We call it desert …
Iran, this vast country with such marked paradoxes, is the source of many fantasies.
Fantasy in the true sense of the word, ie an idea, an imaginary representation suggested by the unconsciousness.
How not to get ideas when secrecy and censorship operate so much in a country. How not to make imaginary representations when all images about it are filtered or transformed by the Western media.
This with a curious mind that we arrived in Iran, fantasizing about being able to participate in a free party, something totally in opposition to the current regime and the values that it defends.
It was for us the highlight we wanted to reach in this country, aware of the fact that we needed to be able to do it.
We will succeed.
We will have had the joy of being able to participate in a free party at the rhythm of techno in the country of the mullahs.
The organization of free parties consists in defining your own rules, your own space with your own content for a weekend or several days.
This is the idea of temporary autonomous zone (in reference to Hakim Bey’s eponymous booklet, available in pdf: http://nomadism.org/pdf/taz.pdf ).
A form of organization that is put in place to be able to perpetuate a movement, in our case, the holidays.
There is no politics, no ideology, no stated goal.
Every action must have a reason, an objective or even a return in our societies.
Free feasts do not have any.
You go to a place unveiled at the last minute to dance on the techno of the hours and without distinction of class, color or ideas between the participants.
It’s a modern trance.
At the rhythm of techno, lights and collective training, the mind reaches a form of unconsciousness letting the body dance as it sees fit.
What sounds like loud nagging for some is more of a psychic and physical experience that once lived marks one forever.
This openness to oneself and others, calls into question the dogmas of society, opens the eyes to the superficiality and intolerance with which it is governed.
Perceived in various ways by each, these collective meetings leave no one indifferent.
This gathering within these festivals makes you want to live your life with more freedom, and the techno is the hymn.
But this thirst for freedom and autonomy does not go hand in hand with society that can not afford to let a few people set their own rules this way.
There may be no purpose in these evenings but the result engenders fright to governments: people come to think and organize themselves.
These evenings are therefore demonized by politicians, all supported by the media.
And yet, these parties are a blow off valve for society. Many of us do not live on the sidelines, contrary to what they believe. Everybody needs, from time to time, to renew simpler links with others, without marketing ideas or result. To let go of his body, without complexes and without restraint, all in a place not governed by strict rules and patronisation.
These moments help society be more breathable.
Free party actors do not aspire to change the world. We do not make that claim. We just want to make our contribution, something that seems more humane to us and not subject to the dictates of this violent society.
In our team, we find ourselves through these codes, this music, this way of exchanging.
It is on this path that we are committed to sharing. In order to offer our part “to get better”, with our grain of madness.
Much more than a diversion, it is for us, a way of life and a culture that allows us to anchor ourselves in this world.
It is with this spirit that we start as discreetly as possible in the search for contacts with whom to truly enter Iran.
We will be helped by a friend we met at the party in Turkey. She will put us in touch with an acquaintance of hers who will be able to direct us to people invested in the techno movement in Iran.
It is important to stress the importance of contacts in Iran.
First of all because for us, Europeans, this country is hard to decipher. Habits, religion and prohibitions are very different.
The language barrier is also a big problem. Few people speak English, and a very simple query can quickly turn into a very tiring exercise.
The “two worlds”, that of the public sphere and that of the private sphere are only comprehensible by the help of an Iranian who can explain.
Indeed, as we have been told several times during this Iranian journey “here, everything is forbidden, but anything is possible”. The Iranians have developed a capacity to juggle this public and private life.
The Persians have a culture of benevolence and mutual help that exceeds all hope. If they help you, they do it one hundred percent and expect nothing in return. So if you find a contact with whom speaks the same language as you, even if he does not know you, will be happy to help you or to redirect you to a friend of his.
Beyond our quest for the free party, our new Iranian friends have really offered us a turning point in our journey. They will have helped us pretty much for everything! Find a sim card, a good camp, a garage, fuel for trucks (and for us)…
This has allowed us to enjoy more of this country which can quickly prove tiring if you leave the usual tourist circuits.
After many adventures and an overheated whatssap, we have an appointment in early October in a traditional old castle in the desert.
This is where we find the organizers of the party who we will join the next day.
The idea is to get close to the party the day before, to meet all together, as well as meet some of the party peeps to polish the last details and prepare for the day.
They explain the conception of such a party.
Participants are all friends, or knowledgeable about them, and can join the party only by invitation via encrypted email.
Discretion and the work underground are the primary reasons for the smooth running of this gathering.
These notions of network and hidden organization are common to all free parties, although have been erased in our countries on the pretext of openness, but here they are of paramount importance for everyone’s security.
We must put things into context and be aware that under the Iranian regime, meeting and dancing on music not approved by the government is strictly forbidden.
The risks involved are major and can quickly lead to prison.
We are immersed in this atmosphere that we know well in an environment that we discover.
The old castle renovated for tourist purposes is beautiful. Traditional architecture is enhanced by warm lights.
We mingle with our new friends and feel the excitement that comes with the discussion.
Suddenly a music group enters the courtyard of our building and enchants us with a traditional concert. We are aware of how lucky we are to experience this. We would not have been in this kind of place without the pretext of this party, living in our trucks and having all the necessary comfort, we do not have the reflex to look for that.
It’s time to go to sleep, tomorrow is going to be a big day… and I’m already thinking about the difficulty of access that the heavy weight will have in the desert…
We wake up in this beautiful setting early in the morning. The start is scheduled for 10 o’ clock, we must take diesel and groceries.
We drive towards the gas station which is only a few kilometers away, and something that may seem as simple as filling our diesel tanks turns into a real challenge!
The majority of vehicles in Iran run on gasoline. Only heavy trucks run on diesel. To be able to get diesel in Iran, you need a special card, which rations 200 liters a day.
Every driver and some pump attendants have it one. For us, tourists, we must come across a station with a pump attendant who has it or ask a driver if he can give us a little of his daily rationing.
Do not panic, it’s going very well. In the North, each station we stopped at was able to provide us diesel with the fuel card.
We pay just the “tourist price”, this is the famous tax diesel. A liter of diesel in Iran at the time I write this costs 300 tomans for locals, but for us it’s double at 600.
300 tomans equals 0.04 cents… 600 is equivalent to 0.08 cents… and yes, for a full tank of 350 liters we pay around 28 euros… no I have not forgotten any zeros, you read it well!
However, the more you go down in the east, the more difficult it is to find gas stations equipped with this famous card. The reason is simple, the black market. Many are tempted to cross the border into Afghanistan to sell diesel. To avoid these shenanigans, access to diesel is a little less easy. But far from impossible, just do not ride in reserve, you will always find a station or a truck driver that will agree to help you out. Do not be surprised if they ask for a little more than double, just do not go over 1000 tomans. Make a quick calculation, it’s still only 10 cents per liter.
In our case, the station where we went is not equipped with the card, and as we need to refuel four vehicles, so help from a truck driver will not be enough.
There are no other stations for hundreds of kilometers, so we decide to apply a little pressure to the employee. And then, the language barrier intervenes… We have the impression that the man will have nothing to do with us, so we decide to call an Iranian friend who is still at the castle to translate.
He will arrive by car after a few minutes and after discussion with the employees of the service station he announces a solution. And yes, the importance of having someone to contact!
We follow the attendant who rides a motorcycle and takes us to the center of the village. We park in a dusty street and beyond any imagination, we do not perceive any pumps…
We are told to park behind a wall, and that someone will arrive with diesel… suddenly we see a tractor arrive with a barrel of 200 liters of fuel in the bucket.
It is a local villager supported by what looks like the mayor who will sell us the precious liquid under the table …
The situation is unreal, we fill the reservoirs, amused and grateful to our Iranian friends.
Come on, this is only the beginning of this crazy day, we join the others to head further into the desert with the idea of launching this party.
We follow the army of 4×4 pickups that for the moment roll on the asphalt on which the heavy weight rolls, with ease. We know that this situation will not last, and that at some point it will be necessary to go into the sand. The organizers warned us, access is by “sandy” tracks. They have never had the situation of driving a truck of this size into the desert… but have good hope for vans!
We feel that they do not want to discourage us, and just like us, really want to have us with them at this party.
We leave the paved road and attack a path that although not sandy proves perilous for the heavy weight… I must remain ultra concentrated and reactive. I feel how much I hurt the truck and am not reassured when I see the box of Marine and Baba rocking like a boat in a perfect storm before me.
The 4×4 from the organizers stop in front of us. It is to warn us that we are entering serious terrain. We are entering the sand desert. It will be necessary to adapt the driving accordingly.
I’m motivated and dedicated to unload the sound in a few hours.
I go first, the truck reacts well, it’s a new experience for me.
Suddenly I see in front of me an Iveco and the box truck already stranded. I have the reflex to go left without too much steering. It works.
An Iranian stops us to explain some things… one of which is that there are still 13 kilometers to go in the sand.
Ok. It’s out of the question to overthink but also impossible to ignore it’s a dirty mission…
It is in this strange state that I start again in Paris Dakar mode, supported by the advice of Daan who certainly has more experience than me offroad!
We will not go far. I made the mistake of following the track already used by the 4×4 just before. The relaxed track turns out to be real soft sand and I feel the left rear sinking deep. We will not go further. We are stranded.
Team Iveco and the luthen van are doing well.
The team continue towards the festival, while Marine and Baba stay with us to help in our mission of extraction.
We are not abandoning the idea of coming to the party with our vehicles, but for now the priority is getting the truck out of there before dark.
We take out the tools: shovels, inflating cushion, desert plates, pick ax. Well, we didn’t bring that for nothing!
While we realize that as in any good stagnation it will be necessary to be patient, we see Remy and Antho arriving as reinforcements in a 4×4.
They go straight to the point and clearly explain the situation: it would be foolish to try and go further with our vehicles. Already with the Iveco they sank away and made a few close calls. They are not on the site of the party, they are stranded a few hundred meters before…
I won’t give you the technical details, but we’re able to release the 19 tones just before dark. It’s a big relief.
We are not abandoning the idea of joining the party, but for the moment, we need a good drink and a little rest.
We agree with our Iranian friend that he will pick us up in 3 hours with a pickup.
Motivated to join the event, but still sorry for not being able to bring the sound there, we perceive in the distance two lights which come towards us.
It is impressive the time that separates you from something that you see in the distance in the desert.
Our friend arrives punctual and with a request will warm our hearts: we can load the speakers in the 4×4 to provide a reinforcement of the party!
It is with enthusiasm that we accept and load a stack in the trunk.
We pile into the vehicle and sink into the pitch black night without any sight of the horizon.
We giggle with every bump or slip, aware that the road would have been impossible with our trucks.
The all road stops near the sound which is already playing, surrounded by tents, encampments and even a caravan that really gives a warm atmosphere in the middle of this no man’s land. Around 120 people are there. We are greeted in the most beautiful way. We receive all the ingredients for a successful cocktail of a free party, the night begins!
We will share long hours with Iranians. It is a shame to receive their testimonies. Life for them is so hard and so oppressive. It’s amazing to hear them talk about this with as little hope for the future in their country but at the same time with such sweetness.
This kind of party is for them a real moment of escape, of freedom. This is the famous release valve, but they are so aware of it.
This party affirms the reason of taking this trip.
Meeting people persecuted by their government gives meaning to these moments of wild liberty.
Born out of inhuman pressure of our society, these parties will continue and build their strength out of these same reasons.
The day is already awakening, and brings back a problem encountered the day before arriving at the party… one of the subs is dead.. This happened on the road because everything worked perfectly at the last party in Turkey…
We do not admit defeat, because we have a stack left in the back of the truck!
We are therefore looking for a charitable soul who would like to make a round trip to the material.
It will be easy mission, everyone wanting to help us as best as possible.
We will be back around 10am with a new box, turntables and vinyl bins.
The sound stops at the same time as a sudden heat wave arrives over the small village. We are told that it is the moment to chill and that to continue under this heat is untenable. What will be unsustainable for us will be the absence of music.
We install the turntables, impatient to spin a vinyl to give us a little freshness … few hours later, an Iranian friend restarts the generator and gives us carte blanche for the times to come!
We will play early afternoon until around 23 hours.
This musical experience will be fascinating, amusing and disturbing at the same time.
Many Iranians will be intrigued and curious at the sight of these vinyls turning on turntables. Discs are banned in Iran. It is not possible to buy or import. This technique is new or unusual for many.
The music we play too. The parties organized by this team are based on trance music. One of the only kinds of music we do not have in our repertoire.
We will go from an enthusiastic dancefloor to a dancefloor intrigued, sometimes even empty! We do not really know if they like it. We who are used to a recurring hyperactivity during our party in Europe, we are a little intrigued in our turn by this other way to enjoy.
After discussion with some of them it turns out that they really liked our musical universe. Some will even admit that they did not know how to dance on this sound!
What a joy and what a novelty to bring something new to a party! We have the feeling of really sharing something different, and that is very invigorating.
The second night will resound to the sound of trance…. and the wind of a sandstorm!
While we were resting in the cool around a drink after this hot day, overpowering lightning and thunder rumbling their noses!
Soon the sand begins to batter us everywhere and the lightning suddenly turns night into day and lights the vast expanse of sand which we have in front of us.
The guys run to the amps to try to limit the damage and we pile up with the dogs in an Iveco …. laughing to deal with this the day we do not have all our trucks and realizing that we never have a break in this country!
The storm will calm down quickly. We are rinsed.
Not having our comfort allowed us to spend a night under the stars in the desert. The sky is absolutely black with the stars shining bright.
The next morning we wake up with the first rays of sun. We have a bit of work to do: pull out the Iveco’s. It will be of radical efficiency. Our Iranian friends are in amazing shape after two days of celebration.
It is hardly noon, the party is over. We are back to our trucks with the bins.
As good insatiable party goers, we will continue the after in the desert, wanting to enjoy a little more of this unique and so hard to access surroundings.
We would have loved to share more with our new Iranian friends, but, it’s the law of travel:
Take what comes to you now, because tomorrow we move!
LINK FOR THE VIDEO DRONE >> https://unexpectedfrequencies.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/drone.mp4