Sonic Bloom falls on the summer solstice every year. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the changing of the seasons and finding your bliss through music, nature, and art. While the biggest draw for your average festival is the list of obvious headliners, it is quite the opposite at this festival. Sonic Bloom, at least for me, is all about the local musical community. It’s a time for all of the local tastemakers of Colorado to come together, lift each other up, and make each other’s dreams come true. Sonic Bloom is truly a place that highlights the best of what up and coming Colorado musicians have to offer.
That being said, this year’s musical lineup as a whole was completely stacked. As a festival with primarily electronic roots, this year had great variety and complexity in the genre department. From Dirtwire to Claude Vonstroke, and TAUK to The Floozies, there was a great blend of acoustic, electronic, and everything in between. You could be getting spiritual at a Random Rab set one minute, and then letting your freak flag fly a minute later at Space Jesus. The highly anticipated “Gigantic Cheese Biscuits” set did not disappoint, but I have to say that our favorite sets included Papadosio (who hadn’t played Sonic Bloom since 2012) and Ott., who was on the bill last year but unfortunately had to cancel due to personal matters.
Papadosio was particularly exciting because three out out the five band members caught a gnarly virus at Mad Tea Party Jam in Pennsylvania earlier in the weekend, and so by Sunday morning there were rumors all over the festival saying that the band wouldn’t make it in time for their set. Not only did the boys manage to make it to Colorado despite their unfortunate health situation, they also played an amazing set of old school jams, leaving every person in the audience with a smile from ear to ear. There were a lot of people at Sonic Bloom for the sole purpose of catching Papadosio’s set, so you can imagine how happy everyone was that the band was tough enough to make it happen.
Ott’s performance was incredible. He dropped lots of tracks off his most recent album “Fairchildren” and everything from the lights to the production made for an exquisitely psychedelic experience. I love the way that Ott’s music affects an audience. The worldly nuances backed by an infectious reggae bass line hits you with an involuntary urge to let loose and get down with everyone around you.
A couple other musical highlights included: Maddy O’Neal, the badass leading lady of Colorado’s electronic music scene. This was her first year performing at Sonic Bloom as a solo artist, and her fans came out by the numbers to show their support. Maddy dropped some heaters from her new EP “Parallels,” and her set as a whole truly set the tone for a wild Saturday night. Whitebear, an Australian producer who Colorado kids go crazy for, got to play the infamous sunrise set on Friday night (Saturday morning), which was such a treat after two years of no late night music due to ordinance issues. Those who were still awake got really weird to his primal beats, and it was the ideal downtempo vibe to end another perfect night.
Templo, is one of Colorado’s most promising artists on the come up, and watching his Sonic Bloom sets grow bigger and bigger every year is exactly what I mean when I say that this is a place for the local talent to really be given a chance to shine. His sets get better literally every time I see him, and he has a ambient, yet bubbly downtempo style that is 100% his own. If you haven’t heard the name Templo before, trust me you will.
One of the greatest highlights was Kevin Donohue (of Sunsquabi) sitting in with a very cheesey Everyone Orchestra. Getting to see Kevin play sandwiched in between multiple members of String Cheese Incident gave us goosebumps because we’ve been watching Sunsquabi slowly dominate the Denver music scene for 5 years now, and you could tell by the look on his face what an extremely exciting honor it was. Something tells us that won’t be the last time they share the stage together.
Sonic Bloomers were definitely blessed by the weather Gods this weekend. With back to back weeks of almost unbearable heat, our weekend was somehow accompanied by the perfect amount of breeze and clouds, making the long solstice days so much more bearable (not to mention it made sleeping a whole lot easier)..
There were also plenty of classes and workshops to keep people busy, such as a yoga infused slack lining class, permaculture classes, belly dancing, meditation, and acroyoga. I was happy to lose the silent disco and instead have the option to hear live music until six in the morning. It’s all about getting weird during those sunrise sets…if you can make it that long.
This festival never disappoints. If you’re ever looking for a place to be yourself, make some friends, and lose your mind (just a little), Sonic Bloom and The Unified Field is the place for you. We’re already counting down the days until next year.