Newsletter #14: Conscious Partying – The Re-evolution is Coming!

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Our News

Dear Friends,

It’s been a while since we were in touch, and we have a mixture of happy and sad news.

The good news is that the synergy community is re-uniting to bring you the next (re)evolution in conscious partying, inspired by our roots and infused with something new.. The plans we announced earlier this year stalled due to the lack of a suitable London venue.  However we are pleased to reveal that an exciting new licensed venue has been identified and we are negotiating a deal to hold four events there during 2012.

As many of you will remember, The Synergy Project and Luminopolis were regular one-night indoor festivals that re-invented clubbing as an educational tool, working in collaboration with NGOs & charities to promote peace, justice, and sustainability. They combined musicians, DJs, VJs, performers, artists, debates, workshops, multimedia shows, and campaigning stalls in order to uplift, unite, and inspire through celebration. 27 amazing events were held at the SEOne Club in London Bridge between 2003 and 2008 with an estimated combined attendance of 60,000. They were influenced by The Warp Experience, Return to the Source, Cooltan Arts Centre, Megatripolis, UFO Club.

Rather than being a space where people come to escape the harsh and sometimes mundane realities or post-industrial urban life, The Synergy Project and Luminopolis created a space where the emphasis was very much on participation and the raising of awareness and consciousness.  With this in mind, we are keen to hear from people who’d like to contribute to the creative diversity that gives these events their special character.

Participation is possible not just as a musician, dancer or artist, though we are always keen to hear from them, particularly if there is a ‘conscious’ element to your work.  Help with promotion through handing out flyers, online promotion, working on the technical production, working on the community cafe, helping with the heavy lifting or hanging the decor as well as stewarding on the night as part of our welfare team are all ways to get involved.

To express interest in being involved, please visit The Synergy Community Facebook page and leave a message on the wall saying how you’d like to be involved.

With light, love, and fulfilling experiences…

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Alex Lee, sorely missed

Alex Lee DJing at The Synergy Project 23 Nov 2007
Alex Lee DJing at The Synergy Project, 23/11/2007

It is with great sadness that we pause to remember one of the founding members and pillars of the Synergy Community, Alex Lee, who passed away recently due to complications arising from an ear infection.

From his sets as DJ Dreadnaught to his role in curating the conscious space at Synergy in the latter years and programming many of the events at the Synergy Centre in Camberwell, Alex was one of the most steadfast and dependable members of the crew.  A calm, rational and peaceful person, Alex could always be relied upon to deliver and was a committed activist on the climate change and anti-war scenes.

His passing shocked and saddened all of us in the wider community but at the same time strengthens our resolve to relaunch the project, something Alex would doubtless have welcomed as he worked so hard to mediate during the times of conflict and misunderstanding within the community.  At the coming relaunch party, we hope to find a way to celebrate Alex’s contribution both to Synergy and to the wider movement and welcome your suggestions as to how this could be done.

Brian Visiondanz, in memoriam –
dancing the vision of a better world

Brian Visiondanz - the wizard with his camera
Brian Visiondanz – the wizard with his camera

Dom Spiral writes to his recently departed friend…

Wow, what a ride! See how many of us you touched in one short human life? Surely this must be a cycle well closed, a life well lived. Who could have known though that your spirit would choose to leave us this early – and yet it’s all good! Your work here is done – carefully placed now in the hands of all those who continue the dance that you so lovingly carved out for us.

Who knows what would have happened had it not been for the magical Warp Experience events – back in the late 90s in that dusty tunnel that brought so many of us into awareness. Touched by their power you gave up your entire life in the US and came back to the UK, where your childhood roots are. A bold move that says a lot about you: never shy to take life as it comes.

Having been an activist and a peace worker already you brought much of this energy into our world. Here you contributed majorly to many events and festivals, facilitated the Stonehenge negotiations and co-created the inspiring Chalk for Peace happenings. You became famous as the man with the camera, always out there hunting the real moment between us!

Many of us saw a wise guru of sorts in you – others saw the very real human jewel with all its flaws and issues – but all of us could clearly feel the love that emanated through all of your work – always driven to help others, to facilitate growth, to get real. In your passing over you have woven many of us together who were deeply moved by your work, your dream.

“There’s nothing wrong with our world,  we are just having a weird con- versation” – one of your most famous quotes – and so right you are. What else can we do, but continuously strive to be better people, helping each other along on this journey towards the light?

And yet let me spell it out: We miss you Brian. Your watchful camera that captured many golden moments, your signature dance to the rhythm of our generation, your pyramid of infinite possibility, your networking genius, your round table, your inspiration and your sparkling smiles.

No festival will ever be the same without your presence – and yet we shall dance the dream awake for you – as surely you would have wished of us. I pray that many more of your kind will emerge in our times and take it upon themselves to selflessly lead ahead with that unmistakable light of compassion – thank you Brian for all that you have contributed ! One Love!

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The Synergy Centre

Since the closure of The Synergy Centre in Camberwell in March 2009, the Centre team have been working on longer term solutions to our accommodation needs.  Keen if at all possible to find our own venue in which to run the larger Synergy Project parties, and thereby keep the considerable bar income in-house, we have identified two interesting buildings, one in London and the other in Brighton.  Both are grade II listed buildings, former cinemas that became bingo halls and could accommodate the 1500-2000 people who attend our larger events, at the same time as providing affordable space for local community groups to organize activities and events.

We are still running the Synergy Youth Council in Camberwell, working with young people at risk of joining gangs or engaging in criminal or anti-social behaviour, and we would be looking to expand its work using surpluses generated from the weekend events.  We’ve also designed a ground-breaking community development and outreach vehicle – The Synergy Community – which combines elements of a Local Exchange and Trading Scheme to provide work-based learning and training opportunities for the long term unemployed or those suffering social exclusion due to homelessness, drug abuse of poor mental health.

For the last 5 months, we’ve been developing a proposal to renovate the old Astoria cinema on Gloucester Place in Brighton.  The building has been sat empty for years, passing from owner to owner who could not develop a viable use for it.  The current owner, Brighton property millionaire Mike Holland, recently obtained planning permission to demolish the building, despite there being a proposal for it to be brought into community ownership with the help of some funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and investment from the Charity Bank.  Colleagues and partners in the Theatres Trust and 20th Century Society are appealing the decision to the Secretary of State, so the possibility of the building being bought and turned into a Synergy Centre remains.

For more information on the plans, please click here or ‘like’ the Facebook page.

The London building is another listed former Cinema currently owned by a Nigerian Church who are struggling to get planning permission to turn it into a place of worship, as the local community is strongly opposed to their sectarian and homophobic beliefs, preferring the idea a more inclusive community arts centre.  To support the campaign, of which Synergy is a key partner, please visit their page on Facebook.

If you are interested in actively supporting either or both of the campaigns, please email

So, all in all the future looks bright and interesting for the Synergy Community.  With the viability of current values and norms associated with unfettered consumer capitalism coming increasingly into question, exploring new ways of living in a more ecological fashion in which the well-being of people and the sustainability of environment is prioritized above the profiteering of a greedy few becomes increasingly important.  We look forward to renewing our efforts to achieve this sustainable future and hope that we will have the opportunity of welcoming you back into the Synergy fold in the not too distant future.

The Astoria, Brighton

Criminalisation of Squatting

As some of you may know, Synergy has its roots in London’s underground squat party scene, where many of us learned our trade.   Surviving on meager incomes while trying to live a creative or activist lifestyle is not easy in one of the world’s most expensive cities, so many of us have, at some stage in our lives, turned to squatting as a way of meeting our accommodation needs.  Due to the inequalities of our rabidly capitalist  and obscenely unequal economic system, innumerable residential and commercial properties lie empty while the poor and the socially excluded endure homelessness.  Adequate housing is one of our most important basic need.

Yet rather than tackle the inequality and social injustice that makes squatting necessary, the coalition government is bent on criminalizing squatting to appease their middle England political base.  Not only will this fail to tackle the underlying causes of squatting it will merely criminalize the poor at a time when our prisons are already full.

It will perhaps come as no surprise to hear that members of the wider Synergy community are leading the campaign against this criminalization.  You may have seen the video of them on Kenneth Clarke’s roof. They are working in partnership with Squatters Action for Secure Homes (Squash) to encourage people to take part in the consultation exercise which ends shortly on October 5th.

The proposed new laws could affect:

  • Tenants: accused by landlords of being squatters for being behind with rent.
  • Students and workers occupations of Universities and workplaces.
  • Our Rights to Protest and set up Peace, Eco protest and Climate camps
  • The Homeless, poor and vulnerable, Squatters, Gypsies and Travellers
  • The proposed legislation could change trespass from a civil to a criminal offence, affecting our ancient land rights to shelter in abandoned buildings.

There a number of quick and easy things you can do to help stop this.

  1. Take part in the consultation process – there is a quick and easy way to do this via the Squash website, answering 4 questions.  There is even helpful guidance to help inform your views.  It takes about 5 minutes.
  2. Write to your MP urging them to support Early Day Motion 2114 which opposes the criminalization of squatting.  There is a quick and easy way to do this, entering your details on an automated system run by homeless charity Crisis.  It takes about 30 seconds.
  3. Sign a petition on the 38 Degrees Web-site.  10 seconds.

Interested in being more involved in the campaign ? Visit the delightfully named Squatters Rights Housing Group (SHAG) to find out more.

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Other Events

Martha Tilston and the Woods : 6-8 Oct 2011
Cargo, London (6th) / Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham (7th) / The Arc Theatre, Trowbridge (8th).

== Synergy / Luminopolis favourite ==  Martha Tilston is a captivating performer, an enchanting singer-songwriter blessed with a gloriously clear and seductively beautiful voice. Weaving her magic spell over listeners wherever she plays – from the concert hall to the campfire, from folk clubs to main festival stages – she is a rare gem who has the power to draw an audience into her world and create an intimate space where her words and music dance and delight, leaving all those present with a smile, a warm feeling inside, and a few issues to ponder, too.

Tribe II : 7 Oct 2011
inSpiral, 250 Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QS

The environmental events organisation Tribe returns to the Inspiral Lounge for another night of world dance fusion beats, intercontinental sounds and floor-shaking global basslines.  DJ Pathaan / Little Thoughts / Ade Laugee / Matamatiks / Wingnut

Tribe II will be raising awareness of, and funds for, the Orangutan Land Trust, an organisation which works in Borneo to secure and preserve tropical rainforest to accommodate rehabilitated and released orang-utans – . It’s free entry, so please consider making a donation on the night to OLT. 100% of donations are passed on by Tribe, we keep or reinvest nothing. See our organisation page at and join us!

Whirl-y-Gig Global Disco Launch Party : 15 Oct 2011
Crucifix Lane (formally Jacks), 7-9 Crucifix Lane, London, SE1

Whirl-y-Gig embodies the spirit of community in a carnival atmosphere. Bathed in rainbow rippling lights and wrapped in exotic décor, it is a festival of delights for people of all ages and places. Dance to the Whirl-y-Beat and journey through Whirl-y-Gig’s unique electronic landscape where many diverse elements blend into one cohesive and unifying experience. From heavy dub and funky drum n bass to tropical house and uplifting tribal trance, the Whirl-y-Mix embraces celtic and global, classical and psychedelic, rock and even pop, roots and radical. Whether it be African or European, Arabic or Asian, Whirl-y-Gig finds inspiration from around the world yet is rooted firmly in the here and now of London’s alternative club scene.

Lee Harris & The Moonlight Convention : 20 Oct 2011
The Paradise, Kensal Green, 19 Kilburn Lane, W10

Lee Harris will be performing material from the 2009 album ‘Angel Headed Hip Hop’ & his forthcoming book Echoes of the underground: A Footsoldier’s tale. There will also be a preview from the forthcoming ‘Moonlight Convention’ album ‘Traipsing Bloom’ (featuring) Daevid Allen – John Sinclair – Youth – River Styx – Nik Turner – Lee Harris – Paul Bangash – Darren Moss – Georgina Brett & more

Lee Harris (born 1936 in Johannesburg, South Africa), is a playwright, publisher, and spoken word artist. He was one of the few white members of the Congress movement, where he helped with the Congress of the People and met Nelson Mandela. He acted with Orson Welles, Dame Flora Robson, wrote for the British underground press including International Times, helped found the Arts Lab and has been an instrumental figure in the British Counter Culture movement since the seventies when he published the legendary Brainstorm Comix by illustrator & graphic novelist Bryan Talbot and Home Grown magazine, which he edited.

Supersonik Shindig : 22 Oct 2011
Secret London location.  Info lines TBA – watch the forums.

90+ acts / 5 Rooms / Live acts / lots of stalls. Psytrance / Teckno / DnB / Minimal / Breaks / Dubstep / Live Bands + much much more. Headlines: Avalon / Earthling / Dub FX / Chris Liberator / Rachel Rackitt.

Balkan Sonik : 28 Oct 2011
inSpiral, 250 Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QS

The Electro Balkan And Electro Swing Experience.
Freddy Frogs / Fred Balkayou / Wattnot / Gino

Tristan / Pogo : 29 Oct 2011
inSpiral, 250 Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QS

Come and celebrate the birthday of DJ Tristan, inSpirals one and only psytrance resident who will be performing lots of unreleased solo and Killerwatts material. As is the tradition of these rare and exclusive inSpiral Trance party’s, Tristan will be joined by a special guest who this time is Pogo (Master Blasters). Pogo will be previewing some new Master Blasters material, and also some solo Pogo remixes of some classic tracks, as well as some new solo Pogo stuff, amongst other goodies and delights.

The tallest chaps in Trance will be rinsing our the biggest tunes imaginable!
Guaranteed to be absolutely BELTING! Not one to miss!!!!

Banco de Gaia : 5 Nov 2011
inSpiral, 250 Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QS

A welcome return to this legendary producer who’s previous inSpiral sets have always been a landmark of quality guaranteed to raise mood and temperature on fireworks night. Now currently working on a new album and will be previewing any completed material on this night. with: Metaphra and Little Thoughts

Liquid Records / Connective 11th Birthday : 11/11/11

HEADS UP: Watch the forums… need we say more? =)

Halcyon – The Christmas Ball : 2 Dec 2011
The Coronet Theatre, London, SE1 6TJ

== Twisted records and HOMmega Productions == The next Halcyon has been a long time coming and had a few ups and downs getting to this point with our August and October events both cancelled. With such disappointment the only way we could come back for a final event this year with something VERY special indeed and what better way then to invite guests from 2 top pioneering labels, Twisted records and HOMmega Productions both showcasing their top artists in the Main room. Room 2 & 3 Hosted by leading underground labels Mutagen and Liquid Records.

Tickets & event info from Access All Areas. After-party just round the corner at the Corsica studios, London SE17 3LG.

Liquid Alchemy New Year Party: 31 Dec 2011

HEADS  UP : Plans are afoot for another extravaganza in a LICENSED London venue 🙂

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