“Welcome to Paradise” is a bold claim to make, but that’s the message which greets visitors as they enter the gates of the O.Z.O.R.A. Festival. If your idea of paradise is a week-long “tribal gathering” in the middle of verdant Hungarian countryside with music spread across several stages, a plethora of cultural activities, workshops, circus acts, and thousands of hippy folk from across the globe, then O.Z.O.R.A. is where you need to be.
It began as an intimate jamdown to celebrate the solar eclipse of August 1999 but five years later, landowner Dániel Zimányi – a nomadic shepherd by nature and trade – turned it into an annual event. He oversees hundreds of staff to bring the festival to life but maintains a low profile, trundling around the site in a green Jeep, contentedly observing as chaotic mass revelry unfolds. Zimányi sketches out trippy designs on the backs of envelopes and works with local carpenters to make them real. He once carved a labyrinth in a cornfield with his tractor. This year, an elaborate “Mirador” watchtower was built from wood, offering panoramic views of stunning surroundings by day and illuminated in shimmering colors by night.
The main stage opened with a wizardly fire show, followed by the Ozric Tentacles live and direct. Dozens of DJs produced an endless beat parade of Goa trance and psychedelic electro. Artesans plied their wares on a central market street. The sandy-floored chill dome provided ravers’ relief, along with lectures in the Chambok House, workshops in the ArtiBarn and world music at the Dragon’s Nest.
The hippies have gone. But the after-party rages on.
This package was first broadcast by Monocle 24 Radio on August 11, 2014.
The O.Z.O.R.A. festival is a “psychedelic tribal gathering” that takes place every year in the Hungarian countryside near Budapest.
Although the main stage blasts Goa trance and heavy electro, the festival is much more than just a dance party.
It began as a mystical meeting to celebrate a solar eclipse and its roots lie deep in the earth and culture of the land.
We sent Frederick Bernas to find out more.
Another photo story, The True Face of Ozora, appeared in the Hungarian magazine Magyar Narancs.