Driving onto the site of the Oregon Eclipse Festival in eastern Oregon’s Big Summit Prairie feels like driving onto the set for “Mad Max 5: Total Eclipse of the Art.” Tattooed, tanned workers zip around on dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles, clouds of dust chasing them across the high desert as they head from one construction zone to another.
While eclipse festivals big and small pop up across the state, this one stands out for its glitter-dusted audacity: It is perhaps the country’s biggest, most remote eclipse festival.
The hundreds of workers on-site a month in advance only hint at the 30,000 people to come from around the world for a week in the middle of the Ochocos National Forest from Aug. 17–23. Thirteen festival promoters from around the world have come together to organize the festival, complete with dozens of speakers, artists, workshops, and seven stages hosting 400 musical acts, mostly of varying shades of electronica.
“There’s more music than one person could even possibly fathom,” says Kevin KoChen, the marketing director and a partner in Symbiosis, the lead organization behind the festival. “It’s like the lure to get people to come and experience this reality we’re creating. And the focus is on creating an artistic reality in which people can participate and enjoy.”
KoChen gets into what looks like a souped-up, all-terrain golf cart to head out on a tour with creative director Bosque…