Not far from beautiful Durango, CO is a small mountain town Hesperus, home to the venue Talking Rocks. The vibrational energy is increasing as MHSM has been a part of a growing event called One Vibration Music Festival, and now with our own showcase and more artists than ever before, the 3rd annual event should be the best yet! With crowd (and personal) favorites like Templo and Dirtwire along with MHSM artists Unlimited Gravity, Project Aspect, Homemade Spaceship, FunkStatik, Kruza Kid, Melody Lines and many more, this festival is going to be one to remember.
We were able to get in touch with the man behind the curtain of this event, Festival Director Ryan Ehrig, and we asked him a few questions about the One Vibration Festival experience as well as some of his own. See below for our interview with Ryan.
INTERVIEW WITH FESTIVAL DIRECTOR, RYAN EHRIG
Where/when was this festival envisioned?
Throwing festivals has been my dream since I first went to one in 2014. Lying underneath a tree between two stages, I knew I wanted to do something to create more of that magical experience for people. But it wasn’t until August 2016, when a large group of local artists came together to create Ethereal Music Festival, that I was shown how possible it was to put together a festival in our area. That event only lasted one year, due to logistical complications, but it strengthened my working connection with the members of the local collective Summer Soundz, who later became founding members of Unify Mountain Soundz, as well as core members of the One Vibration team.
What was your first festival?
I mean, in a way I have two… My first festival experience was Extreme Thing 2014 in Las Vegas. I was in town with a bunch of my best friends from high school, and we decided to go check it out on our last day there. It was a day long, primarily heavy metal show, with a small electronic music stage, but it really blew me away. I had never been in such a plethora of live music and beautiful people enjoying themselves so freely! That day opened my mind to electronic music, and led me to purchase tickets to South Park Music Festival 2014 in Fairplay, CO, my first camping festival experience. It was a really intimidating experience, as all my travel buddies backed out and I went by myself! But with a lineup that included everything from rap to reggae to dubstep, I wasn’t gonna miss out. I had the best time being forced out of my comfort zone, meeting new people, and hearing amazing new music. Going to a festival alone is an experience I highly recommend everyone try at least once in their lifetime. It shows you the true beauty of our culture.
Why Talking Rocks in Hesperus, what makes the venue special?
Talking Rocks is a very magical place for us, for a lot of reasons. In our first year throwing One Vibration, we had our first venue back out three months before the event, with no backups to speak of. Naturally, we were in a bit of a panic, and went through several weeks of fruitless searching before we got in contact with Jake Collette, one of the venue owners, who told us of his and his partner, Josh Goldman’s, dreams of turning their property into a venue. When I first went out for a site visit, there was nothing but sagebrush and cactus, with barely any room for camping, let alone any stages. But, in the incredibly short time we had to work the property before the event, Jake spent days working with heavy machinery and teams of volunteers to clear out the camp spaces and stage areas, and they COMPLETELY transformed the property. Talking Rocks has amazing people standing behind it, and it shows in the way they are cultivating the venue more and more each year.
What can you tell us about the location and how do you think it will affect the festival as a whole?
Talking Rocks is a very remote high alpine desert, which is one of the reasons we love it so much. Being out there, you’re incredibly removed from the rush of civilization. Cell service is minimal, and we are at the end of a mostly unpopulated county road, so traffic is all but nonexistent. The venue is named Talking Rocks because when you’re out there, and you’re quiet enough, you can almost hear the rocks whispering to you. But since there’s no one out there, you can also get as loud as you want! However, the location is not without it challenges. Being on the “dry side” of La Plata County, dust can be an issue. This year, we are implementing heavier mitigation techniques than ever before, but still be sure to bring a dust mask. Another factor of the dust is the mud that comes with it. We are expecting an above-average dry spring, but if there are heavy rains during One Vibration, it will get pretty messy out there, so check the weather and plan accordingly. Fortunately the mud will dry just about as soon as the sun hits it, so the mess doesn’t last long.
Have you worked / are you working on any other projects?
One Vibration is just a facet of what my team and I do. Unify Mountain Soundz is our production company, which is really the heart of everything we’re doing. We own and operate a green Hennessey Sound Design system which we refer to as “The Green Dragon.” We have a deep passion for high-fidelity sound, which got started through One Vibration, and we love to share that passion with as many people that will listen. Additionally, the majority of the team are DJs and producers, so Unify is also working to become a platform for talented artists in the area to expand their horizons and share their music. We take a lot of our inspiration from the Mile High Sound Movement!
What does the festival name, “One Vibration”, mean?
One Vibration comes from my life’s motto and soul mission, which is: “We LOVE. We Live One Vibrational Energy. Because We HOPE. We Have Only Positive Expectations.” These words were shared with me at Ultimate Music Experience 2015, in South Padre Island, Texas, and they completely changed the way I look at the world. I began to view unity in a completely new way, which in turn sparked the drive that pulled One Vibration together. Since the beginning, this festival has all been about a community gathering together in LOVE.
When do you start planning the next year?
Earlier every year! As we grow in size and scope, my team and I are learning a lot about what it takes to get everything operating on schedule, all the promotional coordination and pre-parties, and as we’ve taken on more and more, we’re learning that it’s a LOT easier getting certain things sorted as far ahead of the event as possible. One Vibration 2017 was pulled together in about four or five months, which left us scrambling. For this year we began planning in October, which gave us significantly more time, but still not quite enough! So I expect we’ll be meeting to plan for One Vibration 2020 this July.
How many stages will there be set up?
We will have three main stages set up, all featuring a striking and unique audiovisual experience. To accommodate the upgrades we have been putting together for this year, both Mountain and Desert stages are being relocated slightly, and the Grove stage is being greatly expanded.
Can you reveal any info about the lights and sound?
Absolutely! Firstly, BRING EAR PLUGS!!! We will have free foam pairs available all weekend, but you’ll definitely be glad if you invest in pair of concert earplugs beforehand. We have amassed an offering of some of the best sound systems we could find, as well as some of the best sound technicians we know of, to really knock everyone’s socks off! Our New Mexico friends Digifunk have just upgraded their Funktion One rig to over four times the sound they’ve provided for us in the past! Their fresh stacks of Res 5s and 21” subwoofers are going to be absolutely menacing coupled with the impeccable lights and staging provided by Icon Entertainment and Coyote Prism. Heitened Sound out of Arizona will be bringing out their beautiful Danley system for the aural pleasure of the Sub.Mission stage, which will also feature a majestic projection-mapped pyramid, provided by Mega Vision out of Illinois. And finally, our piece de resistance will be the Mountain stage, which will feature the largest Hennessey Sound Design system assembled to date, with 18 Battleaxe subwoofers, 12 Cannon mid-bass kicks, and 12 MantArray tops. To make this possible, we’re bringing together rigs from Ronin Productions out of Illinois, Alethia Sound out of Texas, and, of course, our own rig from Durango, CO. On top of that, Sean Hennessey himself will be there to oversee the tuning of the rig, with world renowned sound technician Bill Weird coordinating the soundscape for the whole event. We’re incredibly excited to be bringing so many brilliant souls together for the love of sound .
How has the festival grown over the past years; and how many people are you expecting to attend in 2019?
The first year we held One Vibration, I doubt we had even 200 people there total. Our relocation issues got in the way of any real promotional efforts, so in the end it became more of a private party. Being our first time organizing a festival, it was a mess organizationally speaking, but we still managed to have a lot of fun! Fast forward to next year, with our ducks… not in a row, but at least in the same general area, One Vibration expanded massively, both in attendance and what we offered. We added a third stage, expanded our vendor offerings, transformed the grounds, and nearly tripled our attendance. This year, we are expecting close to 1000 people to join us at a Talking Rocks they never could have dreamed of from years past.
What kind of team does it take to put something this size together?
For us it’s less of a team and more of a family. We came together through throwing and attending small, free parties out in the woods near our little town. After the first One Vibration, things went from casual to professional really fast, and its required significant growth for every member of the team, which isn’t always easy. We’ve had to learn to adapt to sudden challenges on the fly, how to ask for help and know our personal limits, and how to set boundaries for yourself and others. None of our team at the beginning had much experience in this industry outside of setting up equipment, so it’s been a arduous process learning all the aspects involved in an event like this, and also delegating those aspects so you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s easy to get deadlines piling up, which can set you behind for weeks if you aren’t careful. One of the things I value most about my team is how willing everyone is to step up to the plate and take on jobs that aren’t necessarily theirs to make sure everything gets done on time, and done right. I can trust my team to make sure the show goes on, no matter what.
Other than music what will you be offering?
We will have a wide array of visual artists specializing in a variety of mediums spread across the grounds, with numerous live muralists. You can expect a lot more flow artists than any year prior, and we will even have some aerial silk performers. We will also be offering yoga, as well as a variety of other workshops on wire wrapping, flow arts, and even music production workshops from both ill.Gates and Mr. Bill! Also be sure to keep an eye out for any of Treenet Willy’s new creations this year, as he and his team have really gone above and beyond with their new arsenal of hippie holders.
What motivates you to keep putting on this festival?
The community. Every year the festival grows, I get to meet more people I don’t know that I love yet. And watch the growth of the ones I love already. This event has changed the lives of a lot of people for the better, mine especially. I grew up feeling very alone and outcast. The anger and misery that seems to permeate the world never made any sense to me, and I’ve finally found something I can do to actively fight against it. Being able to create a space where people feel free to express themselves in ways they’ve always wanted to, and remember the unbridled joy and freedom most of us have lost since childhood, means more to me than I can express. Because the community meets at One Vibration, but the energy they feel there stays with them. The Vibration Nation is full of people working to spread love and joy as far as they can, and I can think of no greater mission for myself than to foster more of that.
Who is your favorite artist on the lineup?
That’s a real tough one. This lineup is a collection of a bunch of my favorite artists! If I had to pick just one set I’m most excited for, it would have to be the Slugwife Takeover. I had the opportunity to go down to Deja Voom, and as much as I love Bassnectar, Slugwife SOLIDLY stole the show. Every set I saw from them, I danced until I was literally collapsing. But I’m really excited for Dirtwire as well, they pull on a lot of deep heartstrings with their unique brand of outlaw electric-bluegrass. And then Kruza Kid’s wild alien hip hop always takes me to a beach on the moon. There really isn’t a single set I’m not bouncing out of my chair with excitement to see.
Who would be your dream headliner?
Probably Slightly Stoopid. They know how to curate a vibe! Every time I’ve seen them I’ve left the show exhausted from dancing, laughing, crying, and singing. I primarily fill my life with electronic music, but I’ll always be a reggae head at heart. It’s the genre that I go to when I need a soul bath.
What has been you personal favorite show?
Lightning in a Bottle takes the cake for me thus far, for the same reason I love One Vibration so much, the community. LIB is actually one of my primary inspirations for One Vibe. Every year that I’ve been, I’ve been surrounded by the kindest neighbors, and learned multitudes about myself, all while surrounded by a vast and varied plethora of music and art. It has definitely been my favorite event so far in my life. However, I am only 23, so there are a lot of shows I have yet to experience!
Where do you see this festival in 2025?
I see it as an intimate, expansive experience where you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by caring people come together for the love of music. The lineup has a sprinkle of literally everything, so it’s impossible to go the weekend without hearing both one of your favorite artists, and a brand new artist you never would have heard anywhere else, all through the cleanest sound systems the world has to offer. I never want One Vibration to feel huge, I want the feeling of family that we have built throughout our past few years to continue on as long as this event keeps happening. There are plenty of other festivals with tens of thousands of attendees. I want to have one where you know just about as many people as you don’t
Anything else you’d like to say to all the fans reading this?
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. One Vibration is nothing without all you radiant souls who make this all possible and worthwhile. Our team loves you, and we can’t wait to see the Vibration Nation unite once again this May!!!