The Origins of Psytrance Culture

Goa beach psychedelic music

Full Moon Party in South Anjuna 1977, photo: Sunny Schneider

The origins of the psytrance culture can be traced back to the hippie culture of the ’60s. At that time, Goa became a true hippie destination. Hippies from all over the world were traveling to Goa, some of them taking very long bus journeys from Europe. Many came to stay in Goa for months, for years, some of them for the rest of their lives.


Bus stop at Baga Beach

Bus stop at Baga Beach

psytrance origins in goa beach

In the 1960s, Goa was simply a tropical paradise with no hotels and without tourists. Everything was basic: just natural life and live music.

At Goan beach in the 1970s, psychedelic trance party

At Goan beach in the 1970s

The first parties in Goa were very different from psytrance parties. Electronic music was not born yet and many rock bands performed here. During the 1970s, the first Goa DJs played psychedelic rock: The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, and The Doors. 

Full Moon Party in South Anjuna, 1978

Full Moon Party in South Anjuna, 1978

Full Moon Party psytrance vibes in goa

Full Moon Party in South Anjuna in the 70s

In 1979, Kraftwerk was the first electronic dance music to be played at Goan parties. In 1983, DJs Laurent and Fred Disko, closely followed by Goa Gil, began switching to the newly-emerging Goa style.

Beach party in Goa

Beach party in Goa

By the end of the 1980s, electronic music defined the scene. Goa became the world center of electronic music, and Goa trance music was born. By 1990–91 Goa had become a popular destination for partying, and Goa-style parties spread all over the planet. 

First VuuV 1991 in Germany

First VuuV 1991 in Germany

In 1991 the first VooV was organized in Germany. It started as a small party with about 100 people, organized by friends returning from Goa. It had the name VuuV Experience for years, evolving ownership and location, and has since grown to the VooV Festival. 

VooV Festival is now the biggest festival in Europe and the oldest remaining festival of psytrance culture. In August 2021, VooV celebrated its 30th Anniversary!

VooV Experience 2021 in Germany, photo by VooV Experience

VooV Experience 2021 in Germany, photo by VooV Experience

Another story of the biggest festival of psytrance culture started in the summer of 1999 when Hungary witnessed a total solar eclipse. Eclipses often draw people to celebrate the event and energy and this one was no different. One guy named Fish decided to make a big festival in a small place in the middle of nowhere in Hungary called Ozora. Thousands of people from all around the world gathered in a unique celebration! 

Ozora festival psytrance music

Solipse 1999 at Ozora, photo by Merlin Bolton-Smyth.

View to the Ozora Festival of psytrance culture music trippy art

View to Ozora Festival, photo by Ambio Photography

In 2019 Ozora festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Around 35,000 people from all continents attended the anniversary festival. In 2021 DAAD Gathering took place on the Ozora grounds. 

Nowadays, psytrance culture is a global phenomenon, spread all over the planet. The culture that was born in Goa as small parties grew into worldwide festivals with millions of people involved. Boom, Ozora, Universo Parallelo, VooV, Origins, and Hill Top Festival are top-quality events with a great production level. 

We can say that psytrance culture now has its own identity, which has an expression through multiple genres of psytrance music, various festivals, and countless parties. Psytrance culture has its material expression through psychedelic art and trance fashion. The marketplace has become an indispensable place at every festival. 

Many designers of psytrance fashion from all over the planet have their shops at the festivals, moving from one to another during festival season. 

On the festival marketplace, you can find goa clothes, items of trance and rave fashion, festival accessories, festival pockets belts, fine jewelry, and specialty items for your home decoration, most of which are unique and handmade.


We are looking forward to celebrating life at the European festival season 2022!  


This article uses photos from the “I Love Goa” Facebook page.

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