saw an eclipse when I was a kid," says Chris Funk, curator of Funk's Solar Obscuration Festival and multi-instrumentalist for The Decemberists. "I was probably seven or eight years old and I remember wearing the little glasses you'd wear in a tanning bed and people yelling at us not to look at the sun. It felt really ominous and scary. I'm looking forward to having a do-over."
As a part of Portland indie rock band The Decemberists, Funk has a lot on his plate this summer. Aside from regular touring, the band hosted their own two-day musical festival in Montana last weekend.
"I'm friends with some of the folks from the (Suttle) Lodge and we were just talking and I had mentioned that I'd like to come to the lodge to watch the eclipse," Funk says. "One thing led to another and they mentioned that we should do some music and that I should book the music. I said I was at capacity, but said yes anyway. I basically just found a lot of my Portland friends and bands I admire. It's a good selection of music across genres; it should be interesting."
Funk's Solar Obscuration Celebration includes a lineup of Portland-based bands spanning a variety of genres, and the most killer part — there's no cover, it's all free. Festival-goers can look forward to seeing bands including Ural Thomas and The Pain, Sallie Ford, Y La Bamba, The Builders and The Butchers, as well as some of Funk's favorites including 1939 Ensemble, an instrumental group from Portland.
"All of this music, you can engage with or disengage with and enjoy the environment with," Funk says.
Speaking of the environment, visitors to Funk's Solar Obscuration Celebration can enjoy the beautiful, peaceful setting of Suttle Lake. eat meals at the restaurant at The Boathouse and float in the lake as you listen to the roots rock sounds of live music.
"I think it'll be unique because it's not this really overdone festival. It's pretty low key and low budget with really quality music," Funk says.A
ccording to Funk, Connie Wohn, the festival producer at Suttle Lodge, wanted something similar to Newport Music Festival or Pickathon. He wanted to select music he enjoys that would also help create a good time. Funk picked music that's somewhat family-friendly and also a good expression of Oregon music.
"We're going to try to host a round of Cobra, which is an improv game," Funk says. "I think in that moment we're going to try to tap into the solar system a little bit. Also, my friend Avery Trufleman, who's a senior producer for the podcast "99% Invisible," wrote an original piece about the eclipse, and she's going to come perform it and I'm going to perform it with her."
Cobra is a game invented by John Zorn, a famous jazz musician, in the '80s. Musicians gather together and in this instance, Funk will hold up a series of flashcards and then conduct everyone. They might take inspiration from the audience, but they don't even pick a key signature—they just start playing.
"For me, music is kind of everything and it would seem bizarre to go out and enjoy the eclipse without music in some form," says Funk. "It's a part of everything we do. I also think it's a great way to congregate with people and celebrate something unique."
Funk's Solar Obscuration Celebration
Sat. Aug 19 and Sun. Aug 20
The Suttle Lodge & Boathouse
13300 Hwy 20, Sisters.
CORRECTION: We misspelled Connie Wohn's name in the print edition. Also, she is the festival producer, not the event manager for Suttle Lodge. We regret the error.