Ozora Festival 2015, was anticipated, it came, it went, but the memories stay. Wow! What an adventure Ozora Festival was. Leaving Australia in the opposite season and travelling half way around the world certainly built the anticipation further. I had been planning for the festival for months, looking out on the Australian bush, trying to imagine where I would be next. Then the time came and I arrived late in the night. Many Thanks to Uwe for picking me up from Vienna with my mountain of luggage, and getting me there. I think it was a blessing to have arrived late in the night, as the day time temperatures were worthy of an Australian Summer.
After months of communicating electronically with Marti and Neko, I finally met these two organisers of the Arts Program and Mirador Gallery space. It is always nice to put a real person to the digital personality built up ones head. So after our brief greetings the dynamic duo were off into the night on various organisational missions.
The artist camp was atop the hill overlooking the main stage where the music pounded all night long. I thought I wouldn’t survive the festival sleeping at such close quarters, but long hot days were always enough to have me sleep through anything… other than the heat of a new day. This thus meant a regime of short sleep throughout the festival. Well, we were all there to party, so, no rest for the wicked!
The next day I sought out our gallery space, the Mirador. It is here that I found Dennis Konstantin, a good friend and painter out of Hamburg who was here to present in the gallery also. I also found the crew of Vienna artists and friends, Bella Vollen, Benedetto Fellin and Timea Tallian all busy preparing for their onsite painting and performance project. Along with the faces I knew, were the new ones to meet and befriend.
Well, it was time to get down to work and start on my own artwork. I had brought a large compliment of acrylic paints and brushes with me. Acrylic paints are the way to go on a festival because of the environment. The conditions can vary greatly, as oils need a special environment that isn’t prone airborne contaminants or other mishaps with masses of people milling around.
During the day when the gallery provided a shaded cool relief from the scorching Sun, I was surprised that visitor numbers were much less than at night. When the gallery was lit up, it drew the people like moths to a neon sign. With the gallery open to 2am every night, it made for very long days.
The Mirador and the hill upon which it sits provides a brilliant location to watch the end of those days, with glorious golden sunsets fading into a fiery red ball. Climbing to the top of the Mirador allows you to look out over the whole festival. With approximately 35,000 people it was a small city. Just as with any modern city, it glitters in the night, but in a way that brings a magic to the place. Much creativity and effort is put into lighting the the spaces throughout the festival.
The artist camp was a great place to retreat to at the end of each day. There were hot showers (if you timed it right), coffee and tea as well as Wi-Fi! Having broken my smart phone on the very first night was unfortunate, but I did have my laptop with me as I needed it for my presentations. However, I spent very little time on the internet, as there was a far more interesting world about me.
And directly about me at the artist camp were very interesting people to meet. The DJs passed through here, media people reporting on the event and others there to document it, such as the Soul Safari Collective.
With my background in visuals and TV production, these four guys with their video rigs really stood out. So I got to know these guys and regularly saw them at the artist camp as they came back in from shooting to check through their footage. Very impressive work! I’m looking forward to the video they cut together.
It’s a sign of the age we live in. An ever constant presence at the festival were the drones with cameras mounted on them that were flying over head, looking for that special birds eye perspective.
Other sights to be seen were the amazing building structures and large sculptures. Many of these took on completely different characters at night as they were lit up with projections. There was so much to explore!
While largely an electronic music festival, there were other genres to enjoy at the Dragon’s Nest stage, a huge egg like structure right alongside the Dragon Bridge that guarded it. I’ve been to Boom Festival in Portual, but it has nothing in comparison to the buildings, structures, pathways that weave through the landscape. There was also a circus, wandering performers, film nights, lectures and workshops to absorb your attention.
I also had lectures and a workshop to present. “Art Culture Creation” was the further development of a workshop that I presented in Australia. I really enjoyed working with the people that joined in. There were no innocent bystanders with this one. I co-opted anybody that came to watch, and they quickly understood it was more fun to participate.
The gallery wasn’t the only place you could come to watch us paint. On the final night Nora helped Dennis and I bring our materials and equipment down to the Chill Stage where we had our space set up to perform aside the DJ’s own space.
After a full week of music, paint and blazing sunshine, I like thousands of others said our goodbyes to old and new friends and packed our camp sites up. We left the dust of the festival behind us, but took the wonderful memories with us.
Photos by Nora Bankuty and myself.