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Azimuth (a'-zi-muth) n. 1 the angular distance from a north or south point of the horizon to the intersection with the horizon of a vertical circle passing through a given celestial body. 2 the horizon angle or direction of a compass bearing.

"Azimuth" was a community gathering to celebrate the solstice of summer. It was a 24-hour event over the weekend of June 20 and 21, 1998.

The gathering took place on a broad sand bar along the raging Squamish River (a couple of hours north of Vancouver), flanked by towering ice-capped mountains, with a glacier and waterfalls in clear view across the water.

On Saturday afternoon when we arrived, ominous thunder rumbled in the distant valleys. Although a storm brought rain and hail to surrounding areas, the sky remained blue above our heads and rainbows formed over the mountain peaks. Kites and makeshift flags were flown in the wind. Campers began to prepare their tents and make comfy sleeping areas before the sun went down.



The sandy shoreline along the river became home to about two dozen tents, huddled in groups around their own communal fires. You could walk around from fire to fire, visiting with each clan, seeing new welcoming faces aglow in the light of the crackling blaze, listening to stories being told while the music played.


By late evening, the clear sky became brilliantly lit with several thousand twinkling stars...and more stars kept appearing just when you thought the sky couldn't possibly hold any more. I'll fondly remember plunking myself down on my back beside my neighboring campers, all of us staring deeply into that infinite cosmic glitter, watching the satellites as they silently slid through the atmosphere while the dj's provided the musical score.

It gave me a warm feeling to be surrounded by such a beautiful variety of people! Several friends came up from California and Oregon to play music for us, and we heard that others had brought their out-of-town and overseas guests too -- we love the idea of cooperating with others to create a sincere vibe that knows no borders. We hope that all those who made such long trips found their travels worthwhile, and we thank our local friends and guests for creating such a friendly, genuine WestCoast vibe.

Azimuth's musical menu was a splendidly diverse feast. There was a little of everything, with Warren's set inciting possibly the most rambunctious dancing and Menyui's set possibly causing the most raised eyebrows (...what, never seen a naked dj before?). It was a pleasure to hear the music of dj's I'd never seen before, as well as the familiar styles of old friends. I heard positive comments about every dj's set -- there seemed to be something for every kind of taste.

As if the stars and moonlight weren't enough feast for our eyes, we were also treated to colorful and surreal images projected through the darkness into the trees, and a bubbling lava-light illuminating the dj tent.


The next day's dawn brought a sunshine that warmed all of us so that we were compelled to run around half naked and skinny dip in the river to cool down.

Just as we were ready to fling our bodies onto the slip'n'slide we'd made with our tarps, a collection of river rafters floated around the bend of the river. They seemed just as surprised to see us as we were to see them! We all exchanged a round a whoops and hollers in celebration of the fantastic day as they were carried past us by the river current.

Azimuth had a special aura surrounding it. I'm not sure if it was more because of the powerful energy of the summer solstice, because of the stunningly scenic location, or because the people who came to celebrate together were simply some of the best.

It never ceases to amaze me that despite the many years of attending and participating in these electronic festivities, I still learn so many new things...I learned a new way to pee in the woods...I learned that melted oatmeal-raisin Power Bars taste like raw cookie dough...I learned that in order to slide all the way to the end of the plastic slip'n'slide you really should take *all* your clothes off...and most of all, I was reminded that the friendly family feeling we sometimes think we've lost, can always be found again when we create the right situation.

On behalf of your B-Side friends and family, thanks everyone who brought their fantastically vibey spirits to bring in the summer season! We hope you will always remember that the best things in life are FREE.

© 1998 B-Side Maintained by Skye.