Six hours down one long road from the Portland Airport, we discover ourselves in a remote, lush land where the cell phone service is lost and oneness with nature and each other is found at a perfect solar eclipse viewing area called Big Summit Prairie. All we know is that thirteen successful transformational-style festivals collaborated together to birth an incredible week of music, workshops, classes, offerings, food, art, interactive spaces, and elements that pushed the imagination to form Oregon Eclipse – a festival no one could have anticipated.
While already being welcomed in with the warm blanket of the Oregon air and feeling at home after just a day surrounded by our festival community, I was then embraced by the friendly faces of talented artists who recently arrived at the festival.
For five-piece “space rock” band hailing from Asheville with a festival touring resume that puts them in the expert category among the jam-band culture, Papadosio even felt that they drove into something truly special and equally wild. “I feel like Oregon Eclipse Festival was special in the sense that it was a happening,” Billy Brouse, on keys and vocals, shares. “There were just so many people there that it was automatically a crazy, wild place that people were drawn to, so it only made it bigger… which is insane.”
This wonderful, majestic, and inspiring insanity made a perfect foundation for the band to perform to a crowd longing for whimsical musicality to carry them into the sunset. Papadosio graced the main Eclipse Stage, first playing out the notes that make “Paradigm Shift”. The quick and slick guitar licks and peaks and valleys of the track were carried over the hill and drew in festivalgoers one by one until the field was filled with a vibey and appreciative crowd. Hours into their set, gratitude was shared from both sides, radiating off the stage and shining back from the crowd.
“It’s so refreshing to see you all without cell phones up!” Anthony Thogmartin, the band’s lead vocalist on guitar and keys, beams from the stage as the sound of keys and light symbols cascade in the backdrop.
“It might be one of the last times we see this. It’s impossibly important right now that we come together. Impossibly important.”
And we did come together… from all ends of the earth, through music and art and for the love of seeing it all play in front of our faces. We came together to experience this entire weekend and this moment at Papadosio’s set.
As a festival that forms a parallel importance for the music roster as it does the artistic elements, Oregon Eclipse did it right by giving the opportunity to Papadosio to essentially open up the Eclipse stage on Saturday. Papadosio, improvisational musicians at its core, has created a name for themselves out the commercial scene or traditional methods and found their niche among the like-minded jam / festival community. Within this world, similarly to Oregon Eclipse’s mantra, they find the importance to bridge the gap between the music and art world combining visual art into their sets, like their past Red Rocks Amphitheatre performance with the legendary psychedelic artists Alex and Allyson Grey. (Their art also appearing at the MOVA Immersive Art Environment at the festival.)
This love for incorporating art wasn’t lost at this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon and festival in Oregon. Not only did the artists play an uplifting two-hour set on the main stage, they also were inspired by the Furtherrr Art Installation, a large scale collaborative painting living along the water in an “outdoor studio”. Papadosio’s Manager, Jake Ottmann, gave us an inside look into one of the band’s greater purposes…
“To me the Furtherrr Art Installation represents what Papadosio is all about, bringing as many creators to one place as possible and encouraging them to create together. The world would be a better place if we all created together, and we try and encourage that as much as possible.”
In that vein, Anthony incorporated his side live electronic project titled EarthCry into the Oregon Eclipse offerings with two sets by the Furtherrr art area. Inspired by the fact that not all music can be made under a band, and as an artist experimenting with making more generative music with a modular synthesizer, Anthony has been fitting his live electronic sets along the Papadosio journey sharing his talents and love for music and art both as a band and individually. This multiple instrumental involvement just echoes the group’s passion for what they do and the beautiful scene it blossoms in and is appreciated in.
After days of performing and roaming the festival grounds discovering the hidden elements that await around each corner, it was time for the band to follow their hearts to go separate ways to experience the solar eclipse in the best way for themselves – either with loved ones back home or among their new loved community at the festival.
Monday morning came in a gentle wave from Sunday night. Energy was high. The grounds were buzzing. The moment we all been waiting for was finally among us. Festivalgoers and artists alike, made their way to the top of the festival grounds to the Solar Temple for the best vantage point to see the eclipse. At 10 AM, the air got colder, and our day became late evening as the solar eclipse phenomenon dazzled before our eyes.
“It was crazy,” Anthony describes, “mainly because everyone had a different reaction to the exact same thing. Some people cried, other people prayed, some people meditated, apparently, some people had sex, some smoked DMT, some found it necessary to scream at the top of their lungs, some howled like wolves, etc. It was such an incredible opportunity to get an awesome field recording, but alas, I left my recorder back at the camp.”
Recorder or not, nothing could have captured what we all felt and witnessed that morning. As the solar eclipse changed us from day into night back into a brand new day, we were all left to ask ourselves, ‘What new intentions should I be setting? What purpose do I have now with this fresh start?’. Billy reflected from the band’s perspective, “I think our goals haven’t changed much from the beginning. It’s always been to spread music, good vibes, and messages that we hold dear to everyone willing to experience it. We’ll keep on doing it as long as people are willing to listen and take what they want from it. Hopefully, it finds them well.”
Some good things shouldn’t change… even during a paradigm shift.