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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Unleash the sesh gremlins! Sunset Campout, California’s clubbing paradise


Unleash the sesh gremlins! Sunset Campout, California’s clubbing paradise

Delivered... Jemayel Khawaja | Scene | Mon 12 Aug 2019 10:00 am

With its mix of hippies, techno heads and hikers, this party deep in California’s gold rush country has resisted creeping commercialisation

The narrow road to Belden Town, California (population: 22), careens through hairpin turns, down a thousand feet of craggy grey stone to the white-tipped rushes of the Feather River. The only other vehicle for miles is a train running parallel, barrelling through tunnels blown into the mountainside. During the gold rush of the 1800s, a few boomtowns sprang up in the area. Now they are lonely outposts. But for one weekend a year, they host one of the west coast’s most durable and cherished party institutions: Sunset Campout. It’s like an early 90s acid rave meets Westworld meets Oregon Trail, and its story goes back 25 years.

In 1994, a teenage Bay Area upstart named Galen Abbott traded in his dreams of Olympic swimming for a set of DJ decks. The son of hippies and a newfound resident of the famed alt-culture haven of Haight Street, he was activated by the still-nascent San Francisco acid house rave scene, the transplanted UK party crew Wicked, and Future Sound of London’s track Papua New Guinea. Despite his enthusiasm, Galen’s homemade mixtapes – still actually tapes back then – couldn’t get him booked at any parties, legal or otherwise. A “psychedelic epiphany” at the nearby Berkeley Marina inspired him to throw his own event at that very spot, and Sunset Sound System – a free, weekly, renegade daytime picnic rave – was born.

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