Global Eclipse Gathering: Eclipse Chasers and Burners Collide
Photos by Sage Thomas
This past August 17th-23rd, Global Eclipse Gathering took over Big Summit Praire of Prineville, OR to bring together the most innovative festival collaboration to this day. Thirteen festival promoters from all over the globe contributed to the once-in-a lifetime event, including but not limited to Beloved (USA-OR), Lightning in a Bottle (CA), Re: Birth (Japan), Envision (Costa Rica), and Noisily (UK). Over the week-long adventure, 30,000+ attendees explored the whopping seven stages, carefully curated workshop settings, yoga domes, endless vendors, enticing art installations, and just about anything else they happened to stumble upon (did I mention water slides, tree houses, and psychedelic fun houses?!). And despite the overarching awe of it all, nothing could top the two minutes of absolute mysticism that had every soul tuned in that Monday morning. Summer 2017 sure has been one hell of an adventure and as we ease into a new season, I want you to take you on an adventure through my favorite festival to this day.
Here are 8 Reasons why Oregon Eclipse is my favorite festival of 2017:
8. THE REMOTE LOCATION AND FUN TIMES IN LINE
It was Thursday morning, the long-awaited day for general entry and our excitement was to the brim. After sleeping in Prineville in a local parking lot (the classic hardcore festie way), it was time to meet up with the rest of the crew to head in. Rumors of a TWELVE TO FORTY hour wait time flooded Reddit in the hours to come, but that had to be a joke, right?! We made our way to the two-lane road that would lead us just about 40 miles up the mountain to Big Summit Praire, the haven that awaits. Soon we were at a dead stop and as it goes, this first stop lasted a good hour and a half. So what now? Bring the party outside- that’s what! The thousands in line got out of their cars, said hello to their soon to be neighbors in camp eclipse, and brought the party outside.
Waiting in line can get some people a little heated, but they soon realize that it takes work to get over 30,000 humans to a remote location at just about the same time. So, all that’s left is to celebrate the process! Speakers were booming, poi and hula- hoops were spinning, and new friends were in the makin’. In what seemed like a short 8 hours, we made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. And at that moment, all that mattered was setting up and taking in the beauty of the venue: the lake, the wide expanse of land to explore, and the hard work of our fellow friends put into the collaboration of art that awaits.
It was a break from the noisy city, the job, and the day to day responsibilities. It was time to be free, take a breather from the online realm, and live in the moment- under the bright Oregon skies and nightly expanse of stars.
7. THE DEDICATION TO FESTING
I’m personally amazed by the great attention to beauty and detail that is taken at events. Of course, there’s the magnificence of what the event organizers and build team have put together, but there’s so much more aside from that! Attendees brought their bikes, decked out school buses, flow toys of all kinds, and even their pets. I’m also talking about your neighbors with the hilarious totem, the sharing of breakfast in the mornings, and the inspiring outfits that some spend days putting together in preparation. Totems bring a smile to so many faces day by day, and they are so practical! Nothing like a reminder to get your daily intake of “gluten free hugs” for the day during the Desert Hearts marathon.
Speaking of dedication- you would not believe the amount of people I met that were heading out to Burning Man after Global Eclipse. And even more so, after Shambala just the week before! The community is so grateful for events like these and they make our worlds go round, and I have mad respect for those who hop around from one to the next.
The festival lover in me recognizes the festival lover in you, Namaste.
6. THE INTERACTIONS
Let’s face it, festivals bring out a wonderful side to many of us that we never knew existed and the interactions at Oregon Eclipse were catered to and stemmed from this notion. This is where you can be as free as can be-only to bring this light hearted freedom to the outside world afterward. One day there is a naked mud party, the next day you have a deep, late-night chat with a man that reminds you of a modern day Jesus. And this is what happened, night one my crew and I met this man named Jackson, who has traveled the world endlessly (more countries than I can name honestly) and is preaching a grand message, the largest take home I can bring to you being “All there is is love”. With this unforgettable interaction and viewing of the Mayan Dreamspell, was the most epic beginning to the best week of my life thus far. There is so much to be learned, from everyone around you really. There was also the sharing of breakfast and stories with neighbors, stumbling upon spontaneous drum circles, and running into old friends that seemed almost impossible. And of course, the dancing with the beautiful strangers you meet from set to set.
And bonding over the pain of a B12 shot in the butt is quite the rarity in life, but it happened. And then there was the Yerba booth, keepin’ the party goin’ with DJs and free Yerba throughout the days while you meet your new best friend. There was that night that you were on your way back to camp to catch some Z’s but got distracted, yet again. Whether it was the campfire you decided to huddle late night…
Or the fun times you had with the Jive Joint …
Or the aliens you ran into after pulling an all-nighter…
You knew that these moments would be engrained in your brain forever. And oh, the list goes on…
5. THE ART INSTALLATIONS BLEW MY SOCKS OFF
The right environment can make “just hangin’ out” feel so, so cool. At Oregon Eclipse, I felt like I had stepped into a new dimension wherever I ended up. I’m just gonna let the photos do the talking here, as I was left speechless! Let’s take a journey through a few of my favorite art installations:
4. VENDORS, VENDORS EVERYWHERE!
Holy-shopping! As far as clothing and all of your festival desires go, the marketplace street had what seemed like over a hundred shops to check out. Festival styles from all over the world were seen, from psytrance to grunge to leather from head to toe. If you didn’t buy anything, you must have a lot of self-control because I was smitten daily! My favorites included Warrior Within and Noralina Freedom Designs, dressing you in goddess wear all weekend long. And aside from the clothing, the list goes on; shoes, jewelry, pipes, and various knick knacks were around in every direction. I’m a sucker for festival styles too- so this was heaven for me! I was also drawn to the orgonite vendors- the guys/gals that will keep you protected from EMFs at the event and beyond!
Towards the end of the event, I also stumbled upon the MANTIES traveling vendor, revolutionizing men’s festival wear (which for many is underwear) one day at a time. There really was something out there for everyone.
Then, there were, of course, the food vendors. Gotta say, there was a huge variety- pizza, vegan food, Indian, Chinese, crepes- you name it. I had a Poutine Fries addiction that weekend for sure, another favorite of mine also being the Soltribe Cuisine with yummy vegan eats. Craving some Sexy Eggs? The Rancho had them!
3. THE INTERNATIONAL ASPECT
With thirteen international gatherings contributing to the base festival of Symbiosis Gathering, the interest for this event was high and ticket purchases were coming from around the GLOBE. At any given time really, you could hear someone speaking a different language or with a beautiful accent. And the international factor didn’t stop with the attendees either, many of the vendor booths were from other countries as well- bringing styles of clothing into the light that many of us North American dwellers haven’t experienced. Global Eclipse Gathering served as a huge learning experience to learn about other cultures and as a chance to tell tales of our own, making friends from all over the world. Festival friends are the best friends.
Naturally, watching people travel ignites an urge to travel in me. It was inspiring to see that even though from different corners of the world, the love of festivals and celebration of life was just the same. Here you meet the eclipse chasers, the seasoned festies, and the families trying to make every moment count. And though they may speak differently and look different, the love is universal. These are the moments you learn that really, anything is possible- and festivals make it even more enticing to get out there and explore. PATAGOA 2020, see you soon.
2. THE MUSIC WAS ON POINT
Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to begin. With a colossal schedule, the musical itinerary was really just the beginning of where you could be and what you could see. So many of my favorites were playing throughout the week, that I just decided to leave it to chance mostly and go where the wind takes me. Here are a couple of highlights of my own personal adventure:
Bleep Bloop threw down the dirtiest, bass-heavy set of the weekend and for this reason, was definitely my favorite. I find a good dose of dirty bass music to be very healing to the soul- and boy did I get healed that night. The Eclipse Stage was the perfect setting for the occasion and lighting team was really killin’ it.
Beats Antique performed an exclusive live set, incorporating old favorites as well as new heavy-hitters that made the loving crowd go wild. My favorite moment was definitely when Zoey brought on their classic game show rift, a choice of an Eclipse ticket versus TOTAL DAMNATION. Beats made sounds that I have never heard before from them, heavier than ever. The group will always be a favorite of mine with their incredible dancers and performance art matched ever so perfectly with the tunes.
Drumspyder easily took the win for my favorite daytime set of the event, as the vibes in the crowd were unmatched to any other that weekend. So many happy faces- many familiar from my hometown of Arizona- making the set feel like it was a local show in Phoenix. The magic of it all was in the familiar feeling in such a far away place, and the Silk Road was the perfect location to experience it. Not to mention, the performances during the set were enchanting, featuring AZ locals PHX FLUX and Auric Medicine.
Last but far from least, Shpongle took over the Eclipse Stage right after the main event, and what a perfect time that was. It was just about noon on Monday, everyone was awake and decompressing from the magic that had ensued in the bright skies. I had been listening to Shpongle for some time before that and was grateful to finally catch him at a festival, a rarity for the year for sure.
1. THE MAIN EVENT- LIGHT AND DARKNESS COLLIDE
To put it lightly, the power felt Monday morning was indescribably beautiful. I had stayed up all night, as the morning leading up to the main event felt like it needed to be experienced until the very last moment. My crew and I watched the sunrise that morning in reflection of the enormity of the weekend leading up to the moment. I was so grateful to be there.
The floaties were as lively and colorful as ever that morning as hot air balloons painted the bright skies.
After taking it all in, we made our way over to the Eclipse Viewing Area with the masses. You think- it can’t get any better than this, can it?! We put on our goofy glasses and watched as the Moon, ever so slowly crept over the Sun. And then, it happened- the union between dark and light, witnessed by tens of thousands in unity on Big Summit Praire.
The tears were flowing, and all I could feel was love and the awe of those around me. It was the first Solar Eclipse visible in North America since 1979- a universal phenomenon that will give me goosebumps when thinking about forever. So strange, so beautiful, and all I had now was the memories of the brief darkness that took over the sky around 10 am that morning.
New life goal: chasing solar eclipses all over our beautiful planet Earth.
Over thirty-thousand came together to celebrate the alignment of the Earth, Moon, and Sun- and what a grand celebration it was! If we put our minds together, anything truly is possible.