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Jane and Adrian arrived at the Rustler's Valley Music Festival in South Africa with expectations. It was 1993 and the couple were huge fans of the electronic music scene in their homeland with its wild warehouse parties. "We had come from the city so we expected a rave, warehouse-type party," Adrian says. "It was just an open valley. There were a few tents around. We were a bit confused when we got there. We were actually like, 'Let's go home. What is this all about?'"
Then the sun went down and the music started. By then they owned a security company (which they still own today) that supplied local clubs with doormen. They had also thrown a handful of concerts and Adrian, an avid and well-travelled music fan, was voracious in his search for new tracks. (To this day, "He never listens to anything more than once," Jane says.) They thought they had heard everything.
"We were blown away," Adrian says. "It was a moving moment for us. There was no way there was anything better as far as electronic music in the market."
It turned out to be Goa, a style of music that began in India in a region of the same name where free-spirited Europeans of the hippie generation migrated. Many of them brought instruments in tow, but it wasn't until they began to synthesize guitars and other instruments that a new genre was born.
In a short piece about the Believe Festival, DJ Magazine Canada called Goa-trance "one of the oldest and purest forms of what is now known as EDM (electronic dance music)."
In other words, those bass drops and whomp whomps coming out of your Skrillex-loving teen's headphones? That's all thanks to Goa.
"Never before has a North American festival found its roots in something so authentic," the article enthuses. "In a constant state of progression, patrons pace themselves over days to experience a seasoned EDM interwoven with live instruments at Believe."
One of the challenges has been explaining the difference between this style of electronic music from EDM or even psychedelic trance, which skews young and is abrasive to some.
"It's emotional music," Adrian says. "People connect with it. There was this whole stigma attached to trance. The only trance you ever hear here is a psychedelic, heavy version. That's a hijack of the original Goa music. That's what has created the entire electronic music industry, whether it's dubstep, techno or house, any of the other styles. That's where they come from."
Inspired by what they heard at Rustler's Valley, the Morans began to shift their burgeoning concert production business towards Goa music. Their first big break was building the electronic music portion of the roster for the Freedom Festival, an event held in conjunction with Freedom Day, a South African holiday to celebrate the first post-apartheid elections in that country. "People went nuts," Adrian says. "So we did it again."
Six months later at a venue with a capacity of about 10,000 they held another one-day event. "There were 30,000 people outside the gates," he says. "We knew we had a good thing then."
A box with dozens of festival passes dating back to 1993 is testament to what unfolded next. Adrian sifts through the tangle of lanyards to show a few of them, mostly from South African shows, but a few from around Europe. "We've been closely associated with the scene for a long time and we identify with the most emotional music," he says. "The music that really moves people. When we came here we realized nobody was listening to the music we were. We would play it for people and they'd be like, 'Wow, what is that?' Once we realized the music was going to connect with people, we just decided to pursue it."