Have you ever wanted to attend an overseas festival? Seems like a bit of a stretch? If you decide to take the plunge and go for it – then this is the festival for you! Coming from South Africa – we definitely know how to rough it and camping in the outdoors is something we enjoy (I’m more of a glamp-er actually).
Let me start off this piece by telling you a little bit about the O.Z.O.R.A festival. The festival is described as “the experience of a parallel existence created by our diversely colored dreams and visions of the same pure unblemished space, paradise on earth, our fairy tale” (quoted from the OZORA festival website).
To me, it’s a place of togetherness with like-minded individuals from across the world, where anyone can create their own paradise. The experience you want to have is totally up to you! Let’s start by helping you get ready for O.Z.O.R.A and then a little bit about what to expect when you get there….
PRIOR TO O.Z.O.R.A
1.Buy your tickets
Once you’ve decided to embark upon this journey, the first thing you need to do is secure your tickets. Tickets can be purchased on the Ozora website. Once you register your email address they will send you a link. This link will allow you to create a profile and buy tickets. The investment is about 135EUR (R2,125). This is a lot of cash but keep in mind that the festival runs over 7 days! You can’t really put a price on an amazing experience, right?
2. Buy camping gear
Although it’s quite a task traveling with a tent and a sleeping bag, I’d recommend buying your gear in your hometown. Getting these items in Budapest will be quite a mission and a bit pricey. I purchased a cheap 3 man tent and a slim line sleeping bag that fit quite nicely in my backpack. I would recommend traveling with a backpack type luggage bag. Trying to drag a wheely suitcase is not fun at Ozora (especially over rocks, grass, and hills). Your wheels will break! I saw many travelers at the festival walking home after the event with broken suitcases.
3. What to pack?
As a female, I always tend to overpack! But travelling as often as I do, I’ve learnt to downsize. Also, I’d be carrying the weight on my back so if that isn’t motivation enough then I don’t know what is! I packed my clothes in ziplock bags which is a useful thing to do because each day you can just pull a ziplock out and that would be your outfit for the day. Its also helps keeping clean and dirty clothes separate. It gets extremely hot at OZORA so I recommend packing the following:
- light clothes (shorts, sweaters, etc)
- a hat and sunglasses
- sunscreen (lots of it)
- sandals (I find Havianas very comfy)
- closed shoes that you don’t mind tossing after OZORA. Paez-type shoes are always a winner!
- swimsuit (x 2) for pre-shower and dancing in the mud 🙂
- a towel
- after-sun (in case you burn)
- a toiletry caddy that can easily be hung on a hook in the shower
- torch (you need this when walking from the campsite to the main dancefloor)
- wet wipes
- mosquito repellent (this is crucial!)
- a scarf ( you can wet this at the festival and drape it over your shoulders to keep cool in the heat)
4. Pre-arrange transport from the Airport to Ozora and back to the Airport
We decided to hire a car at the airport and drive to the festival. Another tip: Unlike South Africa, in Budapest they drive on the right-hand side of the road. Most of the cars are manual so bear that in mind. Trying to shift gears using your right hand – thank goodness I didn’t drive, but I can only imagine how hectic it would be! The drive to Ozora from the Airport is about +-2 hours.
You can arrange a taxi to Ozora (quite pricey) or grab an Ozora shuttle which is about EUR30. This decision is completely up to you!
THE OZORA FESTIVAL : WHAT TO EXPECT
Expect nothing! Just be amazed and leave all reservations at the front gate. We decided to setup our tent closer to the entrance to ensure we could get enough sleep at night (a bit of a distance from the main dance floor). You can setup anywhere really. Just some information that can be useful once you arrive:
There are several shower blocks at OZORA . The showers are free-standing and stacked up next to each other. The water is ice cold so try not to shower in the evenings. If you can shower before 8am then you will avoid the morning queues.
There are a number of “long drop” toilets and these are cleaned regularly. The lack of toilet paper was not an issue. I always carried tissues in my pocket anyway (wet wipes are recommended).
EAT AND DRINK
If you didn’t have time to buy drinks, snacks, and food prior to reaching the festival, don’t stress because there are loads of eating and drinking places there. You are spoiled for choice. The prices are reasonable. Please take cash with you as it’s very difficult to get cash at the festival (there are ATM machines but they often run out of cash). The currency used at the festival is EURO or HUF (Hungarian Forint) . I would recommend carrying EUROs as most item prices are listed in EURO. If you’re carrying HUF with you, you’d need to do the conversion from HUF to EURO and then figure out the cost in ZAR – totally frustrating.
If buying ready made meals is not for you, there’s a grocery store that sells the necessary food items to make your own meals ( bread, cheese, milk, etc).
There are loads of merchandise like clothes, jewelry, shoes, souvenirs, etc sold by different (majority are local) traders at the festival. I bought the most comfortable pair of pants in the world at Ozora. A girls gotta shop!
MUSIC AND DANCE FLOORS
I counted about 4 dance-floors while I was there:
- The main dance-floor – mostly plays psychedelic trance music
- The chill dome – mainly plays chilled/ambient music
- The deep house/ techno dance-floor
- The “confused” dance-floor that mixed all of the above.
The great part about the festival is that there are so many activities in addition to the music / dance-floors. To mention a few:
- Walking around and having a look at all the beautifully made art sculptures and paintings.
- Climbing onto different lookout points. I liked the beautiful wooden staircase and the big wooden tree house.
- Finding your way through the Corn Labyrinth.
- Watching artists create beautiful paintings in front of your eyes and viewing stunning art pieces in the art gallery.
- Having conversations with your fellow “Ozorians” at the tea shop (a place you can chill and try out yummy tea flavors at no cost).
- Attending a meditation or yoga session.
- Relaxing in the healing tent where you can be pampered!
- Relaxing in the beautiful garden and just making friends.
- Cooking at the communal kitchens. This was very popular and I saw many “Ozorians” taking corn from the corn field and “braai” them!
I can probably write a book about my experience at Ozora but everyone’s experiences are so different. This blog is about trying to prepare you (as best I can) for Ozora. The only advice I can give you is that you need to be prepared, expect nothing and just have fun! Be open minded, respectful of others and get involved!
They say a picture paints a thousand words so please enjoy some beautiful shots I managed to obtain through a great photographer Djooze Von Herhoff. You can view all his stunning pics through his facebook page. These are just a few…..
Just remember that life begins at the end of your comfort zone! So follow the road less traveled and enjoy the journey….
Support a few locals from Hungary by checking out their facebook pages and share:
- Global Illumination: VJ, set decoration, stage installation
- PsyDog : Dog accessories
- Nootka Menura : Tribal Clothing