Covered in glitter by: Abby Benjamin
The uniqueness of each festival experience never ceases to amaze me. No matter how many festivals you have under your cute fairy utility belt, each one still has its own flavor, personality, and bundle of memorable conversations and experiences.
Shadows Ranch is one of my favorite festival venues. It’s comparable in feel to Horning’s Hideout outside of Portland, OR and Spirit of the Suwannee near Jacksonville, FL. However, Shadows Ranch provides a much smaller and more intimate experience. The campground is nestled in Georgetown, CO, 45 minutes outside of Denver. Its lush green forest provides shade, comfort, and hammock opportunities for festy-goers. A rushing river runs through the property, and stunning mountain views peak out in every direction. It’s one of the ultimate settings to experience Colorado’s beauty.
Shadows Ranch has previously hosted the well-known Colorado music festival Sonic Bloom, The Unified Field. This year, Groove Music and Arts Festival moved in with a whole lot of funk and jam to fill the sound waves of the forest. Highlights of the lineup included Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Keller Williams and the Keels, Dumpstaphunk, Tea leaf Green, Orgone, Hot Buttered Rum, Mountain Standard Time, UV Hippopotamus, and Cosby Sweater with Joel Cummins from Umphrey’s McGee. This diverse lineup gave music lovers a little bit of everything they were craving- bluegrass, jam, funk, electronic, and electro-instrumental integration.
Out of all the performances, I was the most surprised by the lesser-known acts. One example was Jaden Carlson Band. If you have never heard of Jaden Carlson, look her up immediately and be prepared to have your face melted by a 13-year-old badass. This girl’s talent at such a young age is an inspiration- she is already comparable to rock legends of our past and present. Her talent is widely recognized and appreciated, allowing her to have already shared stages with Umphrey’s McGee, Blues Traveler, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Groundation, and Trevor Hall. She is also the youngest musician to ever perform at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. If you ever get the chance to see this rising star, I highly suggest it- she frequents Colorado and surrounding states.
Another non-headliner that really impressed me was Cosby Sweater with Joel Cummins (Umphrey’s McGee). One of my favorite experiences is seeing musicians that I love sit in with other amazing bands. The sound takes on a whole new dynamic with endless possibilities. Cosby Sweater is an electronic trio featuring vocals, saxophone, and drums. Joel on the keys brought a funky vibe to their set creating a great energy on stage and in the crowd.
Other than great musical acts, Groove Fest featured a number of classes including yoga, partner yoga, hooping, and meditation. Nestled amidst shrines constructed to honor each of the chakras, the classes were incredibly calming and grounding. They provided a nice balance to the high energy from the shows.
While doing some exploring on Sunday afternoon, I stumbled upon what was known as the “Tea Garden” along the side of the river. They had a number of small sanctuaries set up with pillows, hanging fabric, and decorations in the trees. These spots were open to anyone who wanted some comfortable chill time by the river. People dressed in traditional costumes walked around offering you a variety of tea served in vintage teacups. This was an incredibly unique and special experience that enhanced an already spectacular weekend!
The intimate vibe, lush forest, and amazing music made Groove Music and Arts Fest my favorite music festival experience so far this summer. The Colorado Mountains are an ideal setting for an outdoor music event- there is plenty of sun during the day, but as soon as the sun goes down, the temperature drops to the 50s and 60s. These cool nights are much appreciated after playing in the sun all day. Can’t wait to see what Shadows Ranch has in store for next year!! Spread the Sparkle!!!!
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