1. People And Community
In all honesty, I preferred the crowd in Boom festival rather than Ozora. Even though Boom is much bigger, the people in Boom seem to share some sort of common vibration that Ozora doesn’t quite satisfy. I felt like Boom was much more of a community of like-minded people, whereas Ozora was pretty fragmented. The crowd in Boom is more peaceful and psychedelic whereas in Ozora it’s more crazy, rough, a lot of drunk people, and a different drug environment. I felt more alone in Ozora walking around alone than I did in Boom (relatively, because I didn’t feel alone in either and made lots of friends in both).
And this makes all the difference when you’re tripping as well; I went to Boom alone, and in Ozora I went with friends but I spent a lot of time alone too; and doing acid was a much better experience in Boom. It was just a lot more comfortable and fluid. In Ozora, there were points where I wasn’t entirely comfortable. It’s all well and good that I can handle the drug, but at even larger doses I wouldn’t have a second thought in Boom, but in Ozora I would because of the vibe of the crowd. Of course this also comes down to personal preference. I made a lot more friends in Boom, and I even lost my phone in the middle of the Dance Temple on the second day (think 20,000+ people). I got it back the next day – and people were getting back everything from combs to wallets full of cash, in the Lost and Found area. This isn’t as common in Ozora, which says something significant about the type of community in each.
2. Not Commercial
I guess the main difference between the two boils down to a conversation I had with the guy beyond the Info desk in Ozora. “I don’t even like this type of music,” he said. What? You don’t even like techno? And he said, “No I hate electronic music.” So why are you doing this? I asked him; “It’s a job, I’m doing it for money,” he said with a smile on his face. And at that point my whole feeling of Ozora made a lot more sense, and I realized there’s just no comparison between the two. In Boom festival, most of the people who work there are volunteers. They are people that attended the festival and love it for what it is; you can register to be a volunteer when you go there, for the next one. They don’t do it for money, because they just get free accommodation, passes and food; they are doing it because of love. And this makes all the difference in how you feel in that type of environment and what kind of vibe you get. After all you wouldn’t just be incentived by free stay if you didn’t even resonate with the psychedelic community.
3. Setting + Lake
Though Ozora is a lot more green, I preferred the setting of Boom Festival. It’s situated around this huge lake which you can easily swim a kilometer in. Because the weather is so hot, the lake is awesome to jump into during the day. Ozora recently made a man-made lake but it’s not that great in comparison. They have a restriction as to the number of people that can go in at a time and there are a bunch of attendants just standing there. Also, the area where Boom is situated is a lot larger, and so even though there are more people than Ozora, it feels much less cramped. There’s plenty of random spaces in Boom to go and chill; they’ve tied hammocks all around the healing and chill-out areas and because the campsite is so far, I would just go and pass out there in the morning and then start again in the afternoon. However, there isn’t as much greenery in Boom as there is in Ozora. So it can feel a bit dry especially in the heat but it didn’t make too much of a difference for me.
4. Availability And Quality Of Drugs
In Portugal, drugs are decriminalized. This means that there is no checking when you enter, and also inside the festival, sale and consumption of drugs is very open. They even have an area where you can get your drugs tested for purity, for free, to check they are safe to consume. In Ozora, most of the drugs are sold on the stairs that go down towards the main stage and it’s super shady. It’s more like people are trying to sell you drugs without any consciousness; and it’s not always that good quality. It was extremely hard to find weed in Ozora though in Boom it was super easy. My friends managed to score some weed but it was literally like the bush weed you get in Asia. In Boom, there are bunch of ‘candy shops’ where people set up stalls and you can purchase goodies there. Again this relates to the fact that Boom is less commercial, which doesn’t make you feel like the dealers are just trying to scam you like you’re some fucking sheep. The spirit in Boom Festival is genuinely free; whereas in Ozora they have attendants in bright yellow jackets positioned randomly inside the seating area and the festival which makes you feel like you’re constantly being watched. From what I heard a few people got caught for buying stuff from the dealers, and it’s not a nice feeling to be paranoid when you’re trying to be free.
5. Environmental Consciousness
In Boom, there was a huge focus on sustainability. And one of the reasons they have the festival every two years instead of every year is because they give time for the land to recover. They have just organized things a lot better, and so the environment is much cleaner. In Boom, you have segregated recycling bins in different areas whereas in Ozora they just had black bin bags hanging around. In Boom, there was a greater focus on reducing plastic pollution and the cups were not made out of plastic. In Ozora, the land would become quite dirty and littered in some places. In terms of hygiene, there would be volunteers who cleaned the toilets very frequently in Boom and so you wouldn’t feel bad about taking a piss in what is essentially a hole dug into the ground (again these dry toilets without a flush were made to save water); whereas in Ozora the toilets would get so dirty sometimes, I’d literally just pee somewhere discreetly in the grass. A lot of things are solar-powered in Boom and in general, they have a lot of projects to protect the environment. This is not really so much the case in Ozora.
6. Chill Out Stage
Though I really love my full-on and dark forest, the chill out stage in Boom was probably my favorite area. I spent two whole nights there when I was tripping really hard it was the craziest thing ever, and the lake is just outside so in the morning I’d just walk over and take a swim. The artists are amazing, and also the vibe; I guess the décor inside The Dome in Ozora is a lot more psychedelic but I preferred the music in Boom. There’s also a little chai shop area next to the chill-out stage which is super dope to chill in, when you’re tired of moving around. It was overall a friendlier environment than Ozora, and walking around here in the middle of the night on my own tripping my face off was extremely enjoyable. In Ozora they also have another ambient-type stage near the lake but I didn’t get the chance to go there. Again this kind of relates to the community being nicer in Boom. However, I wouldn’t discredit Ozora for this completely because they had some really cool artists in these stages as well. I just couldn’t compare it going there directly from Boom.
Both Boom and Ozora have plenty of food options, but there’s a lot more in Boom, especially of the healthy variety. I can’t count the number of Acai sorbets I swallowed in Boom. Also, they have food in all the different areas. However, in Ozora, you mostly just get food in the main market area. There were good food stalls in both; there was this one vegetarian place in Ozora which was literally like a café in Parvati Valley with huge tapestries of psychedelic Shivas and elephants draped everywhere. But again I preferred the food in Boom. However, Ozora was a little cheaper in terms of food. Both festivals have their own supermarkets but the one in Boom has more stuff.
8. Tripping Environment
If you’re going to a psychedelic music festival, it’s likely you’re going to consume some psychedelics (though a lot of people don’t as well and it’s still a beautiful experience, the psychedelic community is isn’t necessarily about drugs, after all). But from my personal experience I liked Boom a lot more as a place to take psychedelics. Literally everywhere you go, there is something to trip on. The huge multi-colour geometrically changing sunflowers in the middle of the field, the trippy little gardens with UV mushrooms, or the huge psychedelic dragon in the middle of the lake which looks crazy at night. Though the stage décor in Ozora is amazing too, in terms of the whole area I preferred Boom. Both of them have art galleries, and live painters, but actually I guess I liked the Art area in Ozora a bit more. And if you’re tripping, you can tell that in Boom, they have thought about every little thing you might need or think about. If you need water, you’ll find a water tap somewhere nearby; if you need to chill there will be a hammock or a peaceful place to sit. And the Dance Temple in Boom is legitimately like a psychedelic paradise. When I saw it for the first time I wasn’t even on anything, I was completely sober, and I just stood there for five minutes with my mouth open wondering how something could be so fucking psychedelic. And they do a lot of rituals and cleansing around the festival area; since psychedelics are to a large extent to do with vibes, it just serves as a better place for taking psychedelic substances. Obviously the respect they have for the environment means that the environment then reflects it back. Not to say that Ozora wasn’t an amazing place to trip – the stages were amazing there too, but Boom was more, for lack of a better word, ‘concious.’
9. Healing Area
There were a wide variety of activities in both Boom and Ozora. On this dimension, it’s a little hard to just compare because both were so unique and many of the things that were in Ozora weren’t in Boom and vice verca. Overall Boom is a lot bigger, and in terms of spiritual or healing activities, there was a lot more going on. There were tons of interesting people from all over the world, who came and did some amazing workshops. However, in Ozora, it’s a bit smaller so from that perspective it can be a bit more personalized. I also met these really cool Shamans in Ozora and did a Rapé (pronounced Ra-Pay) ceremony with them, and this was pretty interesting. There were also tons of lectures in Ozora, whereas in Boom I didn’t find as much of that. There is also a really nice community kitchen in Ozora which is in this little foresty area; the community kitchen in Boom is really small and more into the campsite. Overall I would still say I preferred the healing area in Boom primarily because of the vibe, the vast variety of things to do, and they also have tons of places to chill around there and a few healthy food stalls too.
So yes as you can see I preferred Boom Festival on the whole as compared to Ozora. I’m pretty sure I will make it there every time it’s happening, given that I’m around. Having said that, there were certain things that I really loved about Ozora for what they were. In terms of art and craft workshops, the Artibarn area in Ozora was super unique; I made my own UV lighted jewelerry, trippy masks, and even tie-dye paper. Also the Pumpui stage in Ozora is fucking lit – which is basically techno and psy-techno; in Boom they have techno-ish stuff in Alchemy Circle but both are quite different. A lot of the artists in Ozora didn’t play in Boom and vice verca. So overall they are all both quite different, and depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in either of them.