UnKonscious Festival is One Month Away
UnKonscious — Asia’s biggest trance festival by the beach — is one month away! After attending the last edition before the pandemic hit (see our 2020 coverage/recap here), this has been high on our radar. While in Bangkok this fall for the UnKonscious Gathering, we were so excited to meet back up with Lon and his wife, Katie to talk about the festival’s grand return in February at Alexa Beach club in Na Jomtien, Chonburi (Thailand; about 90 minutes driving from Bangkok).
How did you get into hosting events like this?
■ Lon: I started from DJ’ing in Melbourne [Australia] back in 2004 to 2010, and then I started doing events. The first event was King of Clubs and then Ace of Spaces in Melbourne; then we moved back to Thailand and did Transmission Festival Asia and UnKonscious Festival.
Let’s talk about UnKonscious. You’ve done three so far, pre-Covid. Tell us a bit how this festival got started and what some challenges were.
■ Lon: I went to parties around the world and thought Thailand has nice beaches and we don’t have a beach festival like in Europe. So, I went there to Amsterdam to a beach festival and came back and said what we can do, we can’t compete with them, and what we cannot do. We cannot book as many DJs as them because of all the flights and our scene is much smaller than their scene in Europe, so that’s a big challenge.
Describe the festival experience for people who haven’t seen UnKonscious before.
■ Lon: It’s on a tropical beach with crystal clear water; the water is 30 degrees warm and you can swim around. There are so many islands you can visit while you’re here and it’s much cheaper than in Europe, America, or Australia.
■ Katie: You can feel the sand in your toes, see the sunset, and the stars in the sky. It’s a very unique experience. The whole point of UnKonscious is your journey. It begins once you leave home; you’re traveling for trance and the journey itself. You’re already excited about leaving your house, getting on the plane, arriving in Thailand, and traveling until you get to the festival.
The last one was February 2020, which was right when Covid started to take over. What was it like trying to plan this international event while the pandemic was starting to take over the world?
■ Lon: We had many people contacting us because they were scared of coming, so we decided we would give full refunds if they were scared to come out. Less people came than we expected because we had over 100 people request refunds and people were selling their tickets to other people. The last month before an event is when we sell the most tickets, but this time we didn’t sell much: I believe if we didn’t have Covid, we’d have had 30 percent more people.
It was still great. February 2023 is coming up in a few months — tell us about the new location, Alexa Beach Club in Chonburi.
■ Katie: It’s still the same vibe. Whenever we select a location, we try to keep it authentic to what it was originally and we still want people to feel there are places to explore, as there are so many wonderful beaches here in Thailand. We plan to offer nothing but the best experience.
■ Lon: If you’ve been to UnKonscious in Phuket two or three times, you know what there is and what to do. But if we change the location to somewhere people haven’t been before, it gives more of an experience to the customer.
That’s a great point. It’s cool to have something new and Chonburi is close to Bangkok — an hour and a half driving. What would you like attendees to take away from their few days at the festival?
■ Katie: What we strive to do is not only about partying. It’s about travel, it’s about the experience, it’s about meeting new and old friends. It really is all-rounded for us. As the promoter, we’re no different than anyone else and we want to have fun when we go to a festival. What we keep in mind is the customer experience, how we want to party, how we want to feel when we travel and visit new places. That’s what we bring into this as well. I really do encourage taking the time to explore — just get out and travel. You’re going to find you’ll love it so much and we hope you enjoy the music as well.