Texas Eclipse Festival. Drones forming a red circle in the sky while a crowd gathers around a massive stage, surrounded by hills and trees.

MP3 TAKES: Texas Eclipse Festival Exceeds Expectations, Despite Cancellation

Introducing MP3 TAKES, our event review series where we dive deep into the exhilarating world of music festivals and live performances. In an era teeming with music events worldwide, our aim is to help you navigate through the noise and uncover the most captivating experiences. Join us on this adventure to highlight the backstage stories, memorable moments, and unique elements that make each event one-of-a-kind.

If you’ve been keeping up with the digital drama running rampant on Reddit and social media platforms this week, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking the Texas Eclipse Festival was a disappointing cash grab full of false promises and logistical nightmares. 

But, personally, I had the polar opposite experience. Everyone I know who was actually there, including myself, had an incredible time from start to finish.

Sure, there were a few annoyances throughout the weekend: The map was nearly impossible to read, and the site was HUGE, which meant walking from your campsite to the venue took 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on your campsite.

And, of course, the festival’s final day (the day of the eclipse) was canceled due to extreme weather forecasts. That was a huge buzzkill, no way around it.

But what were the organizers supposed to do? Texas Governor Abbott declared a state of emergency due to the severe weather threat. Trying to evacuate 40,000+ people during a hail and lightning storm that could have turned the dusty campsites into mud pits would have been much more than uncomfortable — it would have been dangerous.

Still, attendees were allowed to stick around for the eclipse. And, for me, that was all that mattered.

Here’s why the Texas Eclipse Festival was one of the best festival experiences I’ve ever had.

The Eclipse

Photo of a total solar eclipse, with partial eclipse photos on either side of the total eclipse.
Shot by Tyler Church.

It’s hard to put into words what it felt like to see the total solar eclipse for the first time.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was the eclipse would bring a few minutes of darkness during totality, and the animals would probably get confused. But, when the eclipse reached totality, it was much more extraordinary than I could have imagined.

It was like a portal opened in the sky — a singular black hole, illuminated by a rim of solar activity reflecting off the moon’s surface. 

It’s a bummer that the eclipse ceremony was canceled, which meant the experience was a less communal one. But the Tower camp site (where I was camping) still found a small hill to gather together and rejoice. 

When totality was finally over, you could feel the gratitude and astonishment in the air. The eclipse is what made this festival so special — and, despite the weather, we got to see it in clear skies. Mission accomplished.

Sunday Night’s Drone Show

I’ve seen a handful of drone shows at massive concert events, including REZZ’s 2023 Red Rocks show and Dead & Company’s 2023 Fiddlers Green show. It’s always impressive, but I’ve never been blown away.

Then, I saw Of The Tree’s (who was featured on MP3 MAG’s Vol. II cover) drone show at Texas Eclipse.

READ: Of The Trees — Entering the Audio-Visual World of Memory Palace

This was much more elaborate than any drone show I’ve seen, because the drone show wasn’t just an accessory — it was the main attraction. 

For the first (roughly) 15 minutes of Of The Trees’ set, he wasn’t even on stage. Instead, he gave a spotlight to the space-themed drone show while a special (and I’m assuming pre-recorded) mix soundtracked the floating lights. 

The scope of this display was insane, too. 

The drones formed rotating planets, curious astronauts, spaceships, and multiple phases of the solar eclipse with immaculate colors and animations, which towered over the massive stage and dwarfed the 40,000 crowd. 

The entire experience was fueled by spectacle — and they NAILED it.

Art Installations

Shot by Molly Polus.

The Texas Eclipse Festival site was roughly 1,200 acres — and only 200 acres was dedicated to the campgrounds, according to the official website.

That left 1,000 acres for the actual venue, which is a MASSIVE amount of space for six stages. I wasn’t sure how they were going to fill the extra space, but I was pleasantly surprised by the extensive amount of art installations, renegade stages, and psychedelic sculptures scattered throughout the venue.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Meow Wolf’s ‘Gone Fishing’

person in blue monster suit standing in front of a colorful art exhibit, waving at the camera
Shot by Molly Polus.

Meow Wolf — the psychedelic, interactive art exhibit located in cities like Denver, Las Vegas, and Dallas — brought their signature strangeness to the Texas Eclipse Festival with the colorful ‘Gone Fishing’ exhibit, which hosted multiple live events throughout the weekend.

READ: Meow Wolf’s ‘Gone Fishing’ Casts a Spell at Texas Eclipse 2024

During the day, ‘Gone Fishing’ was a family-friendly spot with silly characters telling outrageous stories by the pond. It was also a great place to embrace some shade and escape the mid-day sun.

But by night, ‘Gone Fishing’ hosted more mature events — burlesque shows, after-hours raves, and outrageous parties. Even at 4:00 AM, there was a DJ wearing fuzzy cat ears and spinning crowd favorites like Skrillex’s “RATATA” while neon lights illuminated the entire space.

Whatever time you stopped by ‘Gone Fishing,’ the vibes were always high, and the colors were always bright.

Android Jones’ Multiversal Dome

LED display of a colorful, psychedelic robot projected onto the interior ceiling of a massive dome structure. A crowd is watching the visuals on the ceiling.
Shot by Molly Polus.

Android Jones is one of the most iconic VJs in music history for good reason — and he showed us exactly why at the Texas Eclipse Festival.

Alongside Chimera.art and Microdose VR, Android Jones hosted nightly events (which were 6+ hours) that featured his signature psychedelic visual display on the ceiling of a dome-shaped structure, accompanied by various DJs throughout the weekend. 

The Multiversal Dome was a completely immersive experience, defined by all-encompassing displays of geometric entities, shapeless voids, and explosive colors that took up every square inch of the interior dome. 

While most musical events and concerts are designed to spotlight the DJ, the Multiversal Dome was designed to show the VJs some love — that’s what made it so special. 

Don’t Believe the Hate

In the days leading up to the festival, I fell down the Reddit rabbit hole of anonymous complaints about chronic disorganization and terrible campground conditions. So, when I finally pulled up to the festival grounds, I was actually shocked to see everyone in high spirits. 

All weekend long, there was great energy everywhere.

Here are a few texts I received from friends and colleagues leading up to the festival:

  • “I heard it’s a shit show — good luck.”
  • “You better bring enough water and food, I hear they’re already running out.”
  • “Apparently the stages still are falling apart, maybe bring a helmet lol.”

And when I got back home, everyone still wanted to know how “awful” it was. But it wasn’t. It was incredible.

Don’t believe everything you see online.


Lastly, we need to acknowledge the life lost on Saturday night at the Texas Eclipse Festival. There are a lot of rumors going around about how this death occurred, and MP3 MAG does our best to not engage with sensitive situations aside from the facts. And here are the facts: A 67 year old man was walking on a mountain trail up to Alamo camping when he suddenly collapsed, according to his daughter. It took 40 minutes for medical staff to arrive. The man was helicoptered to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Autopsies have not been made public yet, so the cause of death is still officially unknown.

A recent Denver transplant, Logan is a passionate writer, occasional promoter, and lover of all things outdoors (most recently, his years spent surfing the East Coast have developed into snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains). More than anything, though, Logan is an avid music fan. When he's not dancing at the disco, he can almost always be found with a good book or a guitar in his hands.