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From Totemystik to Totemystake

July 28, 2017

Before reading this article know this, yes a few hundred people stayed on the sight of "Totemystik" but these were mostly the participants from the various collectives and sound-systems, the festival did not go on, but they had to make the best of what they had or all the effort for planning and travelling would of been for nothing. Everyone from all the crews were very disappointed that they could not fulfill their mission.

We from No Borders TV also tried to contact the organizers of the event so we could hear their story but in the end we received no answer.


Totemystik was suppose to be a Festival in south of France with over 8000 participants.

Last year the festival took place at Bellegarde near the southern coast and was meant to be the same location for 2017.

In February we were asked to participate documenting the various stages, acts and the overall party; we quickly accepted.

A week before our departure, articles on French media started spreading the news that the Mairie of Bellegarde did not accept for the festival to go on, but this did not worry us at first because we were told that something similar happened the year before and the Festival went on as planned.


Later in the week a post on Facebook by Totem Productions suggested they were going to go on with the event.


On the 21st of July we left Holland and travelled about 1000 km towards Bellegarde, but on our way we were informed that there had been a change of location and we had to head nearby Sisteron.

From then on the journey was very stressful and up hill, one of the team took a dangerous and unstable road to get to the site while others were sent through a better route to get there, but how could over 8000 people arrive without having any problems?

At the arrival, news of the cancellation was spreading quickly, but rumours of possibly continuing the party with only the permission of the landowner made many people want to stay and wait for something to happen.

At the same time another sound-system from the Tekno movement decided to make a party at an other location for the thousands of people that still had not arrived at the site.

On the first night, the people that decided to stay were blessed by a great circus show from the No Strukture crew with various performances such as trapeze, juggling, and other amazing acts.

Everyone had a great smile on their face at the end of the show as Chris thanked everyone and gave a special salute to Joyce.

 Friday started with a big question mark. The rumours were multiplying but while no music was being played, the few hundred people that decided to stay got to know each other and spend time together; the overall situation was very friendly.

That day organizers from the sound decided to start putting some music on the monitor speakers, this wasn’t exactly what people expected but it was good enough (especially when the monitor speakers where over 18kw). Various artists that were suppose to play at the festival had already arrived at the site before the cancellation and most of them performed through the night.

 Saturday morning the party vibe was on and news of Ed Cox and Freddy Frog on their way there got everyone very exited. On their arrival, Freddy Frog started of with a very funky live-set and after that a very simple and bold guy came towards the speakers and took out his fantastic harmonica, everyone was very exited.

His set was a delightful relief for everyone and after his show many people went to thank him and you could se he was honestly happy about all the compliments.

Now it really seemed worthwhile staying at the “Festival” but one thing was bothering everyone. The gigantic sound system in front of everyone’s eyes that still hadn’t been turned on since the arrival had become a visual torture. As everyone happily shared moments and feeling they also kept asking the same question…”When is this fucking sound system turning on?”

 Finally on Saturday afternoon word that the sound was going to be turned on that night was travelling very fast and in the early evening, as the crew started to prepare and equalize the sound, most of the remaining participants waited impatiently to hear the Lambda Labs. One of the Tekno artists that was suppose to play at the original festival, Ling Ling, came to the party and also decided to stay, in fact he had offered to play on

the sound for first and set up all of his equipment on cardboard layers on the floor.


Everyone was on edge as the sound-system finally showed some sign of life. At first a white but very clean noise could be heard around, every now and then sounds of Tekno music was played on the speakers to test the quality.

The sun set and total darkness surrounded the area. The crew started to turn on the various lights to brighten up the dance-floor, the Lambda Labs sound and the awesome decorations made by La Goache Family.

 When the sound finally turned on many people ran towards the front of the sound, but this didn’t last long, the system was very clear and very powerful, to stay directly under the speakers was impossible and  from a long distance our bodies would vibrate as like a pleasant internal massage.

Ling Ling’s set was a fantastic live to start of the night beginning with some Acid Core and then going in to some Funky Acid Tekno to lighten the mood. Following his set other two very known artist in the Tekno scene started setting up their machines, first Enko and then Asphalt Pirates.

On the awakening of Sunday the sound was still on and would stay like that until around 2 in the afternoon, the party ended that night. Police could be seen at the entrance of the party every now and then, sometimes they would try to stop people from entering, other times they would just stand or walk through the site, but overall they didn’t create to many problems, and on the last day three policemen walked around people's 

campervans to ask if they found a walkie-talkie they had lost that day around the area.

Although there were only a few hundred people that stayed throughout the weekend, everyone we talked to where glad that the situation evolved the way it did, yes of course the other party went on as planned and thousands of people participated to it, but everyone enjoyed the special bonds that were made possible. For us it was a great way to meet people that wanted to join the team. On this last day there had been a meeting between the original organizers of the Festival and the people who had participated with the event, while we listened we finally understood that most of the people where disappointed and angry with the overall organization, in fact one person made a special request to change the name of the event from Totemystik to Totemystake, a loud laugh echoed through the meeting, and we knew that everyone agreed with this comedic change of name.

To terminate this article, here are two photos of long skins that were probably suppose to be soled at the Festival, we think that these pictures speaks for them selfs.




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