Sunday, August 16, 2015

Arise Music Festival in Loveland, Colorado [8/7/15-8/9/15] (Review)

Review By: jdrightright

One of the most magical events Colorado has to offer. Held at the serine Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado it's Arise Music Festival. The third annual gathering of forward thinking people and a plethora of excellent musicians. It was my second year attending Arise Music Festival this time around, and it felt great to be back in the valley.

The Sunrise Ranch is so beautiful, the mountains surround the festival grounds with rocky tips. To the south just outside of the grounds is a pleasant view of the Green Ridge Glade Reservoir. At night the sunset glows bright orange over the mountain tops providing a natural light show. The moon and stars are extra bright at Sunrise Ranch a mesmerizing visual experience to say the least. It's an incredible place to call home for the Arise Music Festival campers.

A number of artists had set up shop around the campgrounds and inside the concert and workshop areas. Music inspires creativity and the painters, poi spinners, and hula hoppers were making the most of their time in the stream of good vibes. The most massive of the artworks was a giant owl made of metal with its wings spread out, and at night flames were ignited burning from the head and wings of the owl.

There was a lot more going on at Arise Music Festival than just musical performances. The main theme of the weekend was to love the planet, and to spread knowledge of how we can get back to our roots as children of mother earth. There were familiar faces from last year with advocates like Peter Yarrow, Josh Fox, Bethany Yarrow, and many more. I attended an Arise Dialogue where a number of important topics were discussed about how we should move forward from the outdated polluting technologies and save our future generations from living in a toxic environment. Another topic spoke about how Native American tribes lived and how we should get back to their ways of having a relationship with our Earth. It was enlightening to hear fresh points of view for positive change and a brighter future. I felt uplifted and empowered after listening to the panel speak.

Yoga and workshops were abundant at Arise Music Festival, with nearly as many sessions scheduled as performances by bands. The Yoga Zone tent was up a hill at the highest point of the ranch from where you can observe the entire festival. Each day seven different sessions were held and with different instructors. One of the special instructors was Ayla Nereo, an exquisite solo singer as well as lead vocalist for the band Wildlight.

Some of the workshops were also hosted by members of bands to discuss music or to even practice different instruments and get instruction. Out in the camping area there were different villages with seminars and rituals for anyone to attend. The Healing Village held meetings to converse about the body and how to prolong good health. The Wisdom Village held ceremonies and small performances as well as the Closing Fire Puja to end the event.     

Another neat thing was the children's camp up by the Sunrise Dome. The kids had their own mini workshop tents where they could hold chats about life or whatever they wanted. There were arts and crafts that the kids could learn about and be creative. They even had a little tiny stage set up for the kids who wanted to play instruments and sing. When I walked through the children's village a trio of youngsters were freestyle rapping about keeping the Earth clean for the future. That was a really moving thing to hear, and it made me proud to be a part of the Arise community.

At the heart of the Sunrise Ranch, in the field between the Area 51 stage and the Eagle Stage, you could walk through the official Arise Art Gallery. Inside of this big tent were a bunch of pieces inspired by the festival and works that reflected what the gathering stands for. On Sunday night a group of artists came together around the Area 51 stage to display their pieces and talk about their artworks. There were a lot of very talented painters and I really enjoyed watching them add more layers to their canvases. More art is exhibited and conceived at Arise Music Festival than any other event I have been to.

I had to do a lot of bouncing around in order to see all the various bands. It was hard to decide who to watch for some time slots. Three stages were continuously running at the same time! The two main stages, the Eagle Stage and the Phoenix Stage, were beside each other and they would have a band playing on one stage while the next band was setting up on the other. This made it so there was a steady stream of music and no lag in between bands.

The Area 51 stage was dedicated mostly to electronic music. This year a small amphitheater dome was built for the stage. On the Area 51 stage I counted seven lasers and a ton of stage lights. Right behind the performers was a custom structure made to look like three big flowers which housed lasers that shot out of the flowers. Also a projector was used to create textures on a wall of half cubes above the stage.  

The third stage was the Starwater Peoples Stage, a bit more intimate with room for maybe one hundred people inside. Right beside the Starwater Peoples Stage was a cafe serving delicious Ozo Coffee, the smell was intoxicating. Here you could see a huge variety of different musical genres. There were bands playing traditional and historical music from countries all around the world, there were bands spitting hip-hop flows, and even a couple electronic DJ sets. Shown here is the Starwater Peoples Stage during a set on Friday by Bethany and Rufus, two of the most inspirational people at Arise Music Festival.

Favorite Performances at Arise Music Festival


I knew nothing about Ozomatli before seeing them here, but they had me jumping for their music. They are a big band with horns and guitar and a ton of style. Some of their music reminds me of ska, while other times they were rapping out ill freestyles. They put on a hell of a show and provided an unforgettable moment at the end of their set. To close it out Ozomatli jumped right off stage and into the crowd while continuing to play. They would do a couple songs while being surrounded by the audience and then they formed a sort of conga line and exited back to the side of the stage while still drumming and dancing. It was a really cool way to finish a set, and the whole thing was a lot of fun.


I have been in love with this band ever since last year at Arise Music Festival. They are electric on stage together, both are amazing dancers and they were having so much fun together, dance battling to the music. It was like the soundtrack to a dream listening to the chill beats and soothing vocals. Ayla Nereo is enchanting when she is in the bright lights, her movements are elegant and her voice is spectacular.  


On the Area 51 stage Sunday night a musician called saQi completely stole the show. He was kicking out some deep house and tribal sounding beats, and the people were getting down. While mixing, every now a then saQi would bust out a trumpet and start playing along to the beat. His set also incorporated a couple of other musicians, one with a saxophone and also another on the violin, creating a half live and half electronic blend. I had to stay late Sunday and see where saQi's set would go. He was kick ass, with every bass drop I was more intrigued.

Bethany & Rufus

Bethany Yarrow and Rufus Cappadocia are such incredible people as advocates for important social and environmental causes, and on stage together they are delightful. Bethany Yarrow is especially cultured and she shares all of her knowledge so eloquently. She has perfected extremely rare native songs from different tribes throughout the world, and her chanting touches the soul. Rufus Cappadocia has a magnificent skill playing the five string cello. For some of their set Rufus has a completely unique way of using the bow to slap the strings. The sound that it creates is like a percussionist beat and the bass/guitar all at once. Bethany Yarrow and Rufus Cappadocia are such a treat to see perform, I hope I can see them again sometime soon.

The Magic Beans

These guys play some a the dopest funk music I know of. I have seen The Magic Beans a couple times before but each time I like them even more. They took the stage during the day on Saturday so I was there to get my groove on. Everyone is super happy and the worries are washed away when listening to funky rock music. I always have a many funs and good vibes jamming out with The Magic Beans.

Unlimited Aspect

Unlimited Gravity and ProJect Aspect had a two hour chunk on the Area 51 stage late Saturday night back to back. First up was Unlimited Gravity with a nice deep and stretchy glitch set for starters. Then ProJect Aspect came on a bit early, but it was all planned out that way. Hard raunchy sweaty beats were a theme for ProJect Aspect, and he had it popping off. But then it went down! Kuzma and Unlimited Gravity come back out for a special Unlimited Aspect closing. This time Kuzma was banging a set of electronic drum pads, rather than a drum set. They crushed it! Definitely one for the ages, a perfect ending to the late night. 

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this gorgeous festival again this year. Arise Music Festival has a way of rejuvenating the soul. New friends are made and knowledge is passed on, it's powerful and unforgettable. Big thanks to everyone who had a part in making Arise Music Festival such a success for the third year. I hope that we can make a difference for the future generations and this is a start.  


Post a Comment