What I learned on the road at Sonic Bloom
Billi Jo Hart
Community, creativity and interconnectivity were key points at Rye, Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Music Festival, a cozy four-day music and art event nestled at the foot of the mountains from June 18-21.
The 16 hour drive from Champaign, Illinois and an additional three hour wait in line had me tired, but the scenic landscape and excitement of fellow attendees kept me occupied and in good spirits. When I finally made it into the campground, I fought against the wind and heavy rain to get my campsite erected before making my way toward the concert area and enjoying the rest of the night.
My initial impression of the venue was positive: The entryway marking the festival was large and welcoming, an already impressive piece of art to go along with all of the other installations I expected to see while inside.
During a press conference Friday afternoon, the media had the chance to talk with some of the musicians playing at Sonic Bloom. When asked about why this festival was so special, the common answer was that this festival really gave a chance for all levels of artists and musicians to shine, from local, smaller names to larger, more widely known acts.
From my own view, I found that this festival had a good disbursement of people at all stages throughout the day. Loyal friends and fans of local acts rushed to the smaller stages and danced just as hard as fans of more well-known sets, which created a rather supportive and laid-back atmosphere.
Electronic artist, producer, singer and DJ ill-esha remarked that this festival in particular was especially fun for the musicians because it gave them a positive atmosphere to experiment and try new things.
“Sonic Bloom is a musical equivalent of “letting it all out,” ill-esha commented. “It’s like I can put on my musical sweatpants and just have a good time.”
The support extended beyond just the musicians. Artists, teachers and performers were also given open space to create, and the smaller size of the festival venue cultivated a tight web of creativity allowing everyone to express themselves and draw inspiration from each other.
Despite some conflicting scheduled bands and musicians, I was able to make it to all the acts I wanted to see due to the short walking distance between stages. During those walks, the woods and pathways were lined with handmade art, vendor tents and workshop stages that kept my eyes occupied the whole time.
Beyond the music, I found that the community atmosphere was incredibly strong at this festival. It’s not uncommon at a music festival or similar events for strangers to interact much more frequently and openly than they do in everyday life, but it seemed as though this festival attracted a group of people that wanted to go above and beyond to create a good time for everybody.
At one point, I had taken a nap in the shade to combat the 100 degree temperatures that Sunday brought, and woke up to find that my trash next to me had already been thrown away by a passerby. This type of genuine desire to help and keep the venue beautiful was displayed all weekend, and it was hard not to go along with it and pass on the favor myself.
“It’s just as much about the conversation with the person next to you as it is about the show,” Colorado local Chris Jonke reflected of the vibe at Sonic Bloom. “I think that is so beautiful.”
The overall relaxed feeling of the festival really enabled me to feel right at home despite being nearly 16 hours away. The event was patrolled by security and police officers, and there was a medical tent at the entrance with responders on stand-by, but over the four days I didn’t see any huge issues arise.
During the late mornings and early afternoons when it was too hot to walk back and forth between stages, or even just sit in the shade, many attendees made their way to the creek that was running down from the mountain just behind the venue. The area was marked off as “Artists Only,” but I think there was an unspoken agreement, or just an overall lack of enforcement, making it okay to cross that line and wade into the icy calf-deep water.
I spent my afternoons rock balancing with new friends I made, a practice that involves choosing different sized rocks and stacking them on top of each other. When I first heard about it, I thought it seemed fairly simple and potentially even boring, but the complex and gravity-defying stacks I saw throughout the festival changed my perception of it completely. I began to find it a calm and enjoyable meditative experience that I was able to share with the people around me.
Champaign-Urbana local artist Joanna Krueger attended the event with friends who brought art to help decorate the venue. Once there, Krueger felt comfortable enough to begin what she called “guerilla painting”- setting up her easel and paints alongside the other artists who were given permission from Sonic Bloom to work on their art.
“I wanted to keep the flow of creation going. Since I had all my gear on me, I went for it,” Krueger explained, “It seemed that at the end of the day, inclusivity was more important to everyone than any sort of title that could be granted to the various artists at the event.”
Sonic Bloom Founder Jamie Janover’s research in the Unified Field Theory, or the theory that everything in the universe is interconnected, was brought to light during this festival and really proved itself to me by the way the event was set up. I’ve come back feeling refreshed, fulfilled, and incredibly excited to bring a little bit of Bloom back to my hometown and family.
If you would like to find out more about Sonic Bloom Music Festival, please visit Sonic Bloom Music Festival.
To view more photos of Sonic Bloom Music Festival, please visit Adventure Hart.