Cover Photo: Mandi Nulph
Photo by: Don Idio
If you’ve attended Bonnaroo, I don’t need to say anything more than ROOCHUTE! But if you haven’t had the opportunity to experience Bonnaroo or the RooChute, let me introduce to you a man on a mission- Ron Holgado. Ron’s idea is simple- “bring happiness to anyone willing to participate!” Ron and his friend Patrick first brought RooChute to Bonnaroo in 2014 and in just 3 years, it has become a staple of the festival. Most festival goers are convinced that the production team is responsible, but this is 100% a fan-driven initiative.
Ron and the RooChute team have collaborated with their extended festival family, The Alchemist Collective, to create an iridescent spectacle of bubbles everywhere during Sound Tribe Sector 9’s (STS9) set at Okeechobee!
I had the opportunity to speak with Ron and the leader of The Alchemist Collective, Sean, just days before Okeechobee as him and his team prepare to bring happiness to the Tribe fans/ family set.
Festival Squad: Hey Ron! It’s great to speak with you again. Thanks for giving us the inside scope on your plans for Okeechobee. Can you give our readers a little history on who you are and how these experiences (RooChute/Bubbles of Happiness) came about?
Ron: Here’s the scoop Helen – over the years, Roochute has attracted a lot of like-minded individuals who are passionate about music, community, and having the most fun at each festival. I am a firm believer in synchronicity. At my very first Bonnaroo, we took out the parachute and that is where my story with Sean Wilkie begins. I later discover a video on YouTube of Sean’s GoPro footage of Roochute, so I decided to reach out and talk to him about his experience. We soon learned that we are cut from the same cloth and have a mutual love for creating magic and lasting memories. Sean is the ring leader for this bubbly surprise and I’ll let him expand on this idea!
Co-Creators, Ron Holgado and Patrick Fromuth at Bonnaroo 2015
FS: RooChute started in 2014 and since then you and your collective have become an icon in the festival realm. You’ve decided to change the experience by incorporating bubbles and making the festival goers more involved. What spurred the change and how have festival goers and musicians reacted?
Sean: We try to keep it simple, cost effective but our goal is what will have the most impact. The average festival goer already has a Onesie and bubbles. Why not get them to incorporate it with others? Can you imagine being underneath a canopy of bubbles while dancing to your favorite band? Everyone around you giggling and adding to the atmosphere. That’s electric. Sounds like a dream to me. And we always hope the band vibes to it as well! They provide us with such a spectacle, why not return the favor.
FS: Why did you choose STS9’s set to create an iridescent spectacle of bubbles? What is it about the band and their fans that was a perfect match for creating happiness?
R: STS9 is a set that I ABSOLUTELY MUST EXPERIENCE while at Okeechobee. I regretfully missed the opportunity to catch Tribe at Bonnaroo 2015 – I saw the beautiful lights in the distance, but at the time my crew was set on seeing another act. I remember vividly the conversation as we returned from camp when a friend said, “YO! Did you catch that Tribe performance!? It was out of this world!” From that moment on, I made a promise to myself to never miss a Tribe set at a festival. When I saw that they were going to be at Okeechobee, I knew that this was a done deal. To be completely honest, reading a certain article by Festival Squad really got my mind primed to witness this band. I cannot wait to hear my favorite track ‘World Go Round’ and I can already envision the reactions of the crowd if this song plays and bubbles are blasting all over as they soar across their lasers and lights! I’ve heard nothing but the most positive praise about the fanbase of this group. They travel all across the United States to see their favorite band and my hope with this bubble party is to make lasting memories and forge new relationships with passionate fans.
S: Honestly I don’t know much about STS9 or their fans. I’m aware that they have a solid, dedicated fanbase and that they were highly recommended to see at Okee. I was told they have a great live show as well as a stunning light show. After listening to them, it was an easy choice. Their set and vibe are perfect to create our canopy of bubbles for a band that can really jam and always delivers for their fans. We plan to do our best to give back to the bands that already give us so much. Plus, one of the best features of a diversified festival is discovering new music! We can not wait to experience STS9 live!
FS: How can festival goers get involved? Where can they meet you to get a bubble gun and join in on the fun?
S: We have a Facebook event page with over 200+ Earthlings involved, but an additional public page can be found here. You can bring your Bubble wands, bubble guns, or the likes to the front of the Sound Tent before their show. We are hoping to spread out through the crowd and have everyone enjoy the sight overhead as we dance to some great tunes. It will be a magical moment for those people who help and the unsuspecting fans. If you don’t have the supplies, not to worry, quite a few people are bringing extras to add to the experience.
If you plan to be at Okeechobee, don’t miss out on this moment of pure happiness and togetherness. For all you readers that aren’t able to attend Okeechobee this coming weekend but are interested to see how this experience plays out—don’t worry, we have you covered! We will be tracking the experience LIVE on our Snapchat-festival_squad, and our photographer will be stationed at STS9 to capture the reactions of both the musicians and fans.
Keep on spreading the positivity!