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Promoters of the TeleMagica Art and Music Festival (held in Jacumba June 16--18) say, "The highlight of the event was 'The Return of the Buffalo' opera spectacle: a Scottish kilt-dressed narrator followed by children twirling light sticks as the giant buffalo effigy rose out of the darkness with blazing eyes illuminating the crowd just as the narrator announced, 'We have returned and we will come again next year!' "

Though promoters anticipated around 1500 attendees, they say "about 600 people including bands and vendors" showed. (Some patrons estimate the total at 200.) Marketed as "a perceptual Disneyland created amidst the boulders and wildflowers," the festival featured drum circles, art exhibits, vegan food vendors, and around 20 bands and DJs (including 7 San Diego acts).

"The main stage was only about six inches [high] off the dirt and 15 feet wide, with a really old PA and maybe three lighting poles," says one local player who performed. "It was 110 degrees, with bloodsucking bugs the size of Volkswagens, and there were tons of cops and Border Patrol guys everywhere, especially at the campsites where [police and security guards] were confiscating liquor but leaving potheads alone.... All the kids were tripping on acid or E."

Zindu drummer Salvatore Folisi says, "We played our set at three in the afternoon on Saturday, just after the pinnacle of the heat of the day.... It was so hot out there, I felt kinda like TeleMagica was a modern version of the Native American sundance ritual, where you sweat your prayers and purify your soul and body through release and surrender to the heat." He confirms the event's high "trip" quotient and mentions flying-saucer devotees who attempted to levitate an RV in a late-night anti-gravity demonstration (they failed).

"I saw some chick in a towel flashing her friends," reports Zindu saxophonist Jeffrey T. Sooey. "And one of the exhibits had Styrofoam art. I thought, 'Isn't this supposed to be an eco-friendly festival?' "

Zindu appears July 1 at the Casbah.

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