Odyssee is Berlin’s annual New Year’s Eve psychedelic festival, featuring 40 hours of music from local artists as well as international producers like Liquid Soul in the progressive psy room, Sonic Species on the full-on psy floor, and many others.
Berlin’s nightlife is legendary, and 2000+ people had responded “Going” on Facebook so it was clearly going to be a big party. Entry was 70 Euros so not cheap, and hopefully worth the big ticket price! I still didn’t know quite what to expect but my hopes were high, and Odyssee 2019 didn’t disappoint.
Arriving just after 11pm on New Year’s Eve we were lucky to somehow skip a very long line that snaked its way down the open plaza outside the enormous SEZ complex where the event was held.
We entered and found the cloakroom. In Berlin it’s apparently common that cloakrooms only charge per person rather than per item. This is really nice considering the number of layers needed for going outside here in winter.
The venue unfolded across several levels, comprised of four dance floors, food and drinks outlets dotted around the place, market stalls selling psy-wear, a psychedelic art gallery with trippy paintings, and several sprawling chill-out areas. It was a really suitable indoor playground for those more accustomed to sprawling outdoor psy festivals in the European summer months.
The decor across the venue was quite beautiful, with a lot of UV art, especially on the dance floors and stages, which in combination with amazing visual projections made walls seem like liquid. Very trippy to observe. It must have taken many hours to make so many big spaces look so psychedelic. Props to the decor and projection artists involved.
There was a large variety of excellent psychedelic music. The progression from a softer tempo earlier in the night to more pounding beats and faster BPMs later was incremental and smooth, a credit to good programming.
The crowd was mostly German and international psy folk, along with hipsters and mainstream party-goers in the mix. All were up for a massive New Year’s Eve and I doubt many were disappointed. People seemed happy and were generally friendly, with some talk of the Boom festival and other upcoming psy fests to be had.
Drink prices were reasonable, which was nice on a night where some parties take extortionate bar prices. Food was really good quality, with delicious pizzas from 6 Euro and crepes even cheaper
In a corner near the entrance was the table of a German harm-reduction organisation. They can’t perform Ecstasy pill tests under German law, but instead provide harm-reduction services like information booklets about many of the substances one might encounter, syringes for measuring substances accurately before consumption (eg GHB where the difference between living and dying is mere milliliters), charcoal filters for smokers, condoms (if I remember correctly), and other well considered items.
Its was nice to see these harm-minimisation volunteers doing whatever they can to help save lives while governments and international bodies continue to make drug-taking far more dangerous than it should ever be. Their crucial life-saving mission seemed an ongoing protest of prohibition of substances that are in and of themselves mostly safe when used sensibly.
In a corner of the psychedelic art gallery was a modern day “Mind Machine” where party goers could put on a mask that showed patterns of flashing lights and colours that according to the machine’s owner were “for pleasure”. I didn’t try but it looked like the user at the time was having a blast.
The dance floors were thronging. The big ticket price was fair considering what must have been massive production costs. People were clearly having a very fun time, myself included. Distractions from that good time were few, and it was a really well done party overall.
Odyssee is clearly a well oiled machine that’s been running for many years to serve the Berlin psy-scene’s need for a high-quality New Year’s shindig. Check out http://odyssee-berlin.de for more about the 2019 party and info on their plans for New Year’s Eve 2020.
Written by Adrian Columb