The Es'eteksi Festival (stylized as "E'tek") is a massive festival and celebratory gathering that occurs in early summer, during the first two weeks of June in the lowlands of the Tar'zeth Desert approximately 130 miles from the mountain city of Altum. The festival includes musical concerts by famous artists, art exhibits, roller coasters and other theme rides, automotive races, sports, and various other leisure activities. Es'eteksi is the Osen word for "ecstasy". The festival began in the months following the end of the Second Aurelian Civil War (SCW) in 1948 to celebrate the homecoming of Au'ren troops after their long war with the former IRSB. The festival is notorious for its isolated location and status as a lift zone. The festival is one of two areas located within the Union that are known as federal "lift zones" where some federal laws are "lifted" and do not apply. Despite being a lift zone, the festival has it's own professional civil services (police, fire, emergency medical, public works). The festival was started by Chief Justicar Jo during the Rebirth Era as a way for Aurelian citizens, specifically soldiers who fought in the SCW, to vacation, de-stress, and relax. Politically, it was also a way for the federal government to please the increasingly libertarian and anti-government sentiment following the war by allowing citizens to participate in generally illegal activities such as recreational drug usage and street racing. In 1963, CJ Jo ended the closed border policies of the Union and allowed people from abroad to attend the festival. During the months before June, the Union saw an increase in foreign travel to Altum so that people could attend the festival.
The festival can be accessed by road, rail, or air, and admission can be purchased online or in person at the festival gates. The festival hosts an average of 400,000 people per year over the course of a year. Attendees of the festival must be at least 20 years old with 84% being between the ages of 20-40. Attendees must sign a special waiver and disclaimer document that warns of the increased risk of personal injury and possibly death.
The festival is often regarded as dangerous due to its lift zone status. The road leading from the gates to the festival area is a "speed discretion" road in which drivers are free to travel at any speed they wish under 80 miles per hour. Motor vehicle accidents remain high, but an advanced emergency medical department ensures a higher than normal rate of survival despite the increased speeds. The festival hosts multiple dispensaries of recreational drugs which sell cannabis, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and other "low-risk, low-harm" drugs. A full professional police force, usually military police, ensures the safety and protection of the attendees because of the increased risk of crime. Fines for breaking laws in a lift zone carry a "double penalty" for a misdemeanor, in which the sentence and/or fine is automatically doubled, and a "triple penalty" for felonies.
In 1963, Chief Justicar Jo attended the festival during the first year that the closed border policy was lifted in order to welcome guests from abroad. While the CJ was on stage, Ventelin Varossi, a former IRSB soldier who traveled to the festival from the Irezi Region of Borealia, rushed the stage in an attempt to stab Jo with a sharpened pole. The Chief Justicar fired three shots at Varossi, missing the first shot, but hitting him twice in the chest, but failed to incapacitate him. The Aurelian Secret Guard provided supporting fire and shot and killed Varossi on the stage. Despite the recommendations of the ASG to cancel the festival and evacuate the CJ, the Chief Justicar insisted on continuing with the festival and finish his speech later that day.
- The festival is the largest festival in the world and maintains a world record since its conception.
- Since its conception, three Chief Justicars have made an appearance at E'tek: CJ Jo in 1948 and 1963, CJ Jenna in 1973, and CJ Ar'oden in 1999.
- The festival is loosely based off of "Horizon" in the racing video game Forza Horizon 2.