ARISE Music Festival review by Eloise Ryser
Colorado is a state known for its mountains, legal marijuana, and craft breweries, but what most people forget to mention are the diverse musical tastes of the people who live here. Denver could very well have the highest concentration of bluegrass loving dubstep fans in the country. ARISE, a three day camping music festival, manages to capture all of the best parts of Colorado’s diverse tastes, and combine them into one immense and joyful experience for pretty much everyone. For the past 5 years, ARISE has brought in high quality artists, musicians, and vendors to conglomerate into the perfect mix of music festival and family event. This is by no means an easy feat, however with each year, the festival organizers have managed to nurture the festival into an increasingly popular spectacle, bringing in bigger names for the lineup, and increasing turnout from 5,000 in 2016 to somewhere around 9,000 people this year. From the eyes of a first timer, here are a few of the reasons why I loved ARISE.
| “The range of activities and entertainment that ARISE provides each year is impressive in its breadth, as well as quality.” |
One of the coolest things about ARISE is the location which is situated roughly an hour away from Denver at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. The festival grounds cover a sweeping pasture surrounded by mountains and a lake (which you cannot swim in, I hear). Inside the venue there were lots of sculptures and exhibits to go look at. The range of activities and entertainment that ARISE provides each year is impressive in its breadth, as well as quality. From yoga and slack lining, to the children’s village, which is an activities area specially designed to inspire the next generation to be even cooler than the rest of us, there really is something for everyone to be engaged with, even during the day. There were lots of little exhibits scattered around the venue to go look at and participate in. For instance, there was a giant light-up tree sculpture with willow boughs made of fleece that people could walk through, and a special circle where people could experiment with different sound frequencies with corresponding LED displays.
As I mentioned earlier, Colorado’s music preference varies widely, and the ARISE lineup catered to a range of different tastes with the likes of Rising Appalachia, Tipper, Atmosphere, and Lettuce.
On Friday night, the most notable set belonged to Atmosphere, who stole the show with a healthy mix of old and new songs, all performed with his usual impeccable articulation and production. Brother Ali had a set preceding his, and it was pretty cool to see both of them perform on the same stage in close succession. Together, they set the tone for the next three days to be emphatically meaningful and fun.
I was really impressed with Beats Antique who played on Saturday night. In the past, I have only seen their Creature Carnival tour, which served to impress and amaze, and also gave me nightmares. The set they played at ARISE, however, was way different than I expected it would be. They showed up with an awesome and funky set, complete with Zoe Jake’s usual dazzling performance and world music-inspired beats. Saturday night was also the night of the much anticipated Tipper and Android Jones show, which certainly did not disappoint. The visuals and music were perfectly synched and Tipper made sure to end the night with one of his better uptempo sets. Tipper remains one of the more distinctive electronic artists out there, and it is clear that he spends a huge amount of energy preparing for his performances, especially in conjunction with a world class visual artist like Android Jones. Regardless of your taste in music, watching a Tipper set will leave a lasting impression in pretty much anyone’s mind.
The Vibes, The People
| “ARISE is an event full of fun, friendly people looking to have a memorable experience together, which makes it a festival that nobody should miss.” |
The one thing that I was most skeptical about when going to ARISE was the fact that it is an all ages event. However, the festival organizers did a great job of balancing family friendly activities with music festival shenanigans. This balance really serves to give people more options and also to temper the outrageousness that tends to take place at more traditional music festivals. Granted, I did see a few spunions, but my overwhelming impression of ARISE was that it is a more laid back experience. I saw people meditating inside the venue and even sitting down in the crowds in front of the main stage during headliner acts. All of my neighbors in the campground were generous with their tequila and genuinely happy to be spending their weekend in a damp field of cacti. Ultimately, a festival lineup can only bring so much to the experience, and the rest is in the hands of the people that show up. ARISE is an event full of fun, friendly people looking to have a memorable experience together, which makes it a festival that nobody should miss.
This is the perfect festival for anyone that likes a wide range of music, delicious food, and great people. ARISE is definitely one of Colorado’s best outdoor music experiences and it has earned every bit of hype it has received!