Canceled Texas Eclipse Festival leaves travelers scrambling

Hours before totality, the Texas Eclipse Festival at Revielle Peak Ranch was canceled, leaving a surge of travelers scrambling. 

On Monday afternoon, traffic was backed up for miles on SH 29 going from the venue to Burnet.

FOX 7 Austin caught up with Frankie Bernard III, from California, in Burnet, who says he paid thousands of dollars to go to the festival. 

"We woke up this morning, they're like, 'you've got to go, the storms are coming, like go,' it's like, 'go where?'" he said. "You could tell everyone started to freak out, so we got ahead of it, but we could see it happening."

He was able to beat the crowds heading out, but says it was a poorly planned event with too many people and not enough resources. 

"They literally had bulldozers out there, and they're bulldozing trees down, so people could park, more people, more people, more people [kept coming], [there needed to be] better security, more water, more water, food," he said. 

FOX 7 drove to the ranch entrance and spoke to visitors from Washington, D.C. and Italy who were frustrated by the lack of communication and cell service. 

In terms of traffic conditions, it took FOX 7 Austin 50 minutes on RM 2341 to get from the venue back on to SH 29. Our crew went west to Llano to put this story together, otherwise it would've taken us more than two and a half hours to get back to our station in downtown Austin on Monday evening.

Festival organizers say safety is their top priority, and they made the decision to cancel in conjunction with public officials, due to the risk of severe weather during the eclipse, Tuesday and Wednesday.


They urged people to leave early to beat traffic, and that all programming was canceled. Guests could stay to watch the eclipse if they packed and left right after.

In a list of FAQs online, organizers said:

"We are all heartbroken. None of us wanted to be in this situation. We came here for the eclipse from around the country and the world. We know you have all gone to great lengths to be here. Now we’re getting severe storm forecasts and a clouded eclipse. It sucks. We ask that you please cooperate with us to move to safety."

"I think it was more of a money thing for them, they're like how much money can we generate before people freak out," Bernard said. 

He says once he got into Burnet, he was still able to see the eclipse, before heading back home to California.

"We figured this would be a good spot to try and see it, the cloud coverage was perfect, being able to experience it was beautiful," he said.

Festival organizers say there will be communication going out about refunds. 

For more information and updates, click here.