A projection of one million visitors were expected to head to Oregon to see the solar eclipse in totality. One of the many festivals, but by far the biggest in Oregon, was the Oregon Eclipse Festival located about an hour outside of the small town of Prineville. Fourteen global collaborators came together to produce a festival, unlike any other festival I have been to before. Symbiosis (California), Lightning in a Bottle (California), Bass Coast Festival (Canada), Beloved (Oregon), Envision Festival (Costa Rica), Hadra (France), Noisily (UK), Origin (South Africa), Ometeotl (Mexico), Rainbow Serpent (Australia), Re:Birth (Japan), Sonic Bloom (Colorado), Science and Non Duality (California) and Universo Parellelo (Brazil) brought the best of their events to create an out of the box world that has a little something for everyone. For the week of August 17th through the 23rd, attendees were completely off the grid on the Big Summit Prairie near the Ochoco National Forest without cell phone reception or internet. With one lane roads leading in and out of the festival, time, patience and dedication were key to getting you to your global oasis. Now, let's dive into the beautiful experience that was the Oregon Eclipse Festival.
Early arrival was an option at the festival, but like many others, we passed through Prineville on Thursday just before 9:00 a.m. when the festival gates were scheduled to open. About 35 miles were between Prineville and Big Summit Prairie, but with thirty thousand people heading to the festival, traffic delays were expected and unavoidable. As we curved through the beautiful Oregon scenery we came upon the prairie with only two dirt road entrances leading into the festival. Cows grazed the land as we passed by two dilapidated homes which once were the landowner's summer residences. Nine hours later we pulled into the rough terrain, parked the minivan and unpacked our home for the week.
The size of this festival is hard to put into words. Our campsite was located in the lower right-hand corner which took about twenty-five minutes to walk to the closest gate. As we walked inside the festival, the grounds were already bumping with tunes of all genres and filled with people of all types. The Psy-Trance stage was the heart beat of the festival and played music for at least 22 hours a day. Each stage was artfully crafted and not your regular "festival stage." The grounds felt like you entered another world, one where community, music and art were the focus and kindness was key. Seven stages and 400 artists kept the crowds grooving all week. The String Cheese Incident, Beats Antique, STS9, Justin Martin, Ardalan, Shpongle, Emancipator, Bassnectar, Bleep Bloop, The Gaslamp Killer, Eoto and Desert Hearts were just some of the acts who made the journey to the eclipse gathering.
Not only could you dance for hours on end, but you could also enjoy many other features the festival offered. A huge benefit was the lake located in the middle of the festival. During the day, people floated and enjoyed the water on rafts of all types where you can either listen to a DJ playing on one side or the many different brass bands who played the "Sym-Bi-Oat." The DeLorean time machine even made an appearance zooming through the water and that wasn't even one of the weirdest things we had seen that day. The Dance Shala and Yoga tent were places you could go to unwind, release some tension and learn some new moves. You could also attend many workshops on sustainability, nourishment, the eclipse, permaculture, meditation, sound healing, etc. If you wanted to view the festival from above, you could also take a ride on a hot air balloon which made beautiful additions to the skyline. This was also a family friendly event with family camping and a "kidzbiosis" area for fun activities throughout the day.
One of the best things the festival had to offer was its selection of food and craft vendors. You could choose from sushi, crepes, burgers, lobster rolls, fried rice, juice, pizza and more which included organic, vegan, gluten free and locally sourced vendors creating healthy and delicious options to refuel. Let me also mention the fact that there were areas all around the festival for recycling, composting and throwing away your garbage the proper way. This was the cleanest festival I have ever attended as everyone did their part and picked up after themselves. The craft vendors felt like it stretched for miles with hand crafted jewelry, art, clothing and anything imaginable you could wish to purchase.
After making it through the weekend, we had landed on eclipse day. The festival created an eclipse viewing area with large wooden structures called the Solar Temple for viewing and miles of land to spread out with your loved ones and friends. People all around shared and gifted eclipse viewing glasses to each other in preparation for this phenomenon. As the partial eclipse began, representatives and elders from many nations across the globe spoke about the eclipse and brought their intentions into alignment. As the moon moved across the sun, the sky turned darker and the air turned colder. A purple-red hue filled the sky as the moon reached totality with the sun. This moment was one of the most beautiful, jaw dropping, emotional experiences we shared with thirty thousand people. A piercing white ring circled the moon as tears fell down our faces. The energy and love were overwhelming as people hugged, kissed, cheered and howled at the moon. Once the sun peeked through after totality, "Here Comes The Sun" played through a speaker near us where people danced, laughed and smiled, and in this moment, everything seemed right in the world.
The festival continued on for two days after the eclipse, but by Tuesday, my group was ready to head home. The Oregon Eclipse festival was by far one of the largest, most creative and life changing festivals we have ever attended. The art installations, tents for relaxing and napping, many trees to hang your hammock, delicious food, wonderful vibes and music of all genres created an escape from reality that was unlike any other. It honestly felt like the attendees ran the festival as you weren't hassled by security, were allowed to bring your beverages inside the festival grounds and could wear anything and everything your heart desired. What an amazing and truly unforgettable festival on the Big Summit Prairie. If you get a chance to make it to the next eclipse, this is a life changing phenomenon you will never forget. Thank you to everyone who came together to produce and participate in this magnificent event.