ZNA Gathering – Interview with Pedro Carvalho
Over the past two decades Portugal has come to be known as a preferred destination of psytrance culture, mostly due to the notorious Boom festival. But there’s much more than Boom happening in Portugal during the festival season, a smaller gathering that provides a lovely alternative to the giant festivals and in it’s own way preserves the “what it used to be like” approach and spirit of the world-wide underground psytrance scene. We are talking about That ZNA Gathering Festival, started by non other than Pedro Carvalho, one of the originators of Boom. We hooked up via email with Pedro for an interview to learn more about the festival taking place in 2017 between August 22-28.
Get all the info on ZNA Gathering: https://trancentral.tv/2017/03/zna-gathering-festival
“We felt that psy trance festivals and parties were losing the original flavour becoming each day more and more like a product instead of the initial Celebration of freedom through music and dance that took us all to higher states of collective consciousness.”
Q: ZNA Gathering – what does ZNA stand for? What is the vision behind the festival?
A: The ZNA is a strand that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all Zambu living organisms. It’s similar to what you may know as DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid. But there is a slight difference. Some of us have been exposed to huge amounts of psychedelic emotions back in the nineties, many of us in the famous “fluoresta do Zambujal”, where countless parties, and the 3 first editions of the Boom Festival took place. These people are referred to as “ZambujAliens” or “Zambu”. In this magic place and situation, many of us re-activated this extra link in our molecular sequence, and nothing was the same, ever again.
The ZNA Gathering aims to bring feelings and sounds from the recent past back to life in a very friendly atmosphere, through special outdoor gatherings. Events were energy and communication flow in a retro-futuristic way. In a Special location, under the shade of trees, in the middle of protected nature and surrounded by an idyllic lake, this Gathering is built with love by dancers for dancers.
For us it’s about highlighting the energy and vibration off all the participants. The dancers are the energy; the dancers are the key…
Q: You were one of the original people behind Boom Festival, and a big part of its identity from 1997 till 2004. What are the most important things you’ve learned from your Boom journey?
A: Well it was a real adventure, and I learned countless lessons. On a professional level, I learned flexibility, integrity and a positive can-do attitude, and of course many specific techniques and tasks.
On a philosophical point of view, I’ve learnt the importance of friendship and love and the curse of fame, power and ego.
Q: You have also been a part of many other festivals and parties – can you tell us a bit about that?
A: Well, I have the natural tendency to get myself involved in party making. Most of the people I know live in this Trance world. I guess my experience and reputation got around and I was blessed with multiple opportunities to create and help generate some great Parties/Festivals around the world.
Anyone who knows me personally, knows this is what my life is all about. Some people’s lives are about a search for something… Well ‘ve found my thing, and am happy about every day!
“First of all we have the best weather conditions in Europe.
Second, we still are one of the affordable and one of the safest places to travel in the world. And third, we do know how to throw the best parties in town ;)”
Q: What are 3 major things you take with you from these experiences into ZNA Gathering?
A: Experience, dedication, method and Heart. And courage, tons of courage.
Q: ZNA focuses on music and artists and DJs from the early period of Goa and Psychedelic Trance – why is that? How do you feel this affects the atmosphere of the festival?
A: We felt that psy trance festivals and parties were losing the original flavour becoming each day more and more like a product instead of the initial Celebration of freedom through music and dance that took us all to higher states of collective consciousness. So, as confessed psy addicts, we owe it to ourselves to create a moment every 2 years where people who share the same passion can enjoy, share and live a trance party without the typical pressure of momentary trends and growing crowds associated with the bigger, more comprehensive Trance festivals.
And when you build a dream without the fear of being different from everyone else, either magic or disaster happens. Well, in our case we were fortune enough to be blessed with magic!
In order to implement our philosophy and vision, we concluded that having artists from the 90´s would be one of the main strategies in order to guarantee not only our path/mission but also the possibility to generate something we felt was lost in the scene… That amazing euphoric feeling of being exposed to something unique and true. These Artists, in the right stage, have the skills to bring back to all of us the feeling we once felt in love of or the opportunity to make younger generations to experience it for the 1st time and become aware of this reality.
ZNA Gathering 2017 line up:
Q: Do you remember the first party you went to? What was the effect on you? What is still present in ZNA Gathering from that experience?
A: Hill top Goa, 1992, how could I ever forget!!! It is precisely because of this day I do what I do. The absolute fantastic transformation this day gave my life is still in progress.
I’m motivated by providing other people with such a life changing experience, and by the smiles I saw that day…
Q: What kind of people come to ZNA?
A: We gather a diverse, amazing kind of crowd. The majority of the people are old-school / Goa Trance lovers. However, a big part of our public are dancers that used to attend Trance parties, and who for many different reasons had stopped attending them. And they come to ZNA because they know they will find a friendly and familiar atmosphere while they become once again the party animals they once were hahaha.
More and more we have been blessed to host many families who choose our Gathering as their summer vacation, while enjoying much more than “just” a dancefloor.
Q: Why do you think Portugal is such a welcoming home for Psytrance?
A: First of all we have the best weather conditions in Europe.
Second, we still are one of the affordable and one of the safest places to travel in the world.
And third, we do know how to throw the best parties in town 😉
Q: Should people coming to the festival spend some time in Portugal? Any recommendation?
A: Yes, they Must! Lisbon has been voted as one of the best cities to travel in the word. We have an amazing history and culture as well as some of the best beaches in Europe. Last but not least we have amazing food. People here will be delighted with the quality and variety of the wines and our typical cuisine.
We do suggest all the travellers to enjoy 2 or 3 days in Lisbon and if they can, and spend more time looking around. They should also consider visiting Sintra which is 30Km by car from the capital.
We have an amazing coastline between Lisbon and Sagres which offers all types of accommodations and restaurants
If you are interested in finding a cultural Portugal, you should not miss places like Tomar, Obidos, Guimarães, Oporto and the Douro region.
Anyway, we are very excited about hosting everyone who decides to come and celebrate the roots of our scene in the shores of the majestic Montargil Lake with us.