Room to Grow for Resonance: Cooper’s Lake Exceeds Expectations

Photos from Phierce Photos 

Going into this year’s Resonance Music & Arts Festival, no one knew exactly what to expect. A new venue in a new state meant that everything about Resonance was about to change, or so we thought. Yes, a lot did change, new scenery, new camping situation, new stages, and new art designs; however, the most important thing remained the same; the same old friendly welcoming family vibe that made us fall in love with this amazing festival years ago. Not to mention an airtight line up of electronic artists and jam bands, that Resonance continues to deliver year after year.

Resonance Portal Designed By Cerebral Concepts

A New Home

Resonance had previously called Legend Valley in Ohio home for years prior to the announcement of a venue switch which led to initial hesitation from some fans. However, no amount of doubt could restrain the awe you felt walking onto the new grounds for Resonance Music & Arts Festival at Cooper’s Lake Campgrounds in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The rolling hills, lake backdrop and towering trees displayed the sheer beauty of these natural lands.

The best part about this move was all the extra space and upgraded camping situation! There was an abundance of camping areas for everyone despite Resonance seeing its largest turnout to date with 10,000 attendees throughout the weekend! Surrounding the lake were tons of camping spots where you could set up your stuff in a grassy field or even post up in the woods. The amount of camping available in the trees was amazing. There was also a lot of space available for camping in fields closer to the stages if you preferred that. One thing we also noticed throughout the weekend is how clean everyone kept the new venue. There were a lot of recycling and trash cans available and everyone did a great job at not throwing garbage on the ground, including cigarette butts.

The added bonus of being on a full-time campground was the built-in bathrooms, power outlets, showers and a general store for all those forgotten camp necessities. Those small additions alone, made this camping festival feel all the more luxurious.

Even though Resonance relocated this year, the same welcoming friendly family vibe was still there along with a few familiar sights. The iconic Resonance swing and jelly dome made their way to Cooper’s Lake with us and were set right up on the lake’s edge along with some of the workshop domes. Various vendors and food stands even made their way to the new location including everyone’s favorite Disco Pizza! The most important thing, however, that made its return was the same welcoming vibe that makes Resonance so special to so many.

Iconic Resonance Swing On Coopers Lake

All About the Art

Art has always been an important focal point every year at Resonance Music & Arts Festival, but this year Essential Productions took it to a whole new level! Cerebral Concepts played a huge role in the ramped-up art installations. Cerebral Concepts designed and created the new Resonance pyramid portal as well as the brand new Dragon Stage! They also had a new dome for workshops, a vending booth, and a few pieces in the art gallery! Chris Dyer also had a huge imprint on Resonance this year. Chris was just one of a ton of live artists performing over the weekend, and he created a huge mural by the main stages. He also had his Positive Creations team out in the festival and a huge Positive Creations booth in vendors row! Resonance also featured dozens of other live artists including Sweet Melis, Morgan Mandala, Mr. Melty, Gavin Gerundo, and Mike Hancock to name a few. Resonance also did a great job at showcasing the flow arts with a full Fire Tribe that performed throughout Tipper and Umphrey’s McGee as well as a number of other flow artists that traveled throughout the festival grounds. 

Chris Dyer Painting Mural At Resonance Music & Arts Festival

Music Magic

The new venue size provided plenty of space for larger main stages and even the addition of a few extra stages. There were a total of five stages all with their own unique vibe. The two main stages were the Apex and Blossom stages standing side by side. Cooper’s Cove was a side stage located close to the lake, and the Dragon stage was designed by Cerebral Concepts and located at the giant castle. The final stage was located behind the main stages in a giant barn. The Resonance lineup this year was so stacked it was hard to catch everyone! We found ourselves power walking from stage to stage in an attempt to see everything we wanted to. Thankfully most of the artists here this weekend performed multiple sets making it a lot easier to see everyone we wanted to.

Dragon Stage Designed By Cerebral Concepts

All of the sets we made it to were great, but a few were just a little more special and stood out. The man of the weekend was the one and only Dave Tipper. Both of his sets had a special feel to them that had the whole festival buzzing. His first set on Friday night was nothing short of breathtaking with the addition of the fire troupe throwing down, the live artists painting, and the rest of the festival filling up the new grounds. His second set on Saturday came after a final summer rain shower and featured a full rainbow, a beautiful sunset, and even a paraglider swooping down over the crowd. I don’t know how he does it, but there’s always a little extra magic with a Tipper set.

Umphrey’s Mcgee Performing at Apex Stage 

This year also had a number of other sets that will hold a special place in our hearts. The back-to-back Umphrey’s McGee set was amazing, as well as all of the Pigeons Playing Ping Pong sets! The Papadosio Gorillaz set was a personal favorite as the band performed with fellow Asheville artists to carry out the full Gorillaz sound. Dopapod also had a unique set performing on 9*19*19 and spelling out Palindrome with their setlist, keeping with the theme of their band! Polish Ambassador delivered two fun, upbeat sets at sunset on Friday and Saturday that brought good vibes for nights full of great music. TAUK, Spoonbill, CharlestheFirst, Jade Cicada, Chris Karns, Goose, Freddy Todd, and Tycho were also a few of the artists that threw down this year!

Helpful Tips

With every new year and new festival location comes some learning curves. After our first year at Cooper’s Lake here are a few helpful tips to help you prepare for next year’s Resonance Music & Arts Festival! 

  • Bring your walking shoes – Depending on where you camp at you might have a decent walk to get to the stages. We camped in the far back corner by the lake and it took us about 15-20 minutes to walk across the venue to the Dragon stage. There are also a ton of great acts every year so you will be running from stage to stage at least a little. 
  • Prepare for all weather – Every year at Resonance it seems like we experience all four seasons in the span of the weekend. This year it was cold enough to enjoy hot cocoa by a fire, hot and humid enough to get all sweaty, and we even had a solid rainstorm that flooded some camps out. You never know what you’re going to get weather-wise this time of the year! 
  • BYOB – Resonance has always had a bring your own alcohol policy because the festival does not sell it. The on-site general store for Cooper’s Lake also does not sell alcohol. This year is a little different from years past because Slippery Rock and all of Butler County, PA only allows for the sale of beer. If you want any liquor or specialty beer, make sure you stop a bit before the festival! 
  • Limited shade at stages – There is plenty of shaded spots available for camping. However, the two main stages and the Dragon stage has absolutely no shade. Make sure you bring sunscreen and even an umbrella to post up under. Hopefully, shaded areas or art installations will be added for future years! 
  • Bring earplugs – While it is always important to protect your ears at all shows, it is especially true for Resonance because the festival provides only the best high-quality sound systems for the talented artists performing each year. Funktion-Ones are known for their clarity and power. With an artist like Tipper playing on Funktion Ones, you’ll feel the beat in your bones which means it’s especially important to protect your eardrums. You do want to be listening to music for years to come right?!

It’s a joy each year to share the magic of Resonance with new friends and old. It all made sense as to why Resonance had made the move to Cooper’s Lake. This festival needed the potential to grow. It needed the space to highlight even more performance art, live painting, and of course talented musicians. This community of fans needed more space to welcome new faces, and we could not be more excited to be able to share this with so many more people as Resonance and its community continue to grow.




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