Universo Paralello # 8 - The New Years Festival Of Brazil

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12y 4m#1

Universo Paralello 2007: New Years Eve in Brazil
Tom Rom

It was a crowd of about 8000 fraggles that got together on the world`s biggest
Psytrance Festival Universo Paralello for celebrating New Years Eve 2007. Almost
2000 working crowds, Brazilian and international artists and shop people served
6000 dancing aliens from all over Brazil as well as all over the world. There
were less visitors this year in comparison to last year as Organizer Alok said.
The reason is that the organizers Alok and Swarup want to stay away from any
commercialization. The didn`t allow banners and posters of local or
international companies. Other non-trance-festivals spread 10000s of flyers all
over Brazil and attracted more parts of the electronic crowds this year while UP
didn`t even hand out one flyer in Brazil. The result was a higher concentration
of the real Goa crowd and more than 20% international guests. On the other hand
the festival turned to be bigger in infrastructure, in stages, in market stalls
and music. It was the 8th UP this year. UP started 2000 in Alto Paraiso, a small
artist and spiritual place in the state of Goias but was transferred in 2003 to
the state of Bahia because of the gorgeous beach location and less rain. The
couple of short rain showers this year were more a relief than a drag.
The villagers around the festival are profiting from the festival a lot. From
food supply, shadow makers, shops and helping hands – the festival provides an
important source of income for the whole region. Even the local police have the
chance to work as life guards for the security of swimmers in the warm sea. The
absence of any the fraggles bothering police is also a very convenient attribute
of this festival. In 7 days at the festival I have seen no violence, no police,
no problems and no annoying people. Security guards didn`t bother and were
patrolling around the festival borders to ensure a safe stay. Also the medical
tent was more like a hospital with almost 20 separate rooms for treating the
people`s sunburns and injuries. Doctors and nurses guaranteed a medical care
equal to the hospital in the near town of Itupera. From band aids to injections
and infusions to treat sun allergies – I haven`t seen such a fast and accurate
medical supply on a festival so far. A great idea was the 24 hours guarded
locker tent to get rid of the problem to watch valuables all the time. I haven`t
heard of any theft or break-in into tents on the festival while some people
reported burglaries in pousadas in Itupera outside of the festival while they
were on the festival.

The location of UP is set amidst a huge coconut plantation with 1000s of coconut
trees directly on one of Brazils most beautiful beaches – in Pratigi Beach near
the small-town of Itubera, about 200 km south of Bahia`s capital Salvador. In
the middle of nowhere the organizers built a trance-city which can be only
compared with Boom Festival. 5 stages pumped super-clear music for 7 days. The
mainfloor was beautifully decorated with a whole universe of light, lasers, huge
Buddha images on the beach and a huge backdrop showing 12 Indian gods. A great
idea was the trampoline in front of the main-floor to jump up to unknown highs.
The huge chillout tent on the beach was a dream made of natural palm leaves and
wood. This year the organizers established 3 new stages – the parallel stage
with lots of different Brazilian music styles and Reggae, the alternative stage
with electro, house and minimal and the Goa stage with old-school, full-on and
dark tunes. The line-up consisted of hundreds of live-acts and DJs – too many to
mention them here. Most came from Brazil but also many internationally
well-known artists such as Ace Ventura, Hujaboy, Tristan, Atmos, Dimitri, Joti
Sidhu, Deedrah, Etnica, Rastaliens and many more. The range of different styles
reached from the fluffiest progressive over super-psy space tunes to the darkest
psy-metal. For guiding into 2008 the organizers chose the excellent electro
break-beat sound magician Gaudi from UK – accompanied by circus-like
psy-performers on the Buddha stage right on the beach. The psy-performers walked
across the stages and from one stage to another shocking and delighting the
dancing crowds with their alien appearance.
For the incredibly hot and sunny days lots of shade places in tents were
provided – for workshops from all kinds of meditation, rituals to poi workshops.
The psy-cinema showed interesting movies during the nights. All kinds of
holistic treatments completed the festival`s offers. The festival guide offered
so many activities that a month would have been necessary to attend just the
most important. Also the children area was kind of an adventurous place for the
younger ones not yet ready for the dance-floors.
I expected the prices in bars and restaurants a lot higher than they really
were. Even if some Brazilians complained about them, the prices in the outside
world in Brazil seemed mostly higher than on the festival itself. The newly
installed bon system for different kinds of drinks and food guaranteed a fast
service at the bars and shops. 1,50 Euro for a beer and around 3 – 5 Euro for a
huge portion of food didn`t seem too expensive. Water was only 80 Euro-Cent for
half a liter and so cheaper than any alcohol on the festival.
One of the most amazing things on UP were the super-clean toilets and showers. I
haven`t seen such a great service yet so far – not even on the biggest festivals
in Europe. Hundreds of showers and toilets were cleaned permanently almost
around the clock by a huge crowd of cleaning people.
Very important for the organizers is the care for environmental affairs and to
comply with all regulations of the national environmental authority IBAMA. The
area outside the festival location is a national preservation area and had to be
kept free of people – so trucks had to take the fraggles a few kilometers
through atlantic forest to the beach. Unfortunately this led to long waiting
times at the festival entrance at the starting day. The organizers promised to
leave the area even cleaner than it was before the festival.
To wrap it up – UP 2007 is surely in a row with the best 5 psy-trance festivals
in the world. The message of the festival – as organizer Alok stated – is to
open up the trance scene to other scenes, to the world and spread the spirit
around the globe – trance is to find anywhere in the world and there are lots of
docking opportunities to other forms of spirituality, social life forms and
sustainable ways of living and experiencing the cosmic energy – and this should
be realized without selling the psytrance spirit to sponsors and any form of
commercialization – that`s what the spirit of Universo Paralello is trying to
show – with great success as anybody could see on this marvelous festival.

Tom Rom
Trancoso/Brazil - Austria
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