For its third year in a row, Arise Festival has united music lovers of all genres bringing an eclectic diversity of musical talent over the three day weekend in Loveland, Colorado.
It wasn’t just the quality performances across four stages that drew the crowd of over 5000 lovely people to the secret valley. It was the yoga, films, workshops, dialogues, live performances, and art that were enough to keep everybody smiling through the 90° days of Colorado sunshine. The week before the festival even began, the Permaculture Action Course brought people together for permaculture education and community building with a focus on catalyzing social transformation. The Polish Ambassador held his touring Permaculture Action Day at the venue with volunteers to actively regenerate biodiversity and natural resources. The family-friendly venue spanned over 100 acres surrounded by colorful mountains and festival-goers were treated with perfect weather and vibrantly stunning sunsets throughout the entire weekend.
At the elevation of 5394 ft. the thin air complemented crisp music of four music stages. The Eagle Stage hosted the largest of acts, sitting in a bowl and providing perfect views of the stage and down a valley of red-toned rocky mountains. Immediately next to that, was the Phoenix Stage which provided alternation in music to virtually never stop between the two stages. On the other end of the venue, the Area 51 Stage presented by TheUntz was dedicated to electronic music with 3D projection mapping, premium sound, and brought the dance party all day lasting through the night. The StarWater People’s Stage provided a constant array of music showcasing local talent that will surely become the next big names in Colorado. A stage dedicated to yoga in the Yoga Zone, rested on a hill above the festival grounds where people could embody their energies with leaders from all over the globe. During the hot days, the air-conditioned Big Sunrise Dome held films, intimate music and storytelling, and presentations.
This year, Arise continued to focus on uniting conscious music that aligns with the theme of conscious action, ecological activism, and social justice. Special guests were prevalent in nearly every act. In between promoting environmental awareness and expanding the gardens of Sunrise Ranch, The Polish Ambassador brought the largest crowd of the weekend with his funky smooth music that left attendees on an uplifted note for the rest of the weekend. Brooklyn based Turkuaz had the surprising highlight of the weekend blasting a mesmerizing set full of their unique take on funk with their powerhouse horn section and they’re beautiful singers. Earlier in the day, The ReMINDers raised faith in hip hop with Big Samir’s smooth flow complimented by Aja Black’s amazing voice. Not only did they rock the main stage, but the following day, they took over the Children’s Village playing a low key show for the kids and parents. Instruments were passed out among the children while other kids played on the hand built drums around the stage to join them in making music. Other musically talented people joined in to play saxophone and acoustic guitar; then kids danced on stage and even sang along side The ReMINDers. It was very heart warming to see a main stage act get intimate and spread smiles across all ages as they joined in on the music.
Saturday had a jam-packed musical lineup between the adjacent Eagle and Phoenix stages, allowing fans to never have to leave their spot. The non-stop music went from Nederland’s The Magic Beans, to the many musical styles of Ozomatli, to reggae’s finest Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, to the rocking Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, then chilling out with Wildlight, ending with the soothing beats of The Human Experience. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, formed by drummer Joe Russo from Furthur, brought many dedicated fans out to Loveland that night. With their rockin’ take on Grateful Dead songs, JRAD performed a highly energetic show that left the crowd wanting more. Those who missed them, should be sure to catch them in their next show. If it was possible to leave the continuous music at all, the Area 51 stage was packed with endless fun as well. The jamtronica trio hailing from Fort Collins, Skydyed fused electronic feels with funk, rock, and bass. Tnertle brought the Denver electro-funk before Defunk gave everybody a taste of his electro-soul beats.
The final day wound down with peaceful music across all stages leaving fans happily content before they head back to all over the country. Boulder reggae band Intuit brought their local captivating music to the Starwater People’s Stage. After playing to a sold out crowd at Red Rocks Amphitheater last week with Dirtyheads and Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure continued the reggae vibes and graced us with their uplifting music. The large band Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros played a very enlightening show with lead singer Alex Ebert taking the time to preach love across the crowd. One of Colorado’s favorites, Mikey Thunder brought his fun-packed party to the Area 51 Stage before saQi performed his set full of mystic music sometimes backed by his soothing trumpet. Closing out the festival, Trevor Hall played his acoustic reggae to the loving crowd, bringing special guest singers and even a golden retriever to keep the feelings of peace spread throughout.
Overall, everything at the hybrid festival was incomparably flawless. Our journey, from beginning to end, was amazing in every way. Entering the venue with our cars was seamless, the festival grounds were immaculately clean, food vendors showed off their tastiest foods, and every single staff member and volunteer was genuinely helpful and kind. But it was the perfect camping, mind-opening workshops, earthbound yoga, and star-studded lineup over a weekend of beautiful weather that was one to never forget as we look forward to the next time we can all come together to experience what Arise has to offer.
:: A FreioMusic collaboration with Julien Deroeux & Duncan Lowder ::