Welcome to Paradise! O.Z.O.R.A 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

I've spent the first week of August in another dimension and I am still feeling the effects of that unbelievable space-time travel. I'm saying this as someone who didn't experience the festival being stoned the whole time - not that I wouldn't want to. ;) But I will talk about drugs later. What makes the Ozora music festival special is its social aspect, which is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I'm not really a fan of any new age and spiritual mumbo-jumbo but I must admit I felt like part of one big family. And I don't mean like a "real" family to which you are bound by blood and you maybe don't even love - let's face it, a happy family is a treasure that not everyone is lucky enough to have. So not a family that only chose and bonded with you, but a family that is also chosen by you, without pressure. I'm quite asocial, more of an internet person than IRL one, constantly building a wall around me. But the social atmosphere there ... well, it literally changed me. I came to Ozora stressed out, carrying my load of worrying about life but I left feeling calm and positive. For those who are interested in visiting Ozora next or any other year, I'm now going to move from my pragmatic delusions to more practical (and hopefully more interesting) information.
What is Ozora anyway?
It is a psy-trance festival in Hungary, named after a small town nearby. It has two main stages, one to trance and the other to chill out but if this isn't enough for you, there are other interesting programs and workshops going on.
For general info, check out the official webpage: http://ozorafestival.eu/2011/. If you're a visual type of person, you can take a look at these or these great photos from this year. If you need audio, there is an awesome youtube video from the last year.

Have you ever been to Hungary before? You could be surprised.
Local people don't speak English. They usually don't speak any other language than Hungarian, although some waiters speak German. And this language ... well, you can't work it out at all. Security guards at the festival actually know one English word: Hello
It's best to have enough money with you because visiting a bank can be another weird experience. You should bring euros and some money in forint (yes, they have their own currency) for local stores. You can pay in euros at the festival - I would suggest euro where the shopkeepers are from other countries and forint for locals. If you're coming by car, make sure that the tank is full enough because gas stations are few and far between and not all of them actually have gas, lol (at least that's what happened to us).
The cities still look like they are from the socialist era, many buildings look completely abandoned. It is somehow charming though. :)
People. And dogs.
I didn't have an idea that so many hippies even exist. OK, some of them are transformed for the festival alone but I think that most of them live bohemian lifestyles. I had to walk past countless camping residences every day but I couldn't get tired of looking at them: some where building tipis, many lived in trucks that were transformed into beautiful living spaces, everything was decorated with a good sense of aesthetics. Just amazing. The downside was that there were also many dogs and some of them (especially those belonging to the French) would get really annoying with constant barking and defecating around the camping spaces. But most dog-owners pick up behind their canine.
Another downside - many people need many toilets and showers. I must admit that the port-a-potties were cleaned quite regularly although I really missed a "real" bathroom. There should be more showers because the waiting lines would get quite long - but you get used to waiting because your perception of time becomes totally different. No one is impatient - so why should you be? 
Food, beverages and other consumables
You're not going to be hungry, although the food won't always be worth the money. My boyfriend and I went to the fruit store every day where the fruits and vegetables were high quality, really delicious and even the prices were reasonable. The other great find was Mandala, a vegan restaurant with yummy food (especially cakes) and big portions - we could both satisfy our hunger for 6 euro total.
Beer was priced at 2 euros, a bottle of wine 5. It's fine to bring your own drinks but cooling them could be a problem. There weren't almost any drunken people - but many were high (some from the strong sun, the hypnotic music or something less legal), although overdoses were practically non-existent... ** BTW: my laptop just crashed! Is this a sign? :P ** Compared to other music events where there is more alcohol than drugs, there wasn't any aggression here (although I did hear about one unpleasant event later, but nothing serious), people were happy, kind and helpful to everyone. It was bliss. It actually made me think that the world would be a better place if the alcohol would be more restricted and taken more seriously on the one hand and if certain drugs were legalized on the other - with proper education of course. Most of the Ozorians were (or at least seemed to be, but I wouldn't make assumptions) well educated about how far they can go with what. So I'm not going to hide it - there was much to buy, the market was free and uncontrolled. You could even buy special energy balls and so called space cakes on the streets. The most popular was l s d.

Tired of trance?
So imagine trancing like crazy for hours - maybe you want to take a rest from the loud music or the hot sun. There are many options you can choose from: finding shade under the trees, visiting the labyrinth in the corn field or going to the Magic garden. The latter was one of my favorite places. I didn't attend many workshops but I did drink a lot of free tea. Take a look at some photos I took with my cheap mobile. :)
Any other practical info?
Have something to cover your head - the sun can be overwhelming and the temperatures high. Although there is no river, lake or pool, it's good to have a swimsuit (it can get really hot). Rain brings a lot of mud, so bring clothes you wouldn't mind getting dirty. The nights are quite cold and I got a really unpleasant bladder inflammation. If you are a woman you should be extra cautious and bring with you all the medicines you would potentially need with you. I went to the pharmacy where I had to speak to four people (pharmacists and students) to explain what my problem was and I still don't know if I got the right medicine because the instruction manual was only in Hungarian!
Hard to say goodbye
I still miss Ozora's relaxed atmosphere, the sky full of stars (!) and lifestyle on slow mode. It really is hard returning to a more hectic life, full of deadlines and strict schedules after something so completely different. I feel like I went to a fantasy world of faeries and returned content and sparkling. :)
Have a nice week and don't forget to take some time to relax if it's going to be a busy one - like mine will. :P
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