EXPERIENCE BY JARIN LOVE
From its hand-crafted car, stage and structure art, to its costume-adorned throngs, to its earth-shaking sets… YOUtopia stood its ground this year as the most sought after regional Burner event in Southern California.
Arriving on Saturday, day three of the four day festival, parking and entry were easy. I was immediately greeted with warmth, hospitality and an undeniably welcoming spirit. Having attended countless events over the years, I can say enthusiastically that YOUtopia’s vibe greets you at the door. Almost like some virtual hug sending you off like a mother waving her child into to the first day of school. Backpack, food, gear in tote.
While casually waiting at the shuttle stop, a YOUtopia Waldo member provided me with not only my location, camp information, and volunteer awareness resources, but even better… infectiously pleasant company. Shuttles loaded to full capacity kept passing us by and even though I was open to walking, I knew Space was a solid hour-plus hike with gear. Just as I was preparing to step off, a veteran DJ and YOUtopia headliner introduced himself as he was exiting the event and asked if I needed assistance. Before I could blink, he flagged down a golf cart, said farewell, and off I went.
Stephanie, the sweet soul who golf-carted my ass to the farthest camp away, Space Command, couldn’t have set the tone any better. The culture of the event was instantly apparent; we stopped every 50 feet to hug friends, chat with volunteers… it truly felt like a family. Even though I was new to the community, I never felt like an outsider. I was welcomed with open arms. Stephanie was a true light, setting a shining example for others to emulate. She stopped to help everyone, whether for a lift, a water or just to have a real, heartfelt conversation. Our ride together was one of the highlights of my YOUtopia experience. Thank you for showing the way, angel.
Landing at Space Command is a feeling that’s hard to forget. A sensation so new, yet so close to home. Overwhelming and inviting at the same time. Like stepping into another dimension.
Eric Anderson, one of Space’s founders, said, “YOUtopia is a place of individualization through participation. Individually, you must participate to get the full experience. 2016 is when I got my first taste and that is all I needed, its absolutely addictive.”
I had a few hours before my set that night with DeepAura, so I did what any rational person would do in a place like this: went exploring. As I made my way around a few of the stages, one thing quickly struck me: DJ’s seemed to play with more creativity and originality than what you tend to see at a typical house venue, or even other festivals. Rare music was everywhere. And it was good. Really good.
Unconstrained by the restrictions applied by some of the bigger venues and promoters, artists were free to truly express themselves. This created something so different, so special—it was in the air. Something vibrant, ethereal. Contagious. Felt by everyone there. And it didn’t stop at the stages. It swirled throughout the festival, peaking its crafty little head at you around every corner: live art exhibitions, body painting, art cars, art bars, tents, lounges, costumes and skin. A true journey for the senses.
But YOUtopia really came alive once the sun went down. The music shifted gears and the place set fire. Became tribal. Got louder.
Space Command’s founders, Eric Anderson, and Josh and Heather Scott, invited DeepAura to take the Saturday evening performances, and I had the pleasure of opening. It was an honor to represent my esteemed colleagues at DeepAura and set the mood for the evening (listen to my full set: HERE)
Micheal Veigh, Space Command’s operations chief and right-hand man, had this to say about DeepAura’s performance:
"But then when the DeepAura crew took over the night at 10 p.m., something amazing happened. The subtlety and beauty of the music was overwhelming. A 'great party' turned into spiritual experience. When Crescendoll got into her set at midnight, I stood behind her on stage, and watched dozens of people of both sexes cry tears of joy as they danced. The music and the moment was THAT beautiful. That was a unicorn. That moment was the reason I became a DJ in the first place, and that’s what I’ve been hoping for at the parties I’ve promoted and attended. You can’t force, fake, predict or manufacture those moments. They just happen.”
A moment in time, in a world full of uncertainty and turmoil, a place where people can put aside their differences and remember that we are all truly one family sharing this cosmic gift of a planet we call home… it’s a pretty special thing. Maybe we need it. Maybe it serves as a reminder of why we’re still here, in spite of ourselves. Solidarity and compassion are not just important for human evolution, they are vital to our very survival as a species. To our future. To our children’s future. They are what makes us human. To YOUtopia and my new friends at Space, you embody this. Thank you. You have my heart.
Relive our sacred moment at La Cave in Orange County on November 29 as DeepAura and Space Camp reunite once again for MDA Wednesdays. More details can be found on the FB event page.
I was able to catch up with Holliday, founder of DeepAura Music and Eric Anderson, founder of Space Command and asked them about their upcoming show with MDA.
“DeepAura has had some incredible memories every time we've been booked with our MDA family. MDA is truly special in OC, as they really do support the local artists and also bring all sides of the musical spectrum together. 11/29 is furthermore going to be special, we're revisiting the fun energies from YOUtopia, two members from each DeepAura & SPACE will be uniting in the musical travels of the night! It's going to be a cosmic experience of the underground sounds and gatherings vibes, balanced in motion for the night!” - Holliday, DeepAura
“MDA and playing La Cave is a DJ bucket list for me. I love what MDA does for the scene, I'm truly honored to be able to play in the Rave Cave with our closest collaborators DeepAura. 11/29/17 will be a night to love and cherish.” - Eric Anderson, Space