ARISE Music Festival August 5-7th 2016
Colorado was lucky enough to welcome back the fourth annual ARISE Music Festival this past weekend. Just a beautiful 20-minute drive from Fort Collins, the festival was held on Sunrise Ranch in Loveland. Nestled in the vibrant foothills along the Front Range Mountains, there couldn’t have been a more perfect location for an event so life changing and universal. The immense impact ARISE had on not only the individuals who attended, but the entire world around us is incredible. This event is so positive in so many different ways that it’s truly mind boggling, so I will try and break it down for you all as best as I can.
To start, the musical lineup was OUT OF THIS WORLD. With seven different stages, and over a dozen different genres being displayed, how can you really go wrong? Once again, ARISE hosted an A+ reggae lineup which featured Ziggy Marley holding a weed plant high on the main stage which was handed to him by a fan, Fortunate Youth in the intimate Starwater stage (admittedly my favorite set of the weekend), and another one of California’s own, The Expanders. If reggae isn’t your thing, no need to worry because Arise has you covered.
Area 51 presented by Untz.com was their own electronic stage with top-level acts, sound, and production. Some highlights on this stage for me included a Saturday night set by Phutureprimitive, seeing bodies move like I have never seen before (including my own) at Govinda’s performance (which also included violin and live performers), as well as the energetic and jazzy electronic show put on by SoDown. The bluegrass, hip-hop, and folk side of music was certainly not lacking either, with notable shows from Jurassic 5, Papadosio, Wildlight, The New Mastersounds, Del the Funky Homosapien, Elephant Revival, and two different sets by the sister-duo Rising Appalachia. With this combination of incredible music at one festival, it was also great to see all the different musicians collaborate on stage.
With a weekend filled with such powerful music, I must give my hat off to the people of Arise for gifting us with such beautiful sounds. It would be simply impossible, though, not to loudly point out everything else this gathering had to offer. I’ll first mention just how considerate and passionate the community here is. It could have been someone sharing their food with someone else in the campgrounds, or an amazingly talented artist (DELA, Elizabeth Banker, & Benedigital to name a few) setting up shop near a stage for us to watch them live paint and create and absolute masterpiece. Every single individual at this festival had something powerful to offer; whether it be one of the many vendors lining the festival grounds, like the creative collective Eden, or just a random stranger sporting one of the contagious smiles that floated around the hills, everyone felt the love and camaraderie.
Although I didn’t engulf myself in one of the many yoga sessions they had to offer, a new friend told me a story that had me motivated to attend some yoga classes next year. Earlier in the morning he had attended laughing yoga led by Jen Lennon, he said he had felt a little self conscious and weary about attending this class, but his camping neighbors had convinced him otherwise. He ended up having “the best time of my life.”
This festival not only guides you to step out of your comfort zone, but also helps you transform and arise into an individual so powerful and unique that you feel the change even before you leave the ranch. The NoCo Hemp Village offered enlightening insight and products on the usefulness of hemp, and even encouraged you to spread the word and fight to make hemp federally legal. There were multiple people walking proudly around the festival urging people to sign anti fracking petitions and join in on the movement. There were tents dedicated to workshops and talks that focused on topics such as “Intro to Non-Violent Direct Action – Razz Gormley” and “Zero Waste: Co-Creating Solutions for a “Thriveable” Earth – Elena Parthemer & Maria Torres.”
If you have any love for yourself, the people around you, or the planet we live on, ARISE is the place for you. Even if you don’t, or you are struggling to find your place in life, finding it hard to discover your motivation and passion, or you just want to educate yourself more on a type of activism that interests you, please, give yourself a chance and make your way to next years Arise Music Festival. I promise you, ARISE is so much more than just a music festival, it is an immersive, psychedelic, live journey that has the ability to transform you into something or someone you have always wanted to be. ARISE has the fighting chance to save the world.
Written by: Cullen Lobe
Photographs by: Melanie Gordon