Photos by Sage Thomas
“Part Burning Man…Pure Colorado” -Denver Post
At a Glance
Last weekend, Arise Music Festival returned for it’s 5th year in the scenic and peaceful city of Loveland, CO. As a festival in the mountains, you will feel right at home upon arrival- beautiful, reddish rocks in every direction. Musical headliners have included bangers year by year, 2017 boasting with Atmosphere, Lettuce, Tipper, Brother Ali, Beats Antique, Rising Appalachia, Sunsquabi, and many more. Much more than just a music festival, ARISE will keep you entertained and amazed all weekend long with workshops, yoga, inspirational speakers, and even strange and memorable interactions.
Music genre – Blue-grass, Jam, Electronic, Psychedelic
Camping: YES, both GA and VIP options available
Capacity: Small (About 8k)
Crowd type: Family, Community, Free-Spirited
Water stations: Yes
For The First Timers – ARISE festival in located at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO and is an absolutely beautiful location. Wherever you are placed to camp, it is going to be very scenic so no worries about that. The festival is the perfect size, not too tiring where you can’t run back to camp in between sets or anything. I recommend bringing a WAGON, as most of the camping is walk-in and a little bit of a hike from the parking. Definitely worth it though, less cars mean more room for tents and more people to meet in a smaller distance! I recommend VIP (read more about it below) for the Stageview camping experience. The festival is extremely organized, making ins and outs quite painless. I always recommend getting in line an hour before gates open before the event and leaving around 7-8am on the Monday after for shortest wait times though.
Standout Food – ARISE music festival had a wide variety of food vendors, offering options all over the spectrum from vegan to quality meats and dishes. My personal favorite was India Gourmet, serving up some tasty dishes with spices out of this world. And the best part- they are SUPER fast! As for desert, I LOVE the Coconut Bliss Ice Cream vendor, serving up delicious vegan ice cream to invigorate your senses. P.S.- I recommend the Cappuccino Flavor.
Musical Highlights – Even with having many other things to check out all weekend ARISE still prides themselves as “first, foremost and always, a music festival”, and this is evident in the incredible level of production and killer lineup year by year. The lineup always includes locals as well as heavy-hitting headliners. The music of the weekend really touched my heart and made me realize how much I adore the live component of music- the different instruments and layers are so beautiful. I have been so deep in the electronic scene and am so grateful to dive into new genres lately!
Rising Appalachia presented a very powerful set Friday night, soul music at its finest. There was a huge storm with eerie lighting right before their set, and though it was cut short, they played their hearts out for the time that they had. The gloomy, sunset vibes fit perfectly with their inspirational vibe. Not long after, Lettuce closed out Friday night at the main stage, a funky set that will stay with me forever. So many happy faces in the crowds and laughter- that’s just what jam seems to do to us.
I hadn’t even seen Dirtwire on the ARISE 2017 lineup originally, so when we stumbled upon their set Friday night I was so ecstatic! The bluesy-electronic beats were out of this world! So many unique instruments were seen and used on stage, the trio is not someone you wanna miss at your next event. It was like an electronic-country vibe, their track “Struttin” made the crowd really go wild. It was during this song that I remember dancing and just looking around in amazement of the moment with the people around me.
Beats Antique played Saturday night- a set that many attendees were most excited for! If you’ve never heard of them, they are a Celtic- electronic sound that is probably one of the coolest things you can experience at a festival- the live belly dancing and performance, the remixes, and the crowd involvement will leave you glowing. Beats Antique included both new songs from their Shadowbox tour as well as old favorites from Tribal Derivations and more. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! (Check out our interview with David Satori right before their set HERE)
Finishing out Saturday night at the Eagle Stage, Tipper paired with Android Jones to create an out-of-this-world experience, taking you through a journey of ambient sounds where you truly never knew what was coming next. This duo is difficult to accurately put into words, simply put just an immersive experience of both vision and sound. It makes you dive deep and question everything and the coolest part- the visuals are created live! A snippet of the sorcery:
(Video by The Chronic Electronic)
Things To Do — The music is definitely the main event during the nights, but daytime provides a whole different realm of experiences to choose from. There were a huge variety of workshops to choose from including but not limited to yoga, dialogues, mediations, sound healings, and teachings about life. The GA campgrounds were the hub for cute little purposeful environments- like the women’s temple, water temple, fire pit, and even a Farmers Market- plus more! You could easily spend all day here, exploring and stumbling upon different types of workshops. It’s on the way into the venue, so it’s easy to make it out! The Solutions Village was in the venue- shedding light on ways to make your own life more sustainable. Here I got to even try some SOLAR BAKED vegan cookies- delicious to say the least!
During the night, there were plenty of places that could capture you and make you miss your favorite sets- in the best of ways. Most notable for me, there was this environment where you walk up and just see a few people sitting at a table, turning buttons and switches and creating their own music in surround sound. It all seems very strange at first- but starts making sense soon enough. Hard to explain- but you’ll know if you see it at a different event. Anyone could hop on and create with others, a really cool thing to experience!
I always enjoy taking a break at the tea temple to re-up and refresh my energy as well, than to immerse myself in the art afterward for a little while.
If you miss the art at ARISE, you miss such an essential part of the experience! Seriously, ARISE has some incredible live painters and art on display in the art dome. I was left in complete amazement and inspired to maybe try on my own some day. I stared at this live painting (below) for probably an hour- just loved the badass, goddess vibe to it- and the painter even gifted my friend and I bubbles too!
Late-night campfires are only allowed in one place- the group campfire. Here, there is drumming and singing nightly, a great chance to dance to the natural sounds of drums and meet new friends/ share stories.
VIP or Nah — I’m not really one to shoot for VIP options at events, but I truly believe that it is SO worth it at ARISE! VIP gave you the option to camp right next to Eagle Stage (main stage), meaning you never have to worry about long walks or forgetting things. And the best part- you could literally lay in your hammock and never miss a set- the perfect combo for anyone who gets pretty worn out by day 3 (like me). VIP perks also included an amazing happy hour with free drinks and tasty vegan grub (seriously- some of the best food I had all weekend), not to mention hot Yerba Mate to keep you going all weekend long. To top it off, you also had a special viewing area and access to backstage. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I love being in the crowds in GA but it’s also great to have another option for when I feel like having a change of scenery.
Story Corner – ARISE Festival was stacked full of magical, weird moments honestly. It’s hard to pinpoint just a few cause they were everywhere! Colorado vibes, man. There are two that really stand out to me though, one of which was on Saturday during the dead of night. My friend and I were walking back to camp and we had decided to check out the art installation that was on the way, as it seemed like people were climbing to the top of it (beautiful views maybe?!). We go and try to get in line, but unfortunately, they say that they are no longer taking any more people up. Just as we are leaving, we see a mystical creature pop out through the soft tentacles of the installation, waving to us and just starting. And that was really it- we tried to get back up there multiple times throughout the weekend- but they were no longer letting anyone up. All that was left was the memory of this colorful creature and wonder of what went on up there.
Another powerful moment that stood out last weekend was late Friday night; we were just wandering the festival grounds and then suddenly became drawn to the owl on fire, where many were huddling to stay warm and gaze in awe. It was a really beautiful sight- so calm and serene. We approach closer and see one girl, deep in meditation under the owl, everyone keeping their space and just observing.
In just five years, ARISE Festival has built a well-known name for themselves and created a complete experience for its attendees that can outshine any type of circumstance. To top it off-they have even already announced two initial headliners for 2018, Slightly Stoopid and Thievery Corporation! Super Early Bird Tickets available HERE.
A great recap video by KYLER KNUTSON of the most magical moments: