Beat goes on at e-music extravaganza

Those curious about the seemingly infinite bond between personal or spiritual freedom and the thumping physicality of electronic dance music need look no further than a few miles east for Cyberfest 2000, a Labor Day-weekend gathering at Melbourne's Florida Convention Center & Grounds. A host of turntable luminaries and live acts will occupy varying time frames and mind spaces throughout a proposed 15 hours of aesthetic manipulation. While the organizers assure that the late-night party will go the distance, the current anti-rave climate could hasten the intended 6 a.m. Sunday closing time.

Regardless, Cyberfest 2000 rightly bills itself as "America's Largest Dance & Music Festival" and promises the same sort of big electronic fun that accompanied its San Francisco debut in 1992. The concept is one loosely based on the legendary music festivals of the '60s and '70s, only with more of a tribal-gathering underpinning. Like Lollapalooza before it, Cyberfest is promising a midway of societal kiosks and exhibit areas, wherein the latest developments in technology, extreme sports, spirituality and performance art will blend together in some all-encompassing, generational wash. (Imagine the World's Fair with glow sticks and you're getting close.)

Among the attractions promised for the all-ages adventure are a "raging fun zone" with wild rides (be prepared to pay an additional charge for some), an outdoor laser-light show, a Buddha shrine and meditation chamber, massage artists, a yoga station, a Cyber Circus (complete with flying trapeze!) and Tarot-card readings -- all interspersed through eight entertainment arenas. Of course, food will be available; and alcohol, it should be known, will be available until 1:30 a.m. in the restricted alcohol garden.

Activities, however, should remain secondary to the impressive array of dance musicians soundtracking the whole affair. The long, deep list reads like a 10-year history of international nighttime heroes: Richard Marley, Plan B (live P.A.), Craze, Cirrus, Carl Cox, Keoki, Bad Boy Bill, Frankie Bones, Spacemen (busting out a 3-D interactive live performance), DJ Magic Mike, Huda Hudia, DJ Sandy, Debbie D, Diesel Boy, Jungle Boy, BT (live P.A.), Donald Glaude, Richard "Humpty" Visson, Skylab 2000 (live P.A.), Orlando's own Prophecy, Mike & Charlie, Trip Theory, Rick West, Jimmy Joslin, Dave London, Doc Roc, Christopher Lawrence, Dave Trance, Noel Sanger, George Acosta, Lenny Dee, Deepsky (live P.A.), Scott Bond, Trancelott, DJ Eclipse, Alchemy, Messiah and Rob E. And those are just the recognizable names. Like most DJ extravaganzas these days, hip-hop is represented, and none other than Run DMC and KRS One will tear it up old-school style.

In July, Cyberfest 2000 triumphed in Fresno, Ca., thanks to 25,000 revelers who danced the night away despite the overpresence of security. Expect much of the same in Melbourne: Sale and possession of drugs were the primary reasons for the 54 arrests at the Fresno event.

Helpful information at the Cyberfest website spells out the rules. Don't bring: video cameras, food and drinks, illegal substances, tents or a bad attitude. Do bring: yourself, friends, poetry, good vibes, acoustic instruments, comfortable shoes, costumes, blankets and, of course, lots of money.


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