I could hear the bass echoing through the parking lot as I made my way through Fort Tuthill. I walked on the long and winding path and took in the smells of the Arizona forest –surrounding us were giant, green ponderosa pines as far as the eyes could see. The sun was shining almost as bright as we were as we passed through the gates of the Pepsi Amphitheatre that lovely Saturday afternoon. This was the first annual Kaleidoscope Kamp Out, a one day festival that provided us a place to connect with friends in nature while enjoying some of our favorite electronic music. The word Kaleidoscope comes from the Greek and is translated into “beautiful form to see,” and indeed it was. With Sparkleberry staff in hand, I rose it high for all to see and declared that we had arrived! The classic jam band riffs of local Arizona band Spafford hung in the air. Clusters of friends to-be were scattered all over the luscious lawn on colorful blankets taking in the beauty of their surroundings while simultaneously contributing to it. The familiar smell of Nag Champa and Palo Santo filled the air and confirmed that we were in the presence of good company.
A calm breeze and mellow rays kissed my skin as I lay in the grass preparing myself to soak up the love and happiness that filled the amphitheater. Constant chatter and laughter kept emotions high while the rain stayed clear, providing us with perfect skies. The venue was small, yet, still felt very large. Every corner had its own feel: mellow, rambunctious, or a mix of the two. Whatever one needed, it was provided for them. The majority of the crowd rolled in around 5o’clock- just in time for festivities as the drum corps rolled out to welcome the masses. They marched around and got everyone hyped up by singing the “ole” chant. All types of guys with drums big and small marched around the fields as people began to join in one by one. Happiness ensued.
One of the first things I noticed about this gathering was how communal it felt: there were families and familiar faces everywhere, a hammock village and a quaint camping area for those who wanted to stay for the late night parties and DJ sets. About 500 yards away from the main entrance through the parking lot was the camp ground, each area had its own picnic table and fire pit, and although they were requiring wristbands to camp- no one seemed to be checking. Colorful tapestriess that would later be used for warmth hung in the trees. Friends were reuniting, rejoicing and reminiscing, prancing around expressing who they were most excited to see.
The grounds were conveniently split into two areas, the remarkably chill Firefly Forest which was home to the Sky Stage, geometric structures that housed beautifully intricate shrines, and the hammock village. Then there was the field, where we would spend the majority of the evening getting down on the LED dance floor at the main stage amphitheater.
Before the sun set behind the mountains I wanted to scope out the entire scene, so I walked along the grounds with a pile of loaded vegan nachos enjoying others’ interaction blissfully- I thought to myself, “If only everyone could be as awesome as these people were” and smiled. Before I knew it I was standing face to face with one of the most gorgeous pieces of Boulder opal I’ve ever seen. My jaw dropped as I looked up to see the friendly faces of Tronic Rocks. New friends Deborah and Clay were the ones baring all of these beautiful gems. Tronic Rocks is a business specializing in precious stones and gems from around the world that are cut into flawless pendants. These jewels are then distributed to those aching for a truly unique and quality piece of art. Deborah and Clay were very kind and knowledgeable and were just as excited to be at Kaleidoscope like everyone else. Their exchange in turns on the dance floor demonstrated their enthusiasm. An exciting thumping coming from the woods temporarily pulled me away and I soon returned back to the Firefly Forest.
The music was coming from the Sky stage where Eoto’s drummer, Jason Hann was performing as Prophet Massive. His solo electronic DJ drum skills came to life as he made order from chaos spitting out some of the funkiest beats I’ve heard in a while. Dubby bass and old school hip hop samples got everyone steppin’, as well as some good ole’ fashion dirtier-than-your-laundry dubstep; we could no longer resist the urge to dance into a heavy sweat as the sun got lower and lower. As my friends and I waited for nighttime to come, Cosby Sweater started blowing horns on the main stage. Reminiscent of Big Gigantic in some sorts, we migrated over to hear some refreshing jazzy sounds from Cosby Sweater’s live sax and drums. Cherub was up next with their guitar laden funky neo-retro dance beats and they rocked out with their famous song “Doses and Mimosas”, which turned out to be a favorite of the crowd. I then slipped back over to the irresistible vibes of the Firefly Forest to catch the last show on Sky Stage before moving over to main stage for the night.
Acidisco closed it out properly at the Sky Stage. His set was so reminiscent of Lightning in a Bottle because of his use of music samples from past years’ artists woven together in his silky beat blanket. I specifically remember Acidisco’s mix of Kalya Scintilla’s “Feelin’ Good” because it was playing in my car on the way to the event. There was something about the Sky Stage that was very homey. It might have been the golden Ganesh and chakra pillar blowing freely in the wind, which allowed good vibes to ooze from everywhere and everyone. As if his set wasn’t hot enough, a torch burned on each side of the stage adding a beautiful fiery glow to the crowd below. As seamlessly as his show started it simmered down to an end and everyone migrated over to main stage for Eliot Lipp. We sat in the grass and watched all the colorful visuals being projected onto the stage, trails of colorful hoopers hung around in my peripheral vision as he played some of his best songs off of his most recent album “Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake”. His balance of hip-hop style samples, chill glitch sounds and hyper break beats made for the perfect transition into a night of increasingly more intense performances.
Minnesota was next on the schedule and I was really excited to see him evolving as a musician. His use of more original creations over his well-known style of remixing songs gave his growth away. Minnesota still tapped into his old ways though and the crowd reacted well by singing along to a Notorious B.I. G. mix. The performance during this show was great and the energy given by this musician was reciprocated by the crowd’s response. Kaleidoscope was the perfect show to help Minnesota kick off his cross country Altered States Tour promoting his new album which is to be released late November.
Next, a few of us agreed that we needed a visit to the peaceful gardens of the Firefly Forest for a small group meditation. After giving it my all on the dance floor I needed a moment to gather my energy and center myself. Naturally we gravitated towards the area with the most energy and found ourselves sitting directly under an icosahedrons surrounded by beautiful shrines and even more beautiful people. Though you could hear the bass from all over, the peace in that area never faltered. With an open mind and heart I led my friends into a grounding light expansion meditation that left every cell of our being vibrating with radiating love and light. Mission accomplished! Now that we’d harnessed our energy we were ready to share it with the world, and dance until the night was done.
Tipper’s signature sounds dripped out of the speakers as we walked through the field and right up to the front of the stage. Somewhere behind all the staging and lights was an alchemist of sounds. There’s only one man capable of letting loose these types of vibrations and that is David Tipper. His set got everyone feeling wiggly and weird by playing songs off of one of my all-time favorite albums, Broken Soul Jamboree. The bass drops were accented by massive bursts of flames that were hot in contrast to the crisp mountain air. This was a favorite set by many, especially for those who had not seen him perform. In the past, Tipper’s music has been described as squishy, meaty, weird bubbly goodness. After my first experience I finally understood all of those descriptions. Tipper played for barely an hour, leaving his audience hungry for more.
EOTO was for dessert, and they never disappoint, after-all the name literally means “sound good”. The time-traveling space lotus portal stage that EOTO revealed was absolute eye candy. Colorful patterns spun and danced on the leaves of the portal as Jason Hann and Michael Travis produced a crowd pleasing buffet of music. I had a huge realization during EOTO’s set: no two shows are ever alike with them- every sound they produce during a show is fresh and made like a recipe from whatever energy the crowd emits. Like a kaleidoscope, no pattern is ever repeated, new beautiful colors and shapes appear at every spin of the wheel, just like EOTO. It was so proper to have EOTO at the first annual Kaleidoscope Kamp Out the perfect end to an ideal night.
Overall Kaleidoscope was a beautiful escape complete with a full moon, which would bring us clean and pure energy to charge our hearts and uplift our spirits. It was a wonderful event to be a part of and I am excited to see how it evolves. I hope that it will eventually become a full three day festival where we can expand the good vibes through a whole weekend of soul-shaking goodness. A special thanks goes out to Firefly Gatherings for bringing us the Firefly Forest, it was a sanctuary for many, myself included. Further thanks to Culture Shock for making this vision of a great experience come into fruition.
This Article was produced by Shannon Stapleton, a very special berry friend of ours! If you’re interested in sharing one of your stories feel free to contact us at [email protected]!
And as always Spread the Sparkle