Last August, BandWagon Magazine made the voyage to the ARISE music festival, located in Loveland, Colorado. It’s first year as a festival it had a few growing pains, but ultimately it provided the perfect opportunity for Northern Colorado to see what the festi scene is all about. We arrived at Sunrise Ranch to the kind of beauty that only the arid climate of the area could offer. cliffs colored in orange gradient loomed over what would soon be a circus of artist, yogis, environmentalists and music lovers dancing their way into the Colorado moonlight. Here are some things we can’t wait to experience again this year.
1. Intimate Setting
Believe it or not, those three night runs at Red Rocks are sure to be topped for even the most avid show goer as ARISE is snuggled nicely in the valley at Sunrise Ranch. The perfect weather, the laid back crowds, the one-on-one time with your favorite musicians; it really doesn’t get much better. Sunrise Ranch itself is a Spiritual Intentional Community, so the staff exudes the chilliest vibes possible. There is no hurry at ARISE, everything you have planned that day will work itself out, just go with the flow.
2. All the Weird Art
Wandering around ARISE is an experience in and of itself. From the strategically placed art pavilions to the live artist creating magic right in front of your eyes ARISE is a visual experience as much as it is a sonic one. Trippy, mesmerizing, colorful, mind opening; everything you take in is purposely set up to add to your festival experience. The best part though… getting to view art, or the creation of art all while jamming to the sounds of the nearest stage.
3. The Variety of Stages
ARISE is very aware of its diverse audience and has mirrored this crazy crowd with equally as dynamic stage genres. In the day time, bluegrass, jam bands and indie rock groups fill the venue at the main stage. last year, Nahko and Medicine for the people raged during sunset bringing the sweaty afternoon to a high energy party that was a non stop build with various acts till sunrise. A walk through the EDM stage at night is more like a circus adventure and this year it will feature local and international class acts like the Polish Ambassador, Unlimited Aspect, and Krooked Driver to get started.
4. The Message
The most important thing about ARISE is it’s message and the multifaceted way ARISE demonstrates it. ARISE is truly unique in the fact that the community is unified through its effort to honor mother Earth, and the people inhabiting it. The overall love for all things living is tangible throughout every aspect of the festival. The opening ceremony last year gave our writers chills as “AHO” was bellowed out of a 100 plus people mouths as a Native American religious elder performed a ritual prayer blessing our time at ARISE. “Aho” is typically a greeting, or a term of agreement used in the Lakota tribe. The term is used similarly to the phrase “Namaste.” “Aho Mitakuye Oyasin” broadly means we are all related, we honor each other and the resources that give us life. This resounding reverence for people and earth are mimicked by activists, environmentally friendly artists, and culturally conscious performers who all share a similar passion for peace on earth and with the earth.
5. The People
If you want to see Colorado’s true colors ARISE is where you find it. A festival full of yogi’s, belly dancers, dead heads, EDMers, artists, activists, and Colorado freaks… the view is always beautiful, colorful and sure to keep you entertained. Last year we camped by an infamous yogi with an alternate ego named “Plastic Girl 101”, on a mission to save the universe, and out to have one hell of a good time. Let’s just say you are sure to make several good friends with a healthy dose of weird on this adventure.
Sunrise ranch is beautiful from every angle and you really can’t go wrong with General admission camping right in the mix of the fest. Plus, what is a festival without picking dry sweat and glitter out of your dust encrusted clothes and ratty hair on the ride home on day 3? If you’re more accustomed to AC during the hot August days, ARISE offers Show Sherpa, otherwise known as the “tent hotel” allows those of you flying to leave you camping gear at home. New this year just , pack your hippest outfit, and best dancing shoes and arrive while all other accommodations are taken care of, including daily coffee to help last nights party wear off in the morning. Car camping is also an option, as is West Side camping which sits among the few trees you will find. Trust me.. you will want all the shade you can get!
7. The Yoga
ARISE is unique in the fact that free yoga from world class instructors is offered throughout the whole festival. The yoga component is as important to the festival as the music, and it shows. The yoga tent is a beautiful large area draped with prayer flags and adorned with its best accessory, fans! Along with a yoga tent, healing tents are offered up in which alternate healers from around Colorado are there to show you the light.
8. The Music
This year’s lineup is killer. There is literally something for everyone. Beats Antique is the main crowd summoner, and having seen them before, I can tell you with confidence that Zoe is a goddess on stage mesmerizing crowds with extreme belly dancing and enthusiastic drumming. Quixotic, a dance performance group out of Kansas City, MO is right up there on the list of shows to see. Their claim to fame is extreme gymnastics and acrobatic moves often done while wearing flaming costumes all to the sounds original music. The experience is indescribable. Galactic, Groundation, Polish Ambassador, Grateful Grass featuring Keller Williams and Bill Nershi, Good Gravy, Bonfire Dub, and Gipsy Moon are just a few shows that we’re looking forward to.
Photos by: Kendra Hamman & Rachel Waltman