Every year, summer brings a merry-go-round of global music festivals. For the past 15 years, I've been keenly surfing the international weirdo festival circuit, from small parties to mainstream mega events. The one place I keep coming back to—and attended again this year—is the EDM festival, a psychedelic tribal gathering, called OZORA.
OZORAStarted in 2004, OZORA has steadily grown to become a global center of psyculture, bringing together 30,000 people from all over the world to a remote location in rural Hungary. This temporary village is a weird wonderland, populated by a carnivalesque parade of neo-hippies, steampunk freaks, impish elves, delightful fairies and other eccentric creatures with dreadlocks, dressed in fancy costumes and impressive tattoos.
This colorful bunch of happy mutants entertain themselves for a week, dancing amidst a blizzard of sensory stimulations: a dozen music stages powered by hundreds of DJs, live bands and stage performances, art installations, LED-illuminated structures, kaleidoscopic lights and laser projections. On top of all that, the event offers daily yoga sessions, cooking classes, massage workshops, fire-spinning and juggling lessons, a visionary art gallery and a mind-expanding lectures series featuring prominent underground intellectuals. All in all, it's an electrifying, playful and intense experience. For my money, it's the quintessential experience in exotic, otherworldly fun.
Collective Joy EventsBarbara Ehrenreich, in her brilliant book Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, analyzes and documents the phenomenon of "Collective Joy" events throughout the centuries. Ehrenreich interprets this kind of playful and partyful festivals—having their pre-Christian precursors in Roman Saturnalia and Greek Dionysian rites—as rooted in ecstatic religious traditions that have been repressed and marginalized by European and Euro-American mainstream culture for centuries. Read the rest