meters to the metric-capable), I found a spot. It was in between two large, much larger tents, and it looked (as much as I could see) like the perfect location. And anyone knows that the secret to success is…. wait for it…………….. location, location, location.

I was a bit nervous though because, the sound of the ocean just felt foreboding. You see, I am very tsunami-conscious. On our way there in the car, Seth and I saw that there were many signs with tsunami evacuation routes. I did NOT find that comforting. But you know? We all gotta go sometime. No one leaves this existence alive. I did have to fortify myself a bit as I stared into the darkness to where the sound of crashing waves were taunting me. But, as I took in a deep breath, I still felt that this spot would be mine. It was the one.

Seth (DJ Manos) was getting ready for his DNB set at 3:00 when I got the car key from him to get my tent. Oh, and I did find the strap for my head lamp. It was in one of my darned pants pockets after all. But oh, what a paradox that presented. I for the life of me could not figure out how to connect it to the lamp. It was now 3:15 AM. My mind was beginning to shut down. I couldn’t use the light in the dark to connect the light to the strap because I needed the light to see the strap I was trying to connect. Does that make sense? If it does, then you are a much more evolved homo sapien sapien than I am ((am)).

With the headlamp clutched in my teeth, I got the tent out of the box. I laid it out and assessed all of its components. Oh, and here were the directions that read clearly, “Before you take it camping, be sure to set up your tent at home *first*, in case there are missing components.


There are three things crucial to starting off a good camping experience:

  1. Get there and set up before dark.
  2. Always have a head lamp.
  3. Set your new tent up at home first * before* camping.


It took a bit, but I had that darned tent set up within 30 minutes.

Yeah, I was wet. I was sleepy, but I felt quite accomplished. After setting up my air mattress, unfolding my sleeping bag, and getting all of my things – running into three friends together along the way – Natasha, Tye, and DJ Night Train, I turned in, snuggled within my tent, listening to Seth’s DNB set in the distance, with the backdrop of rain drops and ocean waves, falling asleep.

Tomorrow would be most interesting.
Tomorrow the interviews….