The first few days and weeks of January can be the darkest of the year – both literally and metaphorically. But a cosy and compact, beautiful and boutique festival called Ocaso (https://ocasofestival.com/) offers a perfect way out. This escapist getaway takes place in a gorgeous coastal town called Tamarindo in Costa Rica right on the beach. It has a jungle to explore on one side and sweeping sand bays and breathtaking ocean views on the other.
The parties take place of course on the beach and in the jungle after the main events. They are all atmospheric and unlike any other you will have experienced with DJs really suiting their sounds to the setting. There is just one main stage that means you never have to miss anything – a real focus is put on bringing everyone together at once to share in the rich soundtracks.
There were plenty of standouts, too, Michael Bibi played on the Friday night and dropped plenty of pumped tech house vibes that really got things going on a good footing and amped up the crowd. They are friendly and from all over the world with smiling faces and warm charm that makes the festival feel all the more communal and special. After dropping the likes of his own ‘Got the Fire’ Bibi also provided one of the most special moments of the festival when he dropped Insomnia by ‘Faithless’ under a full moon. It was a spine tingling moment that was the best way possible to pay respects to the late great Maxi Jazz.
On Saturday Bob Moses played a perfectly pitched set of their signature deep, wavy, enchanting sound that never sounded better than in this place. They dropped the likes of ‘Dimensions’ by Ben Sterling and ‘Confiara’ by Fabio Alampi and ‘Enough to Believe (Jamie Jones Remix)’. Solomun played for hours till mid-morning, with everyone eating out of his hand as he wooed and seduced us all with his skills. Duke’s classic ‘So In Love’ was a real moment that brought some old school vocal and trance-tinged vibes and later he went harder with more edgy techno before bringing back the good time grooves with the likes of Sorley’s remix of ‘Woman Like You’ and Chucky73’s ‘Bzrp 43’.
The production at the festival is superb, with towering organic sculptures dotted about and the main stage sound system loud, crystal clear and packs a bassy punch. At night, a spectacular laser show lights up the skies above and the structure itself glows like a 3D hallucination. The trees around the edge also catch the light adding a mysterious sensory edge to the proceedings.
Elsewhere, West Coast house legend Doc Martin, who runs the Sublevel Music label, dropped some fresh house heat with his distinctive twang and Adriatique closed the festival with plenty of spine tingling house grooves, rich melodies and beautiful moments we will always remember. As the smoke machines punted out and the richness of the lights bathed us all in warm blues, the bass provided comfort and dancers grew ever more wild.
The local town also offers a great way to spend some time exploring the rich local customs and cultures. The people are friendly and all your senses will be activated with famously fresh seafood and friendly locals. Ocaso is truly the most exquisite winter getaway.