O.Z.O.R.A Festival is dubbed a ‘psychedelic tribal gathering’ and it certainly lives up to that. It is held annually outside a tiny village in the Hungarian farmlands, nestled in a valley that, through the terraforming of many thousands of bare feet over the years, has been imbued with a mystical quality that I must say is quite unsurpassed on the psytrance circuit. Five days long and boasting a line-up that can actually be labelled obscene considering the ticket price, this festival does one thing – make happy hippies.
BOOM Festival, on the other hand, is an education and a rite of passage for those folk seeking new paradigms to assimilate. It is not for the faint-hearted. New frontiers never are, and BOOM is quite certainly on the cutting edge, a place designed for discovery – be it personal, cultural, ecological or transcendent. Of course, it’s also a massive party but if you go only to experience that aspect you would be doing yourself the greatest disservice. Erupting on the shoreline of an expansive lake, the aesthetic of the festival is nothing short of breathtaking.
Every structure is considered an artwork, every stage a centrepiece intrinsic to the ritual magick that BOOM strives to conjure. Using bioconstruction as its core guiding principle, the BOOM team utilise sustainable materials and recycled goods to build their inspired and inspiring designs. Across the festival site, totems and shrines and enchantments abound. The attention to detail is unparalleled and one continuously has one’s senses overwhelmed by sheer wonderment. Furthering the visionary aspect of the festival, BOOM has turned to eco-practice wherever possible – compost toilets, an on-site chemical-free water treatment facility, solar power, waste vegetable oil powering the generators.
It’s truly awesome to have one’s molecules turned into turbulent mush by a subsonic bass massage that is powered by stuff that has been used to make slap chips and vetkoek. And for seven days there is absolutely no shortage of any frequency of the sound spectrum available for consumption.
BOOM offers four stages, catering for every niche in the psychedelic framework, from paint-by-numbers psytrance through filthy trippy dubstep to Indian chanting to somniferous chillout. The musical menu is exhaustive and unfortunately, the necessity for sleep means you will certainly miss some gems.
BOOM’s scope is truly vast and the music is simply one of many draw cards. Elsewhere on site you will find a healing area, surely one of the most relaxing spaces on Earth. Here you can participate freely in the daily workshops, spanning a multitude of esoteric disciplines from yoga to laughing therapy. There is a theatre space that comes alive at night with a bizarre blend of vaudeville, movement pieces, drama and cinema. Every day sees great minds from across the globe hold court and impart wisdom at The Drop, a whirlwind of knowledge available to those who seek it and those who stumble upon it. Be mystified by visionary art on display in the gallery.
The festival is a celebration of life, it will take you through the gamut of human experience. Be prepared to be challenged and confounded and intrigued and awe-struck. It is surely playing a pivotal role in moving human consciousness forward and I would compel anyone interested in raising their awareness to go and get involved. BOOM is held every two years and the next edition is in 2012. Be there!
Written By : James Rose-Mathew
Photo’s By : Saskia Swanepoel