The Oregon Eclipse festival Is where you will want to be During Totality

by Eva Barragan

What kind of luck do we have to have in order for the stars to align, the planets to shift, the moon to seize itself along an orbit that will bring it directly into a total solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017? If you want proof of destiny or fate or some superior power lurking over us from the cosmos, this astronomical event is it.

Could the stars foretell the makings of Oregon Eclipse, a weeklong festival celebrating music, art, and the heavens above us, long before it ever even occurred in the minds of its creators? Who’s to say? We can at least tell you what is definite: art installations that awe, musical performances that inspire, acres of people coming together to experience a once in a lifetime affair. Expect the likes of Damian Lazarus and Acid Pauli to be there, and jam out under Oregon’s clear skies to the to tunes of Zilla, Troyboi, Thriftworks, and The Glitch Mob - just to name a few.

While you wait for the moon to eclipse the sun, take a look at our Q&A with two of the masterminds, Dana Nada (with Re:Birth) and Kevin KoChen (from Symbiosis Gathering), behind this otherworldly festival.

Can you tell us a little about Re:Birth/Symbiosis--how it began, what it has become, what its goals are, and why it makes a good partner for the Eclipse Gathering?

Dana: It all began back in 2012 at the Outback eclipse, before Re:birth was even born... Members of our crew were there doing installations, decoration and helping out with the build and apparently the Symbiosis crew liked what they were doing because they invited them to come to do installations at some following Symbiosis Festivals in the USA… Then naturally when Symbiosis was looking for a Japanese based partner for the Eclipse, our crew recommended us. We met up with the Symbiosis crew and we got along well, and so the relationship was born.

Re:birth was founded with the intention to enliven the Japanese music scene and create an environment that welcomes people of all backgrounds. How did you achieve that with Re:birth, and are you making similar efforts with Eclipse Gathering?

Dana: We have been trying to create musical lineups that span genres so there is something for everyone to enjoy and hopefully something new that everyone can experience and expand their musical horizons. By including a wide range of musical genres, we hope to get people form different scenes mingling together at the same event, making new friends and hopefully cross pollinate the scenes.

Re:Birth Festival

Re:Birth Festival

What does Re:birth mean to you? Have you ever personally felt reborn after experiencing a particular situation or event?

Dana: In 2011, after the earthquake and tsunami, there was a lot of sadness in Japan. We we all affected, we were all shocked and horrified and it was a very tough time for everybody. Naturally the party scenes suffered because people weren’t in the mood for celebration.

Our idea was that, since the scenes had dwindled, we needed to be part of the Rebirth of the party scene. So we created the festival as a way to help people forget about their problems, release their stress from daily life, feel reborn and hopefully ready to face life again with a renewed positive energy.

I’ve personally gone to events feeling drained and in a negative headspace and have been able to be reborn and leave full of energy and a positive outlook on life! Festivals and parties are life savers!

How do you go about pairing music and experiences with such an important astronomical event? What do you hope the festival and the music contribute to the experience?

Dana: I personally hope that this festival will kick start the psytrance scene in the USA and bring it up to speed with other countries around the world where there are flourishing psytrance scenes and festivals in the 10’s of thousands of people happen on a regular basis! Of course, there will be so much else to enjoy as well… It’s going to be a busy week!

Kevin: I hope the music sets the stage for the moment when thousands of minds are broken open by witnessing the fact that the universe is in fact 3D.

Kevin, you've expressed strong opinions on the way festivals often tout qualities like "transformational", yet are increasingly corporatized or co-opted by larger interests. How is Symbiosis Gathering, and the Eclipse Gathering different?

Kevin: Symbiosis is a cornucopia of infinite delights but is dwarfed by the amazingness of this year's event. The Eclipse will be a moment of collective consciousness that might be the peak experience of many people's lives. The moment when tens of thousands of people all focus their attention on the most spectacular phenomena to witness on earth with be transformational AF.

Small, boutique festival have become an increasingly dominant cultural force. To what do you attribute their resurgence?

Dana: I think more and more people want that personal, underground feeling, where they can meet like minded people and enjoy themselves. not the big commercial feeling of festivals that are run by huge corporations who are not interested in anything except making money.

 Kevin: I'm not sure how dominant they are. It's tough out there. Lots of large events are driving up the costs of artists and making it difficult for independent productions to compete. Independent events are nearly financially impossible. It takes willingness to lose money and end up picking up trash for 5 days to save money.

What do festivals do at their best? What do they do at their worst?

Dana: [At their best]Festivals allow people to be free and enjoy themselves without worrying about the stress of their daily lives. In the best case they give the festival goers an outlet to release their stress, renew their energy and go back to the real world with a surplus of positive energy!!

Kevin: At their worst, its an exercise in waste and consumption.

How was the location of Big Summit Prairie chosen? What makes it a good fit, besides its location within the totality path? 

Symbiosis Festival

Symbiosis Festival

Kevin: BSP was chosen because its amazing, accessible, and available. There's not too many massive private parcels of land, 16 miles away from neighbors that are in the prime viewing area of this year's solar eclipse.

What effect do you hope the eclipse has on the audience? What do you hope happens at the moment of totality?

Dana: I think there are a lot of people who will be attending the eclipse festival who have never seen a total solar eclipse before… I think they will be amazed at what the universe has to offer and I hope it impacts their lives in a positive way. I hope the sky is clear at the moment of totality and we have an unobstructed view of the eclipse in it’s full glory. There is nothing more stunning than seeing an eclipse in it’s totality.

Kevin: The eclipse will blast people with shock and awe. We will witness an eruption of joy that is unparalleled in any other instance. Victory will be everyone's. I guess I hope for clear skies.