Sonic Bloom 2011: 3 Days of Enlightenment and Insanity

As we walk through the gates, the familiar scents of sage and Nag Champa fill the air.  Dreadlocked hippies and neon-clad hipsters mingle amongst other concert-goers sporting elven and animal inspired garb.   The crisp Colorado mountain air fills with cottonwood and as we start to soak it all in we realize... this is going to be pure insanity.  Welcome to Sonic Bloom.

We familiarize ourselves with the venue and at 4:20PM, we gather with everyone at The Main Stage for the opening ceremony.  The vibe is unlike those of many other large music events.  Adam Apollo sets the tone stating that the ceremony "will help everyone to know why we're here and what we're doing through the magic of this creation process."  We stand in a giant circle, calling in our awareness of present moment, the spirits of the east, south, west, north, sky and earth.  All are cleansed with sage and as a group, we raise the frequency of our collective consciousness.  Energy fills the air and the music begins.

The bass vibrations from the Funktion One sound system are almost otherworldly.  This sound system is designed to move you.  In fact, we were told of rumors that when standing directly in the middle of the quadrophonic array, the sound waves can potentially enter the body in a way that induces uhhhmmm... pleasure.  Could it just be a fantastic marketing claim?  Maybe, but this guy sure seemed to enjoy it.

The COdome at night

As darkness falls, Sonic Bloom lights up and the world is once again transformed.  The Main Stage dazzles the eyes as the 3D LED array behind the performers explodes to the beat of the music and mesmerizing images are projected on either side of the stage.  The COdome becomes a magical orb of neon light, lasers and chest-thumping bass.  Walkways and campground take on the ambient glow from various lights placed around the venue.  The line between performers and audience members begins to blur as the glow sticks, LED lit hula hoops and other eye-teasing playthings emerge.

Musical styles range from ambient trance-style trip-hop to energetic melt-your-face bass music.  It's awesome to watch each producer guide his or her audience through the peaks, valleys and waves of their set; gradually coaxing those who were willing to melt into the music and become one with the moment.  For those seeking solitude from the musical intensity, there are a variety of options... meditation pedestals, The Chill Zone (a cushy-floored relaxation dome) or The Unitea Gazebo.

Campground abduction in progress?

The music rages on into the early morning and once we retire to our van in the parking lot a new perspective of the music emerges: sound waves are thrown from hundreds of yards away and would rattle the van and our brains.  With certain notes, we could actually sense the wave coming before it hit.  Quite amazing really.

At Sonic Bloom, daytime is a unique experience as well.  As we walk through the venue, the vibe is quite chill.  Yoga, stretching, meditation, relaxation, discussion and belly dancing become prevalent.  Everybody seems to be reflecting and bringing themselves to center in preparation for the music to come.    Workshops range from hoop-yoga fusion to alchemy to discussions of neuroscience and transitions of humanity.

Josh sporting the official encanti diaper

All the people we met at Sonic Bloom were truly interesting.  We met the girls behind The Hooping Life, an in-progress documentary that delves into the fascinating and varying culture of hula-hooping.  We spent some time chatting with Liam and Sheridan of Perileyes, who won their performing spot through an online voting contest at TheUntz.com.  In order to make it to Sonic Bloom, they had to travel for 24 hours straight... and it sounded like it was totally worth the effort.  We spoke with Boston's own encanti, whose ability to command the energy and attention of those was unreal.  He told us:  "I don't really remember much it [his set].  I just get into the music and feel every note.  I just pull it from within and it grows like a weed." Funny... that same thing may be said for many of those in attendance at Sonic Bloom.

As Sonic Bloom closes out and experience comes to an end, the insanity of it all leaves us with a final indelible thought:  The world is full of unique and interesting people with unique and varying tastes for music, dress, thought and being.  It's the one thing that both separates us and brings us together.  Experiences like Sonic Bloom remind us how vast those differences are and how important it is to truly love oneself and to feel free to express that at all times.  We hope that as we continue our travels, we can remember this thought and share ourselves freely along the way.

Thank you, Sonic Bloom, for an undeniably unique experience.

WAIT!  Want more Sonic Bloom?  Check out our pictures HERE and don't worry, we put together a video of our highlights as well:

Filmed withBuy GoPro HERO Camera at GoPro.com
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