Now in it’s fifth year, the Arise festival isn’t like other summer blowouts across the US. Sure, there are enough bands lined up to keep the 8 stages across a giant swath of Sunshine Ranch – 350-acre organic farm and retreat center just west of Loveland – busy from lunch until sunrise over all three days. And, yeah, there are campgrounds: VIP, car camping, and just straight-up outdoor villages. And – depending on the rain forecast – chances are pretty good that there’ll be mud. Lots and lots of mud.
But it’s also a lot more than all that Coachella, Bumbershoot, Lolapalooza madness. Arise, taking place this coming Friday, August 4, through Sunday, August 6, is also yoga classes, workshops, panel discussions and provocative documentaries, art, live painters and galleries, theme camps, and performance artists. There are also “interactive villages” such as the Food Truck Village, Children’s Village, Hemp Village, Vending Village, Solutions Village, and the Wisdom Village, filled with social justice solutions and ecological as well as live demonstrations showing how to make our world better – a perfect match for Naropa.
In fact, Naropa and the Arise Festival have partnered up this year to take advantage of their similarities in mission, vision, and audience, and Naropa’s hosting and monitoring a panel on Saturday, August 5, entitled “Right Livelihood: Living & Working Mindfully After the Festival Ends.” The topic focuses on the Buddhist precept of right livelihood and features hand-picked panelists, Lauren Ciovacco (Living Well Transitions), Daniel Jubelirer (Earth Guardians), Brigitte Mars (Herbalist & Nutritional Consultant of Natural Health), and Neil Sullivan (from the band Intuit), and will be moderated by Regina Smith (Director of the Office for Inclusive Community at Naropa).
Above all, though, Arise is about music and its power to create community – and this year is no exception. With a three-day lineup featuring over 60 bands, 18 superstar yoga teachers, presentations, panels, and food, drink, and so many other activities, it’s unlikely anyone there won’t have some sort of life-changing experience. We went through the lineup and hand-picked a few bands that stand out for us, to help you make some easier decisions. Read on to see our faves (in no particular order), and to listen to some of their jams:
Feminist, punk rocker, folk artist, and instigator, Ani DiFranco really is the godmother of the global DIY movement that drives so much music and art today. You could say, if it weren’t for her, many of the DJs and producers dotting the Arise landscape this weekend might not be here – after recording their entire records in their bedrooms. Here’s a smooth oldie from DiFranco, circa 2003:
Arja Adair, otherwise known as Bass Physics, produces soulful electronic beats and music alongside live guitar and keys. His stated purpose is to spread positive vibes with music, and he wants nothing but to increase the theta-state around him. Here’s a soothing sample:
The Copper Children
Straight out of Denver’s thriving scene, The Copper Children mix a peculiar folk/soul concoction, but one that’s creative and tasty, while they pour on the gratitude for the beautiful, peaceful world in which we live. Listen for yourself:
They call it “Dream Rock,” this blend of classic rock and dance this trio from Boulder perform. Evanoff find a way to fit into growing EDM and rock scenes with these instrumental beauties. Take a sample:
In addition to sporting a truly clever name (at least for the Arise crowd), Skydyed are pretty sick. This trio from Fort Collins mixes live guitars, drums, and keys with solid EDM-style chill beats to make a sort of roots-dance combo that pleases. Have a drag:
Hate to say it, but Templo is typical EDM–except when he’s brilliant and explosively different (which is pretty much always). This Denver-based producer plays a downtempo brand of chillwave that’s intoxication, and addictive. Take a hit:
Ambient artists Yaima are consummate experts at intelligent, spacey, psychedelic soundscapes that lift you up and out of the crowd, sending you like astral projection across the universe. And then they bring you back, gently, smoothly, into your real world. Here’s a slice: