As we reminisce on the memories created at Sonic Bloom last month, we invite you to read about the experience of MHSM Writer, Carly Bader, and an inside look at the press conference held for artists, media personnel, and panel speakers.
It is incredibly difficult to write into so few words about such a grandiose event. But here I am again with my
Media pass on, waiting for a surprise variety panel of artists to show up; a secret set of sorts for media to dive
deeper. To our excitement, show up they did, all weekend, to speak at midday press conferences, to dance on
podiums aside the stage, and to DJ in domes surrounded by 360 degrees of speakers at 3:59am.
Godlazer, a “Colorado native with a Red Rocks dream”, shows up first and is front and center of the panel. He
speaks with confidence and grace to a crowd of eager ears. He explained how he’s always been an “artist” but
was honored to be on the other side of the table. That’s the thing about these festivals, they are alive and ever
changing, and so are we. Everyone has come up. The panel jokes that even with the erratic weather trying to
keep them down, canceling sets and swapping times, each year they come back to Bloom and maybe move “up”
a stage. Here at Sonic Bloom involvement is everything. Everyone feels as if they have a niche in creating the
event, and all types of artists are welcome.
They speak of their experience and there is 20+ years on the panel instantly. “This is my 2nd year playing”, “my
6th year performing”. Many artists proclaim that this event “changed me as an artist”. Many of us have looked
up to these people and now feel as if they are one. This community is one of acceptance and inclusion. They
even thanked us as media for spreading the “word”! At Sonic Bloom interaction with the audience is a huge part
of the experience as we become a family over the 5 day festival, many staying much longer to set up and/or
break down the community we create. My neighbor came to Hummingbird Ranch as a live performer and
danced a few sets per day. She brought beautiful wings to Emancipators set and wowed us all, and we made her
banana pancakes the next morning, that wowed my neighbors. I am a festival mom above all, this being my 5th
year at Bloom.
As I sit listening to the panel, I see a group of people running through the fields to hug one another, and I
experience a family reunion that touches the heart in a different way. Many “festie fams” haven’t seen each
other since last “season”. My friend Josh found my camp by literally walking up the mountain and screaming
my name. These are the kind of families that come from far and wide. As I scan the license plates walking
through car camping they easily span across the country. In the media area there is a publication all the way
from Florida. Ironically, the first day the panel is all proudly from Colorado, a place where they collectively
believes is the place for “collaboration over competition”.
The panel believes that this place, this festival, is one of progressive living, created by people that want to learn,
and led by the infamous Jamie Janover. They all dig deep into the music, their passions, and into their lives.
They shoutout VibeSquaD and his very special and very memorable birthday keyboard set, and all the
inspiration he’s showered the community with. The collective feeling that we can’t shake the need for music
brings us together. As we are all drawn to it, we are drawn to Colorado and Sonic Bloom year after year. It’s as
if it almost becomes your “new normal”. As they describe their individual inspirations, you get the feeling that
these influencers don’t let each other give up, and only push the limits of what we thought was possible.
As they reminisce over their favorite moments, all of us in media just sit and stare with wonder and awe like
children hearing their grandfather talk about the his first time listening to Dark Side of the Moon backwards.
Godlazer remembers opening for Desert Dwellers and Liquid Stranger last year (one of my all time favorite sets
to relisten to) knowing he had to “bring the heat”. Many of the dancers on the panel vividly describe memories
that include Shpongle and his infamous DMT track, both at Bloom and at his final show at Red Rocks.
Of The Trees comedically mentioned the smell of “moth balls” at the end of a unique set during the first night
of music and he wasn’t lying. Later that night he played a surprise set with Yheti at the yoga dome. This is
what we live for as we walk thru the forests. The secrets hidden in the trees. And this year it was the surround
sound at the yoga dome that drew the crowds looking for late night bass. People are still talking about Lucid
Vision putting in work on stage while others were doing yoga.
Godlazer talks about his first album being Rage Against the Machine and how in his earlier days he considered
himself a DJ for metal bands. He was in fact in a Nordic metal band at one time, and went to CU for
astrophysics. A man of many talents who at one time was clearing whole rooms when he got on stage now has
crowds that come from far and wide to see him live. Sonic Bloom is a place where you leave judgments at the
door and just get down.
The second panel includes Megan Hamilton, and I embody the ideal of a “fan girl moment”, squeal, and attempt
to return to my professional self. She’s the first on the panel not from Colorado. She affirms Montana has its
fair share of mountains and that she feels at home at Hummingbird Ranch, and comes to visit and play Colorado
often. This year she played the Hummingbird stage. It’s one of my favorites as it is tucked into the densest of
many art spaces spread throughout the festival. She proclaims that “Female is not a genre”, statistically
speaking, and that her passion is to nerd out with her art. She is no damsel in distress. Hell, she even does all her
own artwork. Her mixes with Defunk are some of my favorites. She slips in that she and Maddy O’Neal will be
starting a house duo, but not to tell anyone. I squeal once more and announce that we are not the correct
audience for secrets. I’ve got too many friends here at MHSM!
Michael Travis the drummer from String Cheese Incident and EOTO talks about the elusive Sonic Bloom
Orchestra. For those who weather the weekend, this is not to be missed. It is a 100% original and improvised set
on Sunday night. Luke the Knife of Lotus announces his secret VIP set and excitement for being included in
such a beautiful event. As it is his first time here he describes Bloom as a safe place to “get weird”.
One of the visual artists on the panel, Sam Stevens, set up an incredible “digital dome” bubble projection
mapping installation. He mentions his “other project”, a virtual reality experience for patients in the hospital to
ease their procedures, and my mind is blown with possibilities. Wouldn’t you love to travel to a beautiful
waterfall, or hell, relive Sonic Bloom 2019, while getting your appendix out. There was also a VR installation,
decked out with a full DJ booth setup in the middle, for people to interact with while listening.
Flower walks by the creek with the permaculture group during the day, and giant pendulum orchid flowers that
spews flames during the night, bring people from various realms together like literal moths to a flame. It is a
place to let your freak flag fly, without having to worry about flags blocking your view of the stage. When
everyone feels a part of the experience, an experience we all shall have.
Personal thanks to all the panelist that came to share with us, and to all of those that have shared this beautiful
experience with me for 5 years now. – Carly Bader – MHSM Writer