Sonic Bloom Takes Over American Safari Ranch: Festival Review
07 Jul 2014

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In the arms of the American Safari Ranch we landed.

Sonic Bloom 2014 was one for the books. Our brothers and our sisters of this amazing community came with open arms and a new respect for the new location at American Safari Ranch. Celebrating its 9th year in Colorado, Sonic Bloom took this new venue by storm and showed us all what this gorgeous state has to offer. It was a drastic change from what most of us were used to but a good, refreshing change none-the-less. The lovely trees and flowing river will be missed by anyone who attended the festival when it was at Shadow’s Ranch in Georgetown, but with this change comes a new picture that will capture your wildest imagination. I’ve personally lived in top ski towns like Vail and Breckenridge and would say the imagery we had at American Safari Ranch is untouchable. Literally surrounded by a 360 degree view of mountains in a wide open valley, American Safari Ranch is now home to the prettiest festival in the country, our Sonic Bloom.

Fest goers being festive. Check out the unicorn!

Fest goers being festive. Check out the unicorn!

The music- as predicted- was top notch, with something for everyone. Tipper played some of the best sets I’ve ever seen on Friday and Saturday night with some help from the ever so creative Android Jones on the visuals. When I say some of the best sets, I mean it. With the crowd pulsing with energy, the Function One sound system so crisp and pounding with bass, your senses were put on overload and at points throughout the sets, you felt nothing but a euphoric sense of amazingness. Those sounds that came through those speakers twisted my brain and tickled my ear drums, and my face has never hurt so bad from smiling as much as I did, along with everyone else that weekend.  Opiou, the Austrailian badass, laid down some super funky tracks that made you keep moving even if you tried to stop. Quixotic Fusion, the Kansas City multi-talented performance team, took our breath away. The visuals they had were out of this world cool and the dancers shined like Goddesses. The actual artists performing were playing from the heart and feeding off the crowd.  I had never heard of Quixotic before their set on Saturday night, and I’m now a fan forever. This is one of the biggest surprises I had all weekend and I recommend anyone reading this to take a look and see them live, maybe at Red Rocks with Tipper?

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David Sugalski aka the Polish Ambassador crushing it.

Every single performer brought their A game and then some. Michael Menert Big Band was so new and the Bloom family noticed. Menert plays with passion and it appears every time he gets on stage. Being a Colorado native, and playing in front of the home crowd would be nothing but a special moment and I was lucky enough to capture that on film. Another funky artist we had the pleasure of seeing, was the craziest man in a onesie, the ever so funky, Polish Ambassador. This guy’s sets never get old and are always a blast to be apart of. With so much talent on one bill, it makes it extremely difficult to write about every artist and what they brought to the table. So to sum it all up for you readers out there and festival goers everywhere, Sonic Bloom has, and always will have an amazing lineup with only the best talent, all while keeping it out of the mainstream light and still offering that small festival vibe.

Live painting graced the land.

Live painting graced the land.

With that being said, the Silent Frisco was my favorite part of the festival. The musicians that played there had some of the funnest and funniest music I’ve ever heard, and turning those headphones off was a whole new reason to laugh. Without your headphones, all you could hear was people singing, laughing and the sound of dancing feet. My buddy, Mikey Thunder and friends Motion Potion, Mancub, Pumpkin and more, kept those beats playing until the early morning, when we were able to see the most fantastic sunrises ever.

Another huge perk of Sonic Bloom is the amazing production work that goes into creating their various stages. The CO Dome was heaven for the senses blasting sounds from one of the best Function One set ups Colorado has ever seen. So good you can dance with the speakers, but you should still wear ear plugs to be safe. This stage was host to many genres of music and provided something for everyone in attendance. Acts like Michael Menert, the Desert Dwellers, Paul Basic, Birds of Paradise, and Plantrae were a few of the very talented artists that played at this wonderful stage.

Magic in the sky; aerialist during Ott.

Magic in the sky; aerialist during Ott.

The Hummingbird stage was put together amazingly and offered a great intimate feel to dance to. This was the smallest stage of them all and was a nice place to retreat and take a moment to catch your breath, all while hearing top tracks from The Human Experience, Krooked Drivers, Skytree, and Prophet Massive, to name a few.

The Bloom Stage (main stage) had the best backdrop ever- with the mountains towering behind the scene- and a sound system that only a few can say they’ve ever heard. When the sun went down, the skies turned bright orange and gave us a natural show of beauty. Quantic, Benji Vaughan, and Break Science were a few acts that played during those emotional sunsets. I simply can’t get over the colors of the sky that we were so lucky to see that weekend. The sounds, to the stage production were nothing but the best and we had so much room to dance our hearts away. I can’t forget to mention once again that Tipper was absolutely insane to the fullest- and best- extent of the word.  Along with OTT and the Sonic Bloom Orchestra closing out the main stage, I would have to say the production team outdid themselves with the Bloom Stage.

Tapping in so to tap out -into sound- later

Tapping in so to tap out -into sound- later.

The Lotus Temple was perfect for an escape and a place of rest for many. At times, it reminded me of being home on the playa at Burning Man which is always special, but it still had its own identity. This was the spot where morning yoga was performed along with workshops from people like Ayla Nereo (Singing Life: Finding Your Voice), and Deb Rubin (Tribal Fusion Belly Dancing), (I did not partake in this particular activity- maybe next year!). Teachers from all over the country came to Bloom this year to spread light and positivity on all of us. This was a treat to have at Bloom this year and the family seemed to enjoy what was offered; a lot of us participated which was great. I personally did yoga in the mornings to stretch my legs and body from countless hours of dancing. It was nice to rest at the Lotus Temple because it was a place of peace and open arms from many. You could crawl into each dome and see something new and make even more friends every time you went. The Lotus Temple was a great touch to this years Bloom.  Not to mention the hand-woven 70’ dreamcatcher in the middle of it all.

Backdrop perfection

Backdrop perfection.

As the festivities went on, the skies shined with stars that got brighter each passing night, and when those stars started to disappear a new light came over the horizon. With a magnificent display of pinks and reds the sky was lit in a way I’ve never seen before.  Sunday morning was emotionally one of the best moments of my entire life. With killer tracks from Mancub and Motion Potion, the music was so fitting for the moment. And who could possibly ever go wrong with hearing the Talking Heads “This must be the place” during the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen in my 24 years of life? People were crying and hugging, just appreciating what we were witness to. The mountains can change you and show you things that you don’t see in the “real” world. To see that scene with all those friends around me is something I’ll always remember.  Just writing about it brings tears of joy to my eyes as I think back on a memory that will be with me for life.

Beautiful skies all weekend. MELT!

Beautiful skies all weekend. MELT!

Sonic Bloom 2014 really hit the spot, and felt like home even though it was in a new location. As the weekend progressed and I talked to more people who have been to Shadow’s Ranch and the original spot in Mishawaka, questions had to be asked on what they thought of our new spot at American Safari Ranch. There were a lot of mixed feelings about not having trees, a pond and river anymore and that the new location might be too big for a festival that a lot of people want to keep small. I completely understand where they were coming from, since I went to the final year at Shadow’s Ranch last year. This new location, however, is stunning and gives off a totally different energy than last year.  Growth gives more opportunity to grow our community. We all want the same thing in keeping Bloom special and some of us may be scared of change- which is natural. Sonic Bloom is what we make of it. It’s up to the veteran Bloomers to take control and educate the new comers to ensure we keep this festival clean and majestic. To teach new faces to uphold the respect for our fellow festival goers and to make sure we all have a wonderful, magical, unforgettable time.

This festival has so much to offer and I truly believe it can get even better. Our scenery was unbelievable, the people oh-so-beautiful, and the music was the kind that keeps your feet moving until the sun comes up and the bacon starts frying.  If you missed Sonic Bloom this year, you won’t want to be in the sidelines again next year! It’s our community so lets make great things happen. This was a life changer so let’s keep it special for years to come.  Many thanks to everyone who helped create such a magical place for us to call home this year.

 

530551_10201756015520082_533777691_n < This piece was written by Shaun Kukla.

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