Monday, June 30, 2014

Sonic Bloom Festival @ American Safari Ranch in South Park, Colorado [6/19/14-6/22/14] (Review)

Review By: Justin D'Amico  &
                     Troy H. Manley

Sonic Bloom Festival was an amazing musical and spiritual journey shared by thousands of people. The American Safari Ranch in South Park, Colorado was the new location for the event this year, and what a great place to have a festival. The area is a beautiful valley up in the mountains of Park County, Colorado. Sonic Bloom Festival brought together a huge array of musicians and artists of all forms for a celebration of love and creativity.

Stunning visuals were a natural theme for Sonic Bloom Festival. Throughout the weekend, vivid blue skies dominated the daytime hours and the clear skies made all the stars visible at night. It was important to be prepared for the intense mountain sun blazing down on the grounds. Each night at dusk a brilliant glowing orange sunset fell over the mountain ranges. Evenings were rather chilly getting down to near freezing temperatures in the middle of the night. The range of temperature was drastic, and it was again important to prepare accordingly for the weather. Only a small portion of the festival saw rainfall, making it particularly dry and dusty. Being in an open natural setting for a long 4 day weekend was a great way to unwind and indulge.

Sonic Bloom was a giant celebration of love and unity, with everyone helping their neighbors. There was minimal conflict among the attendants, and also the American Safari Ranch remained clean throughout the weekend with little garbage accumulating on the grounds. Each individual campsite was asked to maintain a refuse container and properly dispose of waste. The majority of the campers were compliant and this made for a good environment to live in for the long weekend.

Probably the busiest person at Sonic Bloom Festival was Jamie Janover, he was directly involved with multiple performances, collaborations, and a key promoter. Jamie Janover is a part of the band Zilla, as well as Janover & Resunator, not to mention that he got in on Break Science's live set. He even led the Sonic Bloom Orchestra on the final night of the festival as the conductor. During the second media press conference on Sunday, Jamie Janover told in depth stories about the origins of Sonic Bloom Festival. He mentioned an amazing fact about how, the now gargantuan producer, Pretty Lights, agreed to play Sonic Bloom Festival in 2008 for a mere $100 dollars! It was really cool to be around such an influential individual like Jamie Janover, he was very humble, insightful, and easy to talk to.  

A number of vendors set up tents all around Sonic Bloom Festival to display and sell merchandise. One that stood out to us was Wasatch Glass Works. In their booth you could watch glass blowing demonstrations and check out some of the best hand made glass products in the world. They are famous for inventing a unique hash oil rig called the Nectar Collector, of which now there are many versions. The founder Kristian Merwin spoke to us about his difficult to master triple bubble style and the Nectar Collector 3.0 - the newest version of the legendary design. Merwin has been blowing glass creations for 14 plus years, and he now has a team of apprentices he is showing his highly specialized skills to. Check out the Official Wasatch Glass Works website to see more extraordinary designs and to purchase one of your own.

Nectar Collector version 3.0

One thing that's really cool about a giant festival like Sonic Bloom is how everyone remembers it a little bit differently. Each individual's experience is from a completely unique perspective. The music is shared equally, but the way it is observed will always be exclusive to each person, and that is what makes it so special. Everyone had their favorite performances at Sonic Bloom Festival for certain reasons, these are ours and some of the finer details that we noticed while watching.

5 Favorite Performances At Sonic Bloom Festival - Justin D'Amico - 

The Polish Ambassador

He is becoming one of my favorite people to see live for his music as well as his energy. The Polish Ambassador has such cool dance moves it forces you to try to imitate him. He does a cowboy hand air gun thing and dips left and right to the beat with a certain swagger no one else can mimic. The Polish Ambassador plays only original music and his own remixes for live sets. His music is so tropical it makes you feel like your at an all inclusive resort of awesomeness. I was super exhausted from a long day of shenanigans and still I had to dance my ass off to The Polish Ambassador's set because it just moved me. Music like The Polish Ambassador's gives me a chill and chokes me up almost to tears, but then I just blink really fast.

Unlimited Aspect

As if it wasn't enough to get Unlimited Gravity and Project Aspect together; for Sonic Bloom they added Steven Kuzma from Lost Optical on drums and saxophone from Clark Smith of Dynohunter. Boosh! Unlimited Gravity brought his whole setup with keyboards, samplers, and vocal manipulators. Project Aspect busted out his guitar and also live mixed music at the same time. Super Unlimited Aspect, as I was referring to it, was a lot of fun to watch, it reminded me of a Big Gigantic set but with even more glitch goodness. Many sets included quick collaborations and cameos but this was an entire set combining 4 amazingly talented musicians.

Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill was rocking out the Dome Stage so hard on the last night of Sonic Bloom Festival. He first caught my eye with his crazy socks, they were pink, black, and blue with some kind of Aztec pattern. It's entirely possible he was wearing yoga pants because they were really tight and pulled way up, but I am not for sure. Regardless to his attire Mr. Bill put down a badass set Sunday night, one of the best of the weekend.

Krooked Drivers

The set from Krooked Drivers on the Hummingbird Stage was killer. The Denver duo fired up the crowd right away with music I suspect will be a part of their new album coming soon. It's cool to watch Maddy and Donnie get down to the music together. They often are on the same wavelength dancing to the beat. Lots of love was in the air and it spreads fast when listening to great music.

Zion I

This was a straight hip-hop to death set; lots of fun, tons of crowd participation, and big smiles all around. Zion I stood out to me, being the only true hip-hop group at Sonic Bloom Festival, and just for being so hype. The Dome stage was completely poppin off for Zion I. It was just one of the types of performances that puts me in a good mood for the rest of the night.

5 Favorite Performances At Sonic Bloom Festival - Troy H. Manley -

Shpongle (Simon Posford DJ Set)

Shpongle is the brain child of British masterminds Simon Posford and Raja Ram and is self-coined as "a strange hybrid of electronic manipulation and shamanic midgets with frozen digits squeezing the envelop and crawling through the doors of perception." Shpongle's music has the ability to open your mind and free yourself from daily constraints to enable your imagination run wild. Throughout the set Simon was accompanied by fire dancers and hanging acrobats - making the show a total sensory experience. The trance music played by this man was something else, I swear for at least half an hour of that show Simon was playing just for me. Yup, it was that damn good.


The legend himself returned to Colorado after having successfully recovered from an open heart surgery the year prior.  His live sets consisted largely of new and unreleased material, which always makes things interesting. His down-tempo set on Friday was magical, with insane graphics by Johnathan Singer constantly twisting, turning, melting away, and reappearing throughout the set. Saturday's dancefloor set by Tipper was accompanied pair with visuals by mastermind, Android Jones. Being his only appearance in Colorado for the year 2014, these sets were something extra special.

Unlimited Aspect

Ronnie Weberg (Unlimited Gravity) & Jerry Jaramillo (Project Aspect) are two of the most down-to-earth dudes I have had the opportunity to rage with on many occasions. Big things are on the horizons for these two Colorado natives and it's only a matter of time before big-time success finds its way onto the laps of these ridiculously talented musicians.


It's not very often hip-hop shows capture my ear and totally engulf my soul. However, these dudes did it. Their energy was unprecedented and unlike many rap shows I've been to, you could clearly understand them as they murdered their set. Although seemingly out of place at a festival heavy on the electronic side of things, these guys were the biggest surprise of the weekend and now it is known not to miss these guys given the opportunity.

Kalya Scintilla

Having never heard of Kalya Scintilla prior to Sonic Bloom, I would have never thought to skip some of the Polish Ambassador to check him out. However, I was lucky enough to have a good friend tell me not to miss at least part of this show. So, I didn't. Kalya Scintilla was something else, creating vivid soundscapes with an accent of world fusion beats, and at times even vocalizing some enchanting tribal chants during his set. He moved from song to song and kept the crowd in a hanging suspense of what ridiculousness he was going to throw at them next. His high energy levels and enthusiasm for the music lifted the mood of the crowd and made it easier for everyone to lose themselves in the music.

Sonic Bloom Festival was a mystical musical journey full of unforgettable memories. Being out in the middle of the mountains with nothing to do but party with your homies is a great way to find out who you really are. The American Safari Ranch was an excellent setting for this spiritual journey of love and unity. We at Ikonic Sound hope to become one of the regulars at Sonic Bloom Festival like some of the legends we were amongst. Thanks again to everyone who made Sonic Bloom Festival such an amazing time, CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!

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