Bringing "ageOzora" from Japan to the World
Help Us Spread The Wonder of Ozora!
January of this year saw Japan's largest club, the legendary "ageHa" (pronounced "ah-geh-ha") permanently close its doors after a two-decade run. But though the venue is gone, the brand still lives, and will be producing the pre-party of the world's greatest music festival, "Ozora," this summer. The pre-party cast is set to be composed of entirely Japanese performers, starting off the Hungarian gathering with a unique bang after a three-year hiatus. The aim of this crowdfunding campaign is to help spread the unique Ozorian love that permeates the festival, while showcasing the talent of Japanese artists.
This site is the English version of the "Ozora Dome Zero - Japan Edition" project page, located on the Japanese crowdfunding platform "Campfire."
As Campfire does not accept donations coming from those living outside of Japan, and backer rewards such as photo albums / official Ozora t-shirts similarly cannot be internationally shipped—such rewards can be obtained via this site, by funding the project directly via PayPal. Furthermore, even after the Campfire campaign ends, this site will remain active, and be open to further donations. Note the specified PayPal account belongs to the ageHa / Ozora Tokyo producer Masaaki Obari. 100% of donations received will be used to fund the Dome Zero project. Project updates and milestones will also be reported here. Stay tuned and thank you for your support.
The below URL leads to the original project page on the Campfire platform (note: site available in Japanese only). Here, all backer rewards can be selected.
Message from Wegha [OZORA Festival Organizer]
Thank you so much for showing interest in this project. My name is Masaaki Obari, ageHa's producer.
Just what is ageHa, you ask? It's the name of Japan's largest club, formerly located in Tokyo's Shin-Kiba district, which ran for twenty years before closing down in January. During my twenties, I both VJed and organized parties, before becoming an ageHa employee at age thirty. To date, I've worked there for fourteen years.
Throughout our many years of party-making, there is a standout event, done in collaboration with the world's greatest music festival, Ozora. Started in 2015, it's called "Ozora - One Day in Tokyo" (also lovingly shortened to "ageOzora"). The response garnered was phenomenal, and we've been able to hold the party seven times thus far.
Each year, a great many of the Ozora organizers and staff flew over to participate in the One Day in Tokyo series. Likewise, we travel from Japan to Hungary every summer for the Ozora Festival, deepening this globe-straddling bond we've cultivated. It's because of music that our respective cultures have been allowed to connect, something we're very, very thankful for.
The Project's Inception and Path Forward
Though ageHa's Shin-Kiba location is now gone, leaving ageOzora without a home, the party has fostered precious connections that are still very much alive. This got me thinking: "What new challenge can we tackle to maintain these connections?" It was then the concept dawned on me. We would produce the first twenty-four hours of the Ozora Festival—its pre-party—using a lineup comprised exclusively of Japanese artists. And thus, this project was born. Other pre-parties have been held in the past, produced by teams from Goa, India, as well as world-famous record labels Iboga and Zenon. One year, the legendary DJ Goa Gil played for the full twenty-four hours, all by himself. However, in the case of Japan, taking a team of artists and staff all the way to Hungary is difficult—requiring no small amount of money. Which is why I thought to use the profit from January's Ozora - One Day in Tokyo to fund the project and make it feasible. Thankfully, ageHa corporate approved the idea. Likewise, the Ozora crew in Hungary welcomed it with wide-open arms. In essence, this project's very existence is thanks to the many party-goers who have supported ageOzora over the years. And this crowdfunding campaign will amplify the party's reach, allowing it to touch even more people, and at a higher quality. After two long years of closed borders, this party represents something very significant, and the chance to execute it could not have come at a more opportune time. I'm certain the floor will go absolutely wild with an incredible, special energy.
The exterior of the "Dome," where the pre-party is set to be held. (Photo by Magu Sumita.)
The Dome's interior. (Photo by Magu Sumita.)
The Project's Current State
The project is already in motion with a finalized lineup of over twenty musicians and performers. Including cameramen and staff, the total member count comes to over thirty. The project was open to any and all Japan-based performers, with over seventy DJs and artists applying for consideration.
To date, we've conducted many similar projects at ageHa, but few have garnered such an immense response. Clearly, the project was turning heads.
In the course of advancing the project, however, the effects of the recent war—and the sharp plummet of the yen to the lowest it's been in twenty years—has exhausted our budget, forcing us to look outward.
Amidst this, there are team members who are willing to pay their own way to Hungary if it means being able to participate. We consider ourselves very lucky to have such a passionate crew, and the same extends to the wonderful ageOzora fans supporting us from the sidelines. This is exactly why we are continuing to push forward, and are firmly committed to ensuring our artists give the best performance possible, even with limited funds.
Recently, the Dome Zero timetable was published on the official Ozora website, imbuing the project with a real sense of what's to come. All the performers are hyped and eager for the big day.
- The "Dome Zero" Facebook Event Page
Dome Zero Crew Members
AJ (Church of Trance), aTs (DMT Entertainment), BUZZ (Sangoma Records), Dj Morrieo (Parvati Records), HISA (Blacklite Records), KAZU-P (0=zero production), KAZYA (Future Music Records), Mijinko (Zion 604 / Matsuri Digital), MISAKI (Blacklite Records), Ree.K (Hypnodisk) -30th Anniversary set-, YUYA (Otogi Records)
■LIVE - Producer set
MIROK (Grasshopper Records), Sancho Meiso Chaya, SUN69 (Blacklite Records), UNI (Eclipse Rec.)
BEAT SEX (Seiichi Sakuma / MASA / SUN69)
■PERFORMANCE - LED & FIRE
ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΑ, Cosmic Nexus, Tribal Assassin
Magu Sumita, Kentaro Libertasvir
Micaco Ando (umitomorito.com), takayuki kurita, Ryoko Obari
Masaaki Obari (ageHa / DANCE ON THE PLANET)
What This Project Aims to Achieve
Though many high hurdles lie ahead, as explained, we are dedicated to making the project a success.
In parallel to this, we will capture the look, feel, and energy of the party experience via photographs and video. This will allow us to convey Ozora's message of love to an even wider audience—a highly important goal to us.
Another core objective of the project is introducing Japanese artists to the world scene. By the same token, we hope the project inspires more of our artists to set their sights outside Japan, to Ozora and beyond. We want to be a beacon, inspiring courage in all those who strive for great change.
This crowdfunding campaign aims to get even more people involved with ageOzora, as well as generate content which will allow those back in Japan and all around the globe to savor the festival experience.
The Ozora Festival, Explained
Some of you might be wondering "Why is it called Ozora Festival?" The answer is simple, really, "Ozora" being the name of the town the festival is held in.
The gathering is held on a sprawling, valley-nestled pasture surrounded by fields of corn and sunflowers. Located approximately 90 miles / 150km from Hungary's capital of Budapest, the location was first host to 1999's "Solipse," timed to coincide with a total solar eclipse. The party planted roots there, evolving into the Ozora we know and love, the absolute pinnacle of music festivals. This year marks its twenty-third edition. Each summer, approximately forty-thousand people from all over Europe, and the world at large, flock to Ozora for a week of communal living and celebrating life.
Ozora's most defining aspect is the kindness of the people. It would take an untold amount of words to fully describe the love that permeates the festival grounds. Which is why we recommend you take a look at the pictures and videos and, perhaps one day, go experience the real thing yourself. I guarantee your life will change.
I've been other festivals all around the globe and Ozora is truly special, so much so that I even hope to be buried there when I die.
With each party comes an after-movie, released with cinematic quality and a deep message. Just watch and you're sure to see—nothing comes close to Ozora .
Each year, the Ozora Tokyo team subtitles these after-movies and holds premiere showings, making the experience accessible to the Japanese audience.
Photo by Amit Itach
Photo by Amit Itach
Photo by Pawel Wieloch
From My First Ozora to the First ageOzora
- The Start of a Seven Year Journey -
My first-ever Ozora was in 2013, as a normal party-goer. My wife and I were engaged, and this was an early honeymoon of sorts. Prior to attending, I hadn't an inkling of the experience I was in for, and how profoundly it would affect my life.
For more than five years, my days had been inundated with work at ageHa, producing events and managing operations. Every aspect of Ozora was a huge culture shock, one that permanently changed my outlook on life. Each day, for a span of a whole week, I was absolutely taken with emotion and gratitude.
After returning to Japan, DJ Hatta, whose first performance at Ozora was also in 2013, invited the festival's organizer to Japan. It was then the idea of holding an Ozora event at ageHa came into being. Eventually, this culminated in 2015's first-ever ageOzora (a process which I'll elaborate on some other time). Since that initial party, ageOzora has become an important bridge connecting the Hungarian and Japanese crews. It has also served as a mechanism for showcasing Ozora to Japan, energizing the scene on a massive scale.
As a result, each subsequent year has seen a great number of Japanese make for the faraway Hungarian festival.
ageOzora has been held six times between 2015 and 2020, with 2021 being skipped over due to the pandemic. The final, seventh edition was held this January, right before ageHa's closure, and featured virtual sets from international headliners. The turnout was tremendous, coming in at over 3,000, allowing the end of an era to be punctuated with a great success. You can follow party's incredible journey through pictures on the Ozora Tokyo website.
- The Official "ageOzora" / Ozora Tokyo Website: https://www.ozoratokyo.com/
How Your Pledges Will Be Used
The goal for this crowdfunding campaign has been set at 1.5 million JPY (roughly 11,000 USD). Below follows a breakdown of how the funds will be used should we reach that goal.
- Reward production + shipping = 400,000 JPY
- Editing (videos, photo albums) = 300,000 JPY
- Flights = 450,000 JPY
- Misc. expenses = 69,500 JPY
- Campfire platform fee, transaction fees + tax = 18.7% / 280,500 JPY
Note that the funds for this project are coming out of the profit generated by ageOzora / Ozora - One Day in Tokyo. Ticket sales for Hungary's Ozora in the summer will not translate into any profit for us whatsoever.
As previously stated, the recent political and economic shifts have placed an immense strain on our budget, forcing us to look elsewhere. Therefore, this campaign will be used not only to produce content that simulates the Ozora experience, but fund flights for our Dome Zero performers as well.
While the Japanese Campfire platform allows for the selection of all backer rewards, some items, such as photo albums and official Ozora t-shirts, cannot be internationally shipped. Hence, we set up this English site, which allows for these restricted rewards to be obtained by funding the project directly, via PayPal.
Furthermore, even after the Campfire campaign ends, this site will stay in operation and accept further donations. The specified PayPal account belongs to the ageHa / Ozora Tokyo producer Masaaki Obari, with 100% of donations set to fund the Dome Zero project. Updates and milestones will reported right here on this website, so stay tuned and thank you for your support.
Flyer & After-Movie Crediting + Thank You E-Mail
An official flyer featuring backers' names is set to be passed out by project members on the Ozora festival grounds. A heartfelt thank you message will also be sent out via PC in mid-August, following the crew's return to Japan. As for the official after-movie, this is scheduled for release in October, with backers' names to be featured in the end roll.
Backer-Exclusive Videos + Thank You E-Mail
Exclusive video content will be made available to backers after the Ozora Festival ends. We will also publish videos while the festival is ongoing, provided we can secure a stable, on-site connection. The highlight of this reward tier will be extended footage of all Dome Zero performers. Captured with a five-camera setup for maximum immersion, this content is slated for release in September.
Note these videos may be made released to the general public sometime next year.
+ Flyer & After-Movie Crediting
+ Thank You E-Mail
Back the project directly via this link:
More than 30 USD / Additional Backing
In addition to the backer-exclusive videos, name crediting, and thank you e-mail tiers, we are accepting additional donations. Please choose your desired donation amount.
IMPORTANT: About Credit Names
When making your pledge, be sure to enter your name via the comment field as you want it to appear. If you do not wish your name to appear at all, please contact us. Please avoid using expressions which refer or allude to specific individuals. Vulgarity will likewise not be tolerated.
July 17: Crowdfunding campaign ends.
July 26: Japan crew departs.
July 30 - 31: Dome Zero pre-party.
August 1 - 7: Ozora Festival is held for one week, with the Japan crew returning home upon its conclusion.
Early August: Backer-exclusive videos released at regular intervals.
Mid-August: Post-return report via e-mail.
Late August: Thank you letters mailed.
October: Photo albums mailed and official after-movie released.
Even though we are still in the early stages of this project and the crowdfunding campaign has yet to conclude, I can't help but be overcome with gratitude. Everything, from the very moment Dome Zero became a possibility, we owe to our beloved ageOzora following—those who came to share the dance floor with us, and those around the world who approve of our cause.
It's because of you, because of your enthusiasm that we are able to embark on this new journey. That's the beauty of how parties work.
Dome Zero is not just our party. It's yours too. And we would be eternally grateful for your help in making it the best it can possibly be. On behalf of all the performers and staff—thank you for your contribution.
This campaign utilizes a flexible funding model. In the event the campaign does not reach the target goal, the project will still move forward with rewards still delivered.