ECLIPSE FESTIVAL 2016: Circle of Light- Sainte-Thérèse-de-la-Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

 Ever been to a psytrance festival? Well one of the best ones in Canada just happened in the woods of Quebec, on a camp ground by the name of Bonnet Rouge in Sainte-Thérèse-de-la-Gatineau.

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Psytrance lies at the underground end of the diverse trance spectrum and offers up a bonafide variety of moods, tempo, and styles. Some examples include Full On, Darkpsy, Hi-Tech, ProgressiveSuomi, Psy-chill, Psycore, Psybient, and Psybreaks (or “adapted” tracks from other music genres). Psychedelic trance has a distinctive, energetic sound (generally between 135 and 150 BPM) that tends to be faster than other forms of trance or techno music and using a very distinctive resonated bass beat that pounds constantly throughout the song, then overlaid with varying rhythms drawn from funktechnodanceacid houseeurodance and trance by using drums and other instruments. But that’s nothing until you actually hear it! It’s highly energetic and can sweep you up into a meditative dancing trance for hours on end.

Of course there was more than Psytrance on offer at the festival. 3 stages in total brought us the sounds for the weekend: one for house/techno (Lunar), one for downtempo (Stellar, by the river) and the main stage for Psytrance (Solar). However the psytrance was king, and that music from the Solar kept going all weekend, 96 hours straight. That is one of the most memorable features of the entire experience. We undoubtedly heard all the genres by the end of the festival.

 

But it wasn’t a weekend just for the music. The festival offered a festive, vibrant and unique experience by including spontaneous fire dance performances, costumed characters wandering the grounds, technological and visionary arts, alternative philosophies, yoga, safe spaces, spirituality, and an abundant area of nature to graze in. It’s the mix of all of that really created such well-rounded enjoyment.

Most people brought their own food stuffs but there were a variety of food vendors that kept you covered if you did not, our favorite being Amour Toniques. Here you could get warm soups, multiple cold and hot elixirs and the best organic hot chocolate ever! Julian really took care of us and his elixirs kept a lot of people healthy and vibrant throughout the weekend. We really love when festivals choose vendors that provide healthy and organic products, it makes all the difference to the energy levels over the weekend.

Eclipse has come a long way since it’s indoor parties in Montreal started in 1999. After several successful city based installments, the first outdoor edition happened in near Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. People were invited to bring their tents and to camp, and since then, the festival officially became an outdoor festival. The 2004 edition was held in Ste-Agathe, Quebec; and a year later, they moved the location to their current spot in Ste-Therese-de-la-Gatineau, a spot further away from the major cities, but with the added value of tremendous natural beauty, a river-side beach and a lot of space to sprawl out in and enjoy. Despite having been to numerous psytrance events and numerous other festivals, nothing could have prepared us for the gorgeous, intense, and rejuvenating four days we spent at Eclipse.

 

And to be honest, if psytrance was simply not winning you over, you could spend your whole time at the beach, just below the Stellar stage, and swim to the down tempo beats or tan in the chilled-out environment. The Stellar Stage was the not-so-well-hidden gem of the festival. The perfect counterbalance of relaxation to the driving beats of the other two stages. Don Mescal provided us with excellent world beat tracks and a live clarinetist. Tron Sepia delivered an exciting downtempo dubstep set. And Risa, who played on Sunday afternoon, delivered an otherworldly performance full of twisting and exotic melodies interspersed with the occasional multi-cultural release that kept the dancefloor jiving for hours.

Speaking of Sundays, I couldn’t help but notice that the merchant square was getting a lot of attention, especially on Sunday. All your shopping needs were covered there by over 40 merchant vendors offering handmade goods from all over Canada. You could buy stylishly useful leather utility belts, dresses of organic cotton, sun hats, knitted yoga socks by Symbiose, crystals, ethically made boots by Soul Woven, and accessories made out of repurposed innertube by Chic Made Consciously.

There was also a rest and healing area offering holistic care and a space for workshops and conferences. Pretty much something for everyone! So come enjoy Eclipse when it returns in 2018: experience new connection, meet new people and share conscious experiences that you will not soon forget. And who knows, we may even spot you grooving out to your favorite genre of psytrance!