Every 18 months, the Earth experiences a total solar eclipse, which is when the sky goes completely dark because the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. The phenomenon is known to have such an awe-inspiring effect that there are people – known as eclipse chasers – who travel all over the world to see them.
You won’t have to travel far to see one on April 8, 2024, because some of the best seats in the country will be in Texas. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one here, because a total solar eclipse can only be seen from the same place, on average, once every 375 years.
To learn more about the significance of this event and the inspiration behind the festival, we spoke with its co-founder, Mitch Morales, who is also the founder of Probably Nothing, a company that builds experiential activations at events. Listen to the story above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: First of all, tell us what inspired you to create this festival, and when did you start putting it together?
Mitch Morales: I think I first learned about the eclipse passing through Texas in 2017. There was an event in Oregon that really inspired me. I had been producing events and even some festivals outside of Austin for most of that decade and was kind of looking for another opportunity to create an interesting experience and kind of just got lucky. My question was, would I be able to see one in Texas in my lifetime? And it happened to be the next one that passed through the U.S.
Tell us about what you envision for this event.
With the global audience, we really wanted to create an opportunity for people to come in, settle on site, find their place, explore the venue and really be relaxed and ready for that event. It’s actually happening on a Monday around 1:30 in the afternoon, so we’re welcoming people in to begin camping on that Friday before.
There will be programming, music, art and a lot of different activations and installations throughout the weekend. And then, yeah, excited to celebrate a total solar eclipse. It’s really a long one: over four minutes and 20 seconds is on average on the higher end of totality time.
I was trying to imagine sort of trying to build a Woodstock vibe prior to the actual eclipse event and then partying on for a little longer. Is that what you imagine?
If we could capture a cultural phenomenon like Woodstock, I think we’d be very happy. We’re trying to bring in a lot of different elements: a transformative festival culture and a lot of interesting, kind of more modern elements with a heavy focus on space and technology.
» GET MORE NEWS FROM AROUND THE STATE: Sign up for our weekly ‘Talk of Texas’ newsletter
Water sports is one of the activities at Reveille Peak Ranch. Given the heat this summer, I know lots of folks might be concerned about camping outside next spring. Will people have access to swim in the quarry on the ranch, or how are they going to deal with cooling off?
Yeah, we got lucky with the April timeline, one of the best times to have an outdoor event in Texas. Very likely that we’ll see clear skies, low chance of rain, which is obviously paramount for the eclipse viewing.
It’s a 1,300-plus acre ranch, multiple water features on it, very dynamic topography. You’ll be able to experience I think a 200-to-300 foot elevation change depending on where you are. And so yeah, water, very dynamic hiking trails and a lot of other outdoor activities that you can experience there.