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In pictures: A psychedelic glimpse of Vietnam's infamous 'cave rave', Equation

"Music definitely sounds better in a cave. It feels as if you've stepped into another world entirely."

  • Words: Mixmag Asia Crew | Images: Rachelle Hristenko
  • 19 June 2023

As spring unfolded and nature burst into vibrant hues, we returned to the spectacular limestone setting of Mo Luong Cave to experience one of Asia’s most unique festivals, Equation.

Dubbed ‘the cave rave’, the fourth edition took place at the start of April — the now globally talked about festival has etched a benchmark for Vietnam’s scene by focusing on bringing artists, music communities and punters from across the region together for a one-of-a-kind weekend. Set across two stages, the event ran day and night programming comprised of some of Asia’s finest experimental and tastemaking selectors including Wata Igarashi, Elaheh and DOTT from More Rice Records, Siamese Twins’ Sunju Hargun and the b2b power-duo from Manila Emel Rowe and Saint Guel.

Armed with a point-and-shoot, Mixmag Asia’s Rachelle Hristenko trekked up north of Hanoi to the quaint and idyllic town of Mai Chau to immerse herself in psychedelic splendour. In her own words, Rachelle reported back, “The cave is transformed into a mystical playground of lights and psychedelic visuals, creating a kaleidoscope of colours. The intertwining beams of lasers cut through the mist, adding an ethereal touch to the space. Music definitely sounds better in a cave. It feels as if you've stepped into another world entirely. On the other hand, The Garden is where people find respite in cosy corners (hammocks under the tree and the tree house) of the garden, where they can relax and recharge.”

Engaged in surreal moments, Rachelle’s favourite sets came from Roman Flügel’s set in the cave on Day 1; on Day 2, she blissed out to the daytime vibes curated by festival organiser and Savage co-founder Ouissam before getting stuck into a four-hour foray that started with Japanese sensation Powder and finished with Hanoi-based mainstay and festival resident Di Linh who both threw down powerful sets in the limestone chamber.

Her ultimate highlight was the performance by Genderfunk x Peach x Snug. “The drag artists showcased music from various eras. Super fun and everyone was dancing in a circle at one point.”

The whole experience was heightened thanks to the lighting and visual projection design by Bangkok-based Human Spectrum collective.

Describing the weekend as “sensory overload”, Rachelle's unforgettable weekend was captured on her Fuji FinePix 4500 point-and-shoot digital camera that’s given a nostalgically tinted visual archive of one of Asia’s most talked about weekends.

Rachelle Hristenko is a freelance graphic designer and creative at Mixmag Asia based in Singapore. Follow her on Instagram here.

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