The story behind Eclipse 2012

Are you one of the “pioneering spirits” making the pilgrimage to the north of Cairns for the one-of-a-kind Eclipse2012 festival? Stretching across a marathon seven days from 10 to 16 November, a Total Eclipse of the Sun will occur over Northern Australia early in the morning of 14 November 2012, right in the midst of the festivities. The festival is led by the creators of Rainbow Serpent Festival, Symbiosis Gathering in the USA, hallowed U.K. weekender Glade Festival and Mother in Japan: an experienced committee if ever there was one. The line-up they’ve assembled is certainly a sight to behold.

With less than a month until the dancing begins, we rallied the minds behind Glade, Symbiosis and our own Rainbow Serpent to hear about the fast-approaching adventure.

Glade Festival

For readers down here in Australia, can you explain the story and ethos behind the Glade Festival?

Myself [Nick Ladd], Ans Guise and Regan Tacon from Nano Records had been putting on psychedelic trance parties in Cape Town, South Africa, when I got a call to come and be involved in a new stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2000. The idea was to set up a free party vibe in a glade of trees on the land there. It would be a showcase for a lot of the new styles of electronic music that were coming through that weren’t being represented in the more commercial main dance tent at Glastonbury.

Three years later Glade became a festival in its own right and it hasn’t really moved far away from those early founding ideas. It’s a free party vibe with cutting-edge electronic dance music – just with 13,000 people and 11 stages! Glade is a counterweight to the commercialisation of dance music and a space for people to express themselves freely, have a ‘twanging-ly’ good psychedelic party and get down with the unity vibe that underpins any authentic dance music experience.

After a couple of challenging years, Glade came back strong in 2012. What are some of your stand out memories from this year’s event?

Yeah, the festival scene in the UK has been a bit rocky in general for the past couple of years. Recession is biting hard here. But this summer’s show was incredible: one of the best. We have found the best venue for a large dance music event I have seen in the UK – an incredibly beautiful bit of English countryside with no neighbours. The Glade has evolved into a multi-faceted festival of art and music. You could even find a hot tub and a sauna in the woods! I think for me one of the best elements is the fact that we have also been able to develop dancefloors in the woodlands. There is something very special about dancing to beats surrounded by trees.

There is always an incredible spread of acts and styles on Glade line ups; what do you look for in an act that makes them right for Glade?

We work with regional promoters from all ‘round the UK to make sure we stay in touch with what’s bubbling up off the street here in the UK, Berlin and the States. We are looking for artists that are exploring new frontiers in electronica, from the most chilled beats to mind-bending, gurn-inducing gabba. We have a massive variety of people come to Glade, their love of the rave experience bringing ‘em all together.

What attracted you to collaborating on the eclipse festival here in Far North Queensland?

‘Far North Queensland’ sounds like a proper adventure, doesn’t it? Well, firstly I have been hearing from mates who are DJs for years what a killer party Rainbow Serpent is and how much fun the Aussie crowd are. Then there is Symbiosis from California, which I have been to twice and it’s without doubt the best dance music festival in the USA. It has a strong essence of Burning Man festival running through its DNA and has a magic crowd. We have also heard great things about Mother in Japan, so when we were asked if Glade wanted to complete the trans-continental cosmological beat flip, we were bang up for it.

I had been involved at the core of producing the Zambia 2001 eclipse gathering and South Africa 2002, both of which were mind-blowing life-changers. There is something totally unique about the feeling of eclipse parties. They are always in remote locations that are a mission to get to. You only get really interesting, pioneering spirits coming along for a five-day party, so the vibe is super juicy already. Then throw in the most spectacular, mind-bending celestial event that it is possible to see from planet earth and you have got a serious party. The dancefloor goes absolutely mental after the eclipse. There is nothing else like it. If you are into rave culture and the dance music experience, this, quite simply, is its zenith. It’s the party of a lifetime.

So what are you looking for most from this first edition of Eclipse?

Well, I have been meeting and partying with Australians from all over the planet for past 20 years, so really looking forward to kicking up some dust together on Aussie ground. Beyond that, just being with all the freaky people from all over the planet to witness an unparalleled cosmic spectacle, rock it together on the dancefloor and feel the vibration raise to ecstatic heights.

Rainbow Serpent Festival

For anyone who doesn’t know, can you give us a quick history of the Rainbow Serpent Festival, and the kind of experience you want to create each year?

Rainbow 2013 will be our 16th festival. It started off predominantly as an electronic music festival but these days you can experience a crazy weekend full of a variety of electronic and live music, amazing art, stunning performances, soulful workshops and even speakers discussing a massive range of topics.

We try to create opportunities for people to connect and experience a type of community that is rare in this fast-paced modern world. Whether it is connecting through the beat on the dancefloor or while viewing some of the amazing art exhibited by talented members of our international community, we hope everyone leaves Rainbow each year invigorated and motivated to make the world just a little bit better.

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