Oregon Eclipse review by Francois, a 6 foot duck
It’s hard being an inflatable duck. Mobility isn’t the best. However, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to travel across the country to Big Summit Prairie in Oregon for the great, the grand, the magnificent, Total Solar Eclipse Gathering of 2017.
We all thought it was going to be a shit show. However, when the line began 28 miles from the festival entrance, despite early entry, we knew we were in for a real treat. Early entry was not very exclusive by any means. After miraculously finding our friends in line (who made it despite putting gasoline in their parents diesel truck pulling a fifth wheel), we only had to wait 8 more hours to get in. 13 hours total in line. We arrived at our campsite around 8am on Thursday. Of course, our other random friends happened to serendipitously camp right next to us.
The campground was more reminiscent of burning man than a classic music festival. There were an abundance of RVS, domes, hammock hangouts, theme camps, and of course, a whole slew of beautiful people in magnificent intergalactic costumes. It might be because the burn was only a couple weeks later, or maybe because the festival was the new burn this year, or maybe because the sheer number of crews (14+) putting this festival on, or most likely, because everyone had 7 days of adventure to endure before the closing ceremony a week later.
Overall, the production of the event across their 7+ stages (depending on how you count) was breathtaking. Each stage perfectly designed to meet its themes. The sound was on point. The DJs and bands played once in a lifetime sets. I was limited in what I could see, being strapped to the top of an RV; however, let me tell you, the Sun Stage kept me going on all night with its perfectly positioned speakers blasting psytrance across the camp grounds.
The Do Lab crew, though, once again blew minds with the intricate wood designs projection-mapped perfectly across the Earth Stage. With its heavy bass focus and the likes of Phaelah, Emancipator, and Kaminanda, the wobbles were on point – and accentuated by the stiff-pouring all night Kava bar. This stage also closed out the week with a beautiful (non-bassy) set by the ethno-techno/ketapop gods, Feathered Sun – arguably one of the best sets of the weekend.
The Eclipse Stage was a massive ordeal. Totems almost out numbering people. Nonetheless, Opiuo brought the whole crowd dancing together. Bassnectar cut out our knees with a great set that balanced between his bliss of yesteryears and his overhyped cheesiness of today. Then there was STS9, String Cheese (without Billy Nershi!), Coco Rosie and of course Shpongle, filling our souls after the total eclipse.
The Big Top, true to its name, kept rocking circus performances in between additional sets of STS9, Elephant Revival, EOTO, and Karl Denson. The Moon Stage, with its weird beats of Machinedrum and the soul shaking religious bass of the Deep Medi crew, really kept things interesting because it was only one Glitter Bar between it and the Sky Stage – the true jewel of my heart.
The Sky Stage was loaded with giant metallic fans as a back drop and the dustiest dance floor of them all. Bandanas or scarves were a must. With epic sets from the Dirtybird crew, the Desert Hearts boys, &ME, Lee Foss, Oliver Koletzki, and Dirty Doering the night was truly a dirty dancing stomp fest filled with mouthfuls of dust. However, it was the morning sets that really set this stage apart. Damian Lazarus stepped up his majestically tribal sunrise game following a banger by Max Cooper. He brought out all the classics as the sun rose before the total eclipse everyone was waiting for.
PAUSE – the total eclipse was enough to change lives. Holy Fuck. When the sky went dark tears were streaming down faces, chants of tribal leaders were echoing, and all those who were staring at the sun without eclipse glasses – finally had some reprieve.
UNPAUSE – After the eclipse, there were sounds of birds chirping and a large outdoor shower – Acid Pauli was on the decks at the Sky Stage – watering us all with his eclectic buckets of beautiful random noises. Only to be followed by Nico Stojan, who made us all wonder how the fuck we ended up in this shimmering adult playground of wide smiles, sparkly eyes, and beautiful twirling beings.
But that was not enough! The following morning the Sky Stage brought it back again with the dreamy likes of Mira, Feathered Sun, and one of my favorite lunch time sets, ever – Be Svendsen.
In between my love for the sky stage, we had to embark on causal mystical adventures checking out the visionary art of Alex Grey, the potions of the Witches Corner, the ecstatic dances and yoga of their respective shalas, the steam-punk built renegade further stage, and the wonders of giant lake parties with sunglass-eating waterslides and homemade barges dropping heavy disco dance beats on their funktion-one sound systems.
However, it was the heart-opening conversations with world traveling eclipse seekers, growers from northern California, jaded burners, and random festival-goers who were hoping this was going to be the next Woodstock that really made this magical serendipitous sh*t show one for the history books. Everybody was looking to get their heart moved and soul stirred. It was a goal that was met over and over.
As a 6 foot inflatable duck with limited mobility, my spirit was truly revived after this 7 day cosmic gathering. You can count me in for the next eclipse festival – provided they make large enough eclipse glasses for a 6 foot duck this time around.