Like an extra holiday weekend seemingly out of nowhere, the next few days (and into next Monday, Aug. 21) for many music fans will take on solar significance, thanks to a rare total eclipse of the sun that will traverse the entire length of the United States. For many promoters along the path of the astronomical event, which many are calling the Great American Eclipse, it’s nothing short of a celestial revelation.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Miami-based promoter Christian Parth of Denial Events, who has chartered a yacht in Charleston for a one-off party featuring big name trance DJs called Eclipse of Denial. “The nature, the experience, the music — we are after a more sophisticated crowd … not just club goers, but those who want to have special experiences,” the promoter, who has done events in Ibiza and Las Vegas previously, said. From Oregon to South Carolina, new music festivals, cruises, and one-off events have sprung up to take advantage of the rare happening (the last similar eclipse to cross America was in 1918). Below is a short round-up of a few of the best musical offerings for anyone inclined to see the sun disappear during the day with a stellar soundtrack.
Oregon Eclipse Gathering (Bend, Ore. area)
One of the first festivals to greet the eclipse in the United States is Oregon’s massive weeklong Eclipse Gathering. The musical lineup at the event, located lakeside near Bend, Ore., boasts some 300 or so artists split between seven stages, including names such as Bassnectar, Sound Tribe Sector 9, String Cheese Incident, The Gaslamp Killer, and many more. Think Burning Man a week early, moonchildren.
Moonfest Music Festival (Idaho Falls, Idaho area)
The path of totality is 67 miles wide and takes the eclipse through the heart of Trump country, and accordingly, Idaho has a country music event tailor made just for Red America. Big country music names such as Midland and A Thousand Horses will be playing this weekend at Moonfest, which takes place near Idaho Falls and runs from Friday until next Monday, the day of the eclipse.
Moonstock (St. Louis, Mo./Paducah, Ky. area)
Southern Illinois lies along the path of totality and big names such as Ozzy Osbourne will likely draw thousands of St. Louis-area hard rock and metal fans to this four-day festival, which also has locked in names such as Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch, and Theory of a Dead Man to entertain campers. The highlight of the event surely will come on Monday, when Ozzy is set to perform his classic “Bark at the Moon” as the eclipse gets underway.
Darkening of the Sun Festival (St. Louis, Mo. area)
Members of the Northern Cherokee Nation will be onsite and “active” at this music festival, according to organizers, who are selling the event as an authentic spiritual gathering. Some of the tribal citizens will be in their full regalia walking throughout the festival grounds. The musical lineup leans “jamband” (see Twiddle, Aaron Kamm and the One Drops, Jake’s Leg, etc.) and seems to draw heavily on St. Louis-based talents, but also features acts from Colorado, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
Howl at the Moon Festival (Nashville, Tenn. area)
While this festival may lack the big names of other events, it does take place near Nashville, so you can bet at least some of the bands might be good. Howl at the Moon describes their weekend event as an “exciting global countdown to the eclipse, with food, drink, camping in a natural, outdoor, Woodstock-type, three-day, once-in-a-lifetime event,” featuring “indie” bands such as Sleep Nation, Stealing Oceans, and Sunny St. James. Also, Jack White’s Third Man Records will host an eclipse-related happening on Monday called “Occulting the Sunn,” an event celebrating the total solar eclipse featuring New Orleans musician and inventor Quintron’s Weather Warlock, a large analog synthesizer controlled completely by the weather. More information can be found here.
Eclipse of Denial (departs from Charleston, S.C.)
Miami’s Christian Parth and Yasmin Coltellacci, the founders of nightlife brand Denial Events, have cooked up perhaps the best way to see the Eclipse as it leaves America on Monday: an exclusive yacht party. Electronic music names such as Markus Schulz, Emma Hewitt, Grube & Hovsepian, and Dave Sol will entertain guests out at sea (the yacht leaves from Charleston, S.C.), and the promoters promise “production and sound fit for a festival main stage” on the vessel as the day turns into night for over two minutes on Monday.
Total Eclipse Cruise (departs from Orlando, Fla.)
Multi-platinum selling artists DNCE will also be out at sea on Monday, playing a special show for Royal Caribbean’s “Total Eclipse Cruise.” While the seven-day long cruise on the cruise lines’ “Oasis of the Seas” ship is not explicitly music related, on Monday, Joe Jonas and co. surely will have this big boat rockin’ and a few guests potentially “Kissing Strangers” as the moon crosses the sun way out over the Atlantic. “Eclipse Cake by the Ocean,” anyone? Bonnie Tyler will also perform her classic, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart,” on the cruise August 21st.
Savannah Voice Festival (Savannah, Ga. area)
Even though Savannah is not 100% in the path of totality, it’s 97% there, so close enough for many travelers. And for fans of music not of the “loud” persuasion, opera lovers will rejoice this weekend at Savannah’s annual Voice Festival. Saturday night, “The Barber of Seville” is on tap, sung in Italian with English translations. Sunday, they perform “Opera Scenes and Songs,” a selection of favorite scenes, and Monday, the studio performers present “Opera Idol,” during which they will compete for prizes. Maria Zouves, Savannah Voice Festival’s executive director, will also have 20 opera singers on the rooftop of the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa on Monday afternoon (with eclipse glasses on) singing “O Sole Mio” (“My Sun”) as the sun slinks away for a few glorious minutes of daytime darkness.