Festival Review: The Unified Field Exceeds All Expectations- Another Beautiful Year of Sonic Bloom

Sonic Bloom returned for their 3rd year at the Hummingbird Ranch, an incredible 12th year overall! The Unified Field was in full effect as people from all over the country came to celebrate and vibe to the music and arts, ranging from stage performance, stage visuals, live painting, photography, art installations, and many more unique concepts. Sonic Bloom truly held the bar high for transformational music and art festivals. Founded by Zilla; Jamie Janover, Aaron Holstein, and Michael Travis. Sonic Bloom has some of the best vibes with musicians that think outside of the box who can just jam on their instruments all day long. In an interview that we had with Jamie Janover, he described it as: “in a nut shell, The Unified Field, is a set of information that explains the entire universe. It shows how everything in the universe is a unified connected whole and the details surrounding how that work. It manifests itself into the festival where we are trying to unify the vibe of all the people that are participating, and that would include every single person. The idea is try to express as many forms of human creativity as possible, at the same time at the same place.” Sonic Bloom does just this. Coming from one of the Chronic Electronic co-founder’s (Tevin R) first Bloom experience, “Just don’t come to Sonic Bloom with expectations. Just don’t…every expectation that you have will be blown out of the water. I guarantee that.”

Arrive. Set Up. Blaze Down. Pure Relaxation

From the start, the drive to the location of the venue was just stunning. It was along the front range of the Rocky Mountains approximately 40 miles south of Pueblo, (apx. 150 Miles South of Denver.) With giant boulders jutting out of the mountain as the background, and the festival itself located on the Hummingbird Ranch, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful location in Colorado for a festival like this! The music grounds were set up with two stages by the entrance points with plenty of room for flow arts, yoga, sun tanning, relaxation, and of course, dancing. Hummingbird Stage was in the middle of the festival grounds, surrounded by scrub oak forest, which provides cover from the sun, room for hammocks, and art to be scattered throughout the forest allowing you to get lost in more ways than one.

Anywhere that you went in the Unified Field you were surrounded by beauty and art. Running practically at all hours from Thursday to late Sunday night, you could walk the grounds and discover music, unique art installations, be put in a trance by live painters, view the plethora of vendor options, and connect and interact with fellow Bloomers. The festival officially started Thursday but with Sonic Bloom offering the Sonic Bloom Academy, which presented classes and speeches that go deeper into creativity, spirituality, and well being. This event occurred three days prior to the actual festival. This option allowed for people to truly express the power of the Unified Field. When the festival actually kicked off and the grounds filled up, the party started to begin.

Thankfully Bradford and I entered the grounds early enough to be able to set up our camp 10 feet away from the creek. Completely surrounded by tree cover and put at ease by the constant flow of the creek, this was the perfect spot to post up and relax during the hot hours of the day. As allowed in the State of Colorado and from the rules on the Sonic Bloom Website, we legally and comfortably enjoyed multiple marijuana smoke down sessions by the creek. This alone added a unique vibe to the festival. A feeling of family, respect, and plain good intentions. As the sun started to die down and go behind the mountains, the need to see the production and arts grew.

The First Act That Took us into the Musical Wonders of Unified Field is Definitely One to Tauk About

Tauk took the main stage at dusk and what a way to kick start the weekend. Tauk is a four piece band from New York City that brought the funkadelic to life. An improv band known for jamming out with a unique dynamic when playing their songs live. There is a reason why their slogan is “Tauk about it.” If you witnessed this set, you would understand how impressive their talent is and why they were all the Tauk.

The main stage was on fire this night, following Tauk was a massive name in the bass music scene, Minnesota. I have seen this artist nearly 10 times, Sonic Bloom being the 4th time this year, and not only is every set different than the last but he curates each set to the vibe of the crowd and the festival. At Sonic Bloom he exceeded every expectation I had of him as he dipped into psychedelic downtempo; heavy hybrid trap, dubstep, future bass, and everywhere in-between. One thing for sure, he had fun at Sonic Bloom and he catered to the crowd playing some of the freshest beats in our scene today while still throwing it back to revered classics. Here is a snippet of his set at Sonic Bloom below:

 

Ending the first night of Sonic Bloom was an artist duo who has been with Bloom for years, Kalya Scintilla and Eve Olution. This year at Sonic they blossomed into a bigger and more theatrical act, Kalya Scintilla: Evokation. Utilizing a whole crew of beautiful, extravagant, and talented performers, all carefully choreographed to blissful and mind expanding music, this performance truly was next level and was unlike any Kalya set before. This collaboration is only happening at Resonance and Global Eclipse Festival later this year. Keep up to date with Kalya Scintilla here: Kalya Scintilla Facebook Link

Limbering Up For an Epic Start to Day 2

After an unforgettable first night of Sonic Bloom 2017, the day started with activities of many variations, as people started to explode with energy and movement across the festival grounds. In the early hours of the day the Lotus Temple was full of people practicing yoga and connecting to their chakras. Across the path, there were informational speeches and classes at the Permaculture Action Hub, or in the Academy Hub. These types of workshops lasted throughout the weekend with all types of variations each day, keeping it fresh.

Check out the full workshop schedule.

Even though music didn’t start until 3:30, many fellow Bloomers got their day started early. Whether your day involved limbering up under the dome to blissful music, or cracking open a cold one with the boys on the creek or at camp, there was no wrong way to have a beautiful start to your day at Sonic Bloom. With the weather sitting at a comfortable 89 degrees throughout the day, Sonic Bloom was projecting the perfect summer vibes mere days before the summer solstice.

Premier Electronic Music & Variety

The second day was stacked with music on each stage throughout the whole day. Starting the day, the main stage featured; Greener Grounds, Random Rab, Haywyre, The Polish Ambassador, with The Floozies ending the day on the main stage. While the main stage was lit from start to finish, the other stages had impeccable talent on them too. Wandering away from the known music and discovering new sounds really made your experience blossom into something unexpected. On the Hummingbird Stage the electronic music was thumping as Kalya came back for a second set under his alias, Merkaba. Focused heavily on psy-trance and involving his voice in unique vocal editor, Merkaba got the dust kicked up and ready for heavy bass annihilation from Colorado grown kLL sMTH. Having played a variety of deep medi dub, kLL sMTH took the Hummingbird Stage after a musical journey through psychedelic electronic music. Yet as he was performing on the Meadow Stage, a funky trio from Fort Collins, took the stage to bring swing dance back to modern times. The Party People stay true to their name as they offered an experience like no other with remixes on classic swing songs and funky electronic music guaranteed to make anyone groove.

Friday was the first night to go into the late hours, with The Floozies closing out the main stage and Claude VonStroke bringing the Hummingbird Stage late into the night, Sonic Bloom was blossoming into a full extravaganza of art. Hours where darkness took over the grounds is when the place truly lightened up. Art installations illuminated the scrub oak forest and the art that was scattered throughout. This allowed for people to get lost in woods, discovering art of all variations while listening to music carefully hand selected for the vibes of the night. For Friday after getting deep with Claude, the vibes went to a different level of psychedelic with Andreilien following the mastermind. With up and coming glitch-hop producer Mindex tossed in the middle, it led to the perfect ending with Australia’s Whitebear who took us to the sunrise. Whitebear was a highly anticipated set as he was not able to perform last year due to visa complications. Playing at one of Australia’s biggest transformational music festivals, Rainbow Serpent Gathering, Whitebear had gained an outstanding reputation that gained support from artists such as Opiuo, Kalya Scintilla and more! (Catch Whitebear again in the United States, at Global Eclipse Gathering, a collaboration of festivals where both Rainbow Serpent Gathering, Sonic Bloom and 12 other renowned art, yoga & movement, transformational music festivals will come to celebrate the eclipse.) Get a glimpse of his unique musical taste with the sunrise video below.

Relaxation in the Creek

Saturday was the peak hot day for the weekend. So what else better to do than to chill by the creek and interact with fellow attendees. Traveling up the creek I found more campers that were set up on both banks, along with tentsile camping, which are the tent hammocks, suspended in the trees. It was a full out relaxation spot. With people’s camps set up within feet of the cool creek, pure camping luxury was available for many to partake in. Upstream, I stumbled upon an old friend. Giving me the opportunity to reconnect with him again – the last time I saw him was 2016 Sonic Bloom. It is in a situation like that, where the concept of the Unified Field shines bright. We are all connected. Everything happens for a reason.

Getting Deep in Dank Music and Arts

Saturday had a lot to offer as the hours were long again, ranging from 3:30 pm to 6:00 am. This was the day I decided not to stick to a musical schedule, and to just go with the flow and discover as I went along. In doing so, I stumbled upon Cualli at the Meadow Stage who ripped the guitar, yet had some of the most interesting electronic samples complementing his production. My mind was blown by instrumental mastery as I finally got the opportunity to see Skydyed live. Extremely psychedelic rock and roll jam music, Skydyded was a surprise in and of itself. So that vibe of being mind blown continued throughout the night as Space Jesus followed the psychedelic jam band Skydyed. Space Jesus played for an hour dropping straight bangers, unreleased songs, and new releases. At the end of his set, a highly anticipated and extremely rare performance happened. Space Jesus had SuperSillyus join the stage for their side project, Schlang, a duo who dabble with psytrance. Check the full encore below.

 

Now this is where the art of Sonic Bloom hit me. During Space Jesus’s set, the whole performance was focused on him and the production. With some of the best visuals of the weekend projected on the screen, along with intense and super clear lasers, Space Jesus had all eyes on him and did not have stage performers. The very next performance, Desert Dwellers: Beyond, the performance was focused and highlighted around the stage performers. Desert Dwellers had their psychedelic music on point as they broke between downtempo glitch barriers and uptempo psytrance, all while the stage performers danced in harmony with the music. The complete contrast of two different styles of live art took me by surprise and reminded me again that Sonic Bloom is a place that blows away all expectations.

The Breathtaking Live Painting Artists and Beyond Epic Art Gallery

Sonic Bloom kept the live art fresh as the painters were allowed to move their work throughout the weekend. They could be posted up at one stage for Desert Dwellers, but then move over to Hummingbird Stage for late hours. This option allowed the painters to have an ultimate flow and connection to the music through art. I had traveled from Desert Dwellers epic performance to the Hummingbird Stage where art had completely exploded everywhere. Live painters were set up with lights, LEDS, or even black lights to illuminate their work. The epic art was not limited to the live painters. Projections on the stages through out the festival by revered VJ’s were absolutely breathtaking. But Saturday night on the Hummingbird Stage held top notch visuals from Infinite / Melteverything. Melt everything it did, the visuals were crisp on a high quality 4k resolution projector with visuals that were moving to the beat oh-so perfectly. During this collective of amazing visual arts, the perfect music to roam the grounds and examine the art was playing, Golf Clap. A dirty underground Detroit deep house duo who brought the deep and dirty county club disco vibes to the high mountain desert. The Hummingbird Stage turned into a f*$king rave. High quality lasers. Mind melting music and visuals that went hand in hand. And literally every single person there getting down and dirty and kicking up dust. This was one of the most memorable parties of the whole weekend, and the people were soaking it in. Check out this video of Golf Clap with the insane visuals below!

Dude…the art though

While Golf Clap was letting loose and bringing the Country Club Disco vibes to Bloom, my friend and I ventured into the Art Gallery, located in listening range to the Hummingbird Stage, and got lost looking at some of the most unique and detailed work from up and coming artists to the top names in the scene. The tent was set up perfectly too, with four pillars in the center area, all with flat faces on the pillar, allowing for more spaces to display art. So when you think you have seen it all, you turn a corner and see even more art. It’s quite an exotic and trippy way of showcasing work. Here are a couple of photos from the brilliant minds that will make your brain go kapootz with amazement.

 

 

The Last Late Night Hours of Music Ended Blissfully

Sonic Bloom always does an outstanding job of choosing artists to fit with the vibe of how the night is going. After Ott. on the main stage and Golf Clap on the Hummingbird, Sonic Bloom brought us into a trance with 3 popular artists to end the night. Going from Phutureprimitive to Bluetech and ending it with Plantrae, the vibes were just on point! All of them had a slower tempo filled with detailed samples and beats. The night was perfect to relax and soak in the strong energy. During these hours is when I really was able to connect with myself, the late night hours audience, the music, and the arts. Finally starting to get tired from roaming the grounds for three full days and with the intention of making it till the sunrise, I had posted up in a hammock in view of the stage with live painters and flow artists all around me. Lit up a couple of joints and straight relaxed. Heaven.

Yet, when I heard violin strokes, crisp electronic kicks and synths, my heart skipped a beat. I had heard so much about Plantrae but had never been able to see him perform live. I was very happy that I managed to stay up to 4:30 to watch him take Sonic Bloom into the last sunrise with music of the weekend. And it was absolutely beyond beautiful. His violin matched the psy-glitch, electronic GOODNESS so damn well. It gave me the energy I needed to join the Bloomers who partied through the night up until sunrise. The Hummingbird Stage had cover from the tarp that was suspended above the crowd and with this cover, they aimed their high powered lasers on it. This created an unique visual in and of itself. With my heart being melted from the beautiful combination violin and electronic music with visuals and art everywhere for my eyes to gaze at, this performance quickly became a treasured memory for a lifetime.

Reaching the Final Frontier

Cloud cover throughout the sunrise into morning allowed for a well needed slumber until 11:00 am. I started my day with a bowl at the creek and headed out to get some dank food. The very first Sonic Bloom that I attended South Park 2014, there was this vendor with a Colorado Flag Painted on wood with their logo, selling Gyros. Every single year, I have made it a must to get their gyros at least once, if not multiple times. Hands down some of the best quality food that makes my soul and stomach happy. (Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the other vendors too that I had the privilege of trying. Including some of the best smoothies blended with raw fruit, or an interesting vegan cheesecake. Can never go wrong with Organic ice-cream, and Pad-Thai noodles and BBQ are always extremely dank to munch down on.) Yet these Gyros are highly underrated. Every year someone I talk to has not tried gyros…and this year it was my best friend. I had the privilege to take him to the gyros vendor for his first gyros at his first Sonic Bloom.

When you have a full stomach, you are happy and energized. With that energization, it took us into the late and last musical hours of Sonic Bloom. Like the day before, Sunday had a vibe of its own, and in it, I had no time schedule, except for the need of seeing some of the Desert Hearts Showcase, and getting mesmerized by the debut of Gigantic Cheese Biscuits and the insanely talented Sonic Bloom Orchestra.

Starting out the last day for my musical journey, was an artist that I had stumbled upon last year. I have been a major fan of Eoto and The String Cheese Incident since I got into the festival life, and I had NO idea that Jason Hann had an electronic solo act, named Prophet Massive. If you haven’t heard of this, don’t worry, I discovered him pretty late too. Check out what this man has to offer.

Following Jason’s epic set at the Hummingbird, I went over to the main stage to catch the second member of Eoto, Michael Travis, in the 3 part band that started Sonic Bloom, Zilla. Having drums, guitar, bass guitar, and the hammered dulcimer with immense skill, Zilla is a set unlike any other performance that you will see. Curated with love you can feel the positive energy in their music, which also clearly shows in the festival that they have produced. Radiating more positive energy after Zilla’s set was Papadosio. (During the set breaks on the main stage, Sonic Bloom set up an awesome feature with an artist playing on the side of the stage, as the rest of the stage was getting ready for the next set of music.) This band sheds nothing more than light and love. Papadosio previously had played a festival that had venue problems with their water supply which infected everyone. Staff. Attendees. Musicians. Every one. Papadosio powered through their sickness and played on and in my opinion, one of the BEST Papadosio sets that I have ever seen. Intense jams on some of their classics and newer releases, Papadosio had a completely different vibe than their Red Rocks show, which was only a month or so prior. This took me by surprise and made me get lost in the moment and in the Unified Field as I found bliss in the music. Take a glimpse in the world of Jamtastic Papadosio.

Hours were close to an end and appreciating full sets of music meant not appreciating other music. Even though it hurt to pry myself away from talented musicians, I wondered up the path to the Hummingbird Stage to be graced by the luscious beats of deep house played out by the Desert Hearts Crew. For six hours, four members of Desert Hearts Crew; Porkchop, Marbs, Lee Reynolds, and Mikey Lion took the Hummingbird Stage to its last songs of the weekend. This crew is set up with nothing but the more pure and raw hope for connection and love… and again when an artist or ‘artists’ do this, it clearly shows in their work and in the crowd supporting them. While traveling around in the crowd during Desert Hearts you’ll only experience peace, love, unity, and respect. I guarantee it.

Only a couple of hours were left in the schedule of music of Sonic Bloom, and that meant, Gigantic Cheese Biscuits. This collaboration between Big Gigantic, The Disco Biscuits, and the String Cheese Incident is a performance of musical brilliance in improvisation and skills.Built on instrumental mastery and improvisation, Gigantic Cheese Biscuits blew all expectations away. Keeping it extremely groovy playing a gnarly mixture of bluegrass, reggae, jam, electronic and everything else in-between, this set was an experience that never happened before and should resonate in every Bloomer’s heart as a memory that will last for ever!

Yet even after this mastery in musicianship, the Unified Field was not done offering all of their extraordinary talents. Dirt Wire took the stage, producing tribal world sounds, with electronic undertones, Dirt Wire has a perfect vibe to end out the high mountain desert. Granting people a reason to kick up dust under the moonlight one more time, Dirtwire offered a perfect melody of bluegrass feels with electronic beats. Lastly, the night would have not ended properly if I didn’t witness a ‘Sonic Bloom original idea’ and beyond-epic collaboration of musicians. The Sonic Bloom Orchestra, orchestrated by Jamie Janover with some of the most skilled musicians in the scene, who played at some point of the day at Sonic Bloom. Being composed of Gigantic Cheese Biscuits, Dirt Wire, Jubee, and more, the orchestra stuck true to their originality through improvisation in music. With so much variety and talent, the set turned out to be a giant party which resulted in complete amazement of their skills. This Orchestra is a classic Sonic Bloom tradition which is cherished as each year the Unified Field offers a spectacular one of a kind, and one-time Sonic Bloom Orchestra.

 

Conclusion – Once You Join the Unified Field, It is Practically Impossible to Not Come Back Again.

When people talk about the Unified Field being a real thing, trust them. There is something about the festival that sticks out unlike any other festival that I have ever attended. You can tell that this production is created out of the intent to inform, educate, and to liven up and give people higher meaning or something more than just a materialistic item to take home. This family allows you to believe in yourself and others for the better good in everyone. Attending Sonic Bloom will show you the power of communication, connection, community and collaboration.

With their main focus aimed toward bringing in the best of the best music, art, and production, with some of the most humble people that you will ever meet, Sonic Bloom is a festival that will be around for years to come. One of the co-founders of Envision Festival, Justin B. said, “This festival has a healthy future and is not going anywhere anytime soon.” So it does. During that media meeting where Justin and others were talking about the future of Sonic Bloom, Jamie Janover pitched in and notified us that the Hummingbird Ranch is officially, his ranch and that Sonic Bloom is now looking into permanent structures. As you could tell with the new staging at the Hummingbird Stage. Having the ranch in the hands of this mastermind and co founder of Sonic Bloom, one can only imagine the world of opportunities that will develop in the Unified Field.

Shout out to Bradford Watkins for joining me as we had dual coverage at Sonic Bloom this year. Without your work, this coverage would not have been as epic. Thank you for your hard work and impressive talent. Shout out to Sheree and Blooming FootPrint for allowing me to do The Chronic Electronic. This event holds a special place in our hearts and we are grateful to have experienced the Unified Field yet again. And MASSIVE shout out to Sonic Bloom and the staff for year in and year out curating an event that motivates, inspires, and challenges people to better them selves, their friends, family, the community, and all while respecting mother earth. (All while bringing an awesome party to Colorado too.) Keep on informing,grooving, creating, and loving.

Much Love

and Thank You

Dom

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