Derek Reinhardt
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Here we go #SoulsRising family into part 2 of 3 for our coverage of Arise Music Festival 2014!  Being a transformational festival Arise certainly put a ton of effort into creating three days of mind and person expanding activities that extended well beyond music (including a yoga instructor lineup that nearly exceeded music programming).  As a virgin to this type of fest I was the lucky writer who got to explore the workshops, healing centers, and art pavilions to see what I could see and what I could learn at Arise.

Friday 6:15- ‘Song as It Relates to Light’ by White Buffalo- Sunrise Dome

Alright day 1, just set up, I might as well dive right in, and this sounds like the most-out-of-this-world speaker I could see on Friday…and well I was right in a lot of ways.  White Buffalo is arguably the most quintessential Native American you could picture: black jeans, purple shirt, boots, ponytail, cowboy hat.  He was perched quietly on a stool talking about existential beliefs of his ancestors as I walked in.  He then began a series of traditional, wailing chants that I was at first unsure if they contained any actual structure.  But after a spell of listening to the intricacies I gained a respect for the beauty of keeping his ancestors traditions alive.  And Arise had already taught me something unexpected.

Friday 7:45- Ayla Nereo- Yoga Tent

Contrary to it’s name the Yoga Tent was not exclusively set up around yoga, and we were scheduled to have a chat with the lovely Miss Ayla Nereo after her set.  First off, the tent itself was incredible.  Perched up on flat grassy field up the hill over looking the festival, there’s likely no better place in the world to let out your inner yogi.  Ayla is the proud owner of one of the most beautiful voices in the world and did well to showcase it with a simple set involving acoustic instrumentation and vocal looping a la Enya.  I was blown away…until I saw her one-up that performance when she sang with Polish later that night.

Saturday 8:00- Festival Grounds Walkabout

After an exceptionally late night and a campsite wide, 4AM, howl-at-the-supermoon sesh I was naturally thrilled when the morning sun hit my tent at 8.  Well, sleep be damned I got up and decided to tour the festival grounds.  Much to my surprise people weren’t so much resisting the day as making sweet, sweet first yoga session of the day love to it.  Guess at a festival called Arise, sleep is pretty damn optional.

Saturday 1:00- Astrological Herbal Medicine- Workshop

The workshop was the most likely place to hide from the afternoon sun, a covered geodesic dome sat upon lush grass and appreciated shade from large trees nearby.  Plus ‘Astrological Herbal Medicine’ that sounds next level heady, I had to check it out.  Surprisingly this wasn’t completely out of my ballpark of comprehension.  The speaker passed around samples of local herbs that apparently align with different planets and thus help different physical ailments.

Saturday 5:00- The Singularity Archetype- Workshop

I guess I wasn’t quite through with the workshops, so I headed back for ‘The Singularity Archetype’ with Jonathan Zap.  I mean who could resist, right?  Surprisingly enough a lot rang true for me from this speaker.  From societal archetypes of different characters, to the prevalence of a “near death experience” between peoples of extraordinarily differing backgrounds, if not the ideas at least the evidence he was presenting was compelling.  If nothing else I’m ready to do a little more research.

Saturday 8:30- Fabric of the Universe Installation

Between the Souls Rising stage and the main stage was a large hill with a yurt-like art gallery and the so-called ‘Fabric of the Universe’ installation.  This thing has apparently been around the block to quite a few festivals, and with good reason.  A dome of white snow-flakey panels housed an abundantly intricate, tentacle-ly, alien, organic glass sculpture (similar to some of the more bong-like pieces from Pizmo).  Sliding under-lighting set off the textural features, and likely made this piece a bit tough to handle for those with a temporarily enhanced reality.

Saturday 9:00- Hilltop Art Gallery

After opening my mind with the installation it was time for me to go have a proper look around the art gallery.  A long gallery hall ringed the outside of the circular structure as deep down tempo pumped through the walls.  Along the gallery walls pieces six-ways-to-spiritual invited on-lookers (of which there were hordes) to ponder the creator’s intents; from Buddhist mysticism, to classic Native American, to impossibly intricate woodcarvings the gallery had it all.  In the center a couple vendors chatted with visitors, offered meditation sessions, and crystal wraps like you’d picture accompanying Arise.  My personal highlight were the wonderfully surrealist pieces of Victor Policheri that bid me farewell on the way out.

Sunday 4:00- Vendor Booths

Well it had been an immensely busy weekend so Sunday afternoon really was my first chance to go check out the long string of vendor booths.  Arise truly represented its philosophy with these booths, as they were generally very active.  Many implored visitors to take a stand, I personally took the opportunity to update my voter registration and swab my cheek for the bone marrow registry.  A ring of food trucks offered a variety of fares including the hippie-tested-souls-in-action-approved, Super Heady Tacos.  But even if you were just looking for a souvenir for the weekend dozens of booths offered plenty of art, jewelry and clothing.

Sunday 5:00- Star Bar

I can’t believe it took me till the end of the festival to go properly appreciate the Star Bar.  A break from the festival.  This large tent housed a coffee and tea bar and a small stage that presented everything from the hardest, latest raging electronic music to puppet time to poetry.  Hippie kitsch adorned all the walls and cool carpets allowed me to rest up before night three of music took off.

Clearly Arise was about much more than any one, single component.  The venue, the stages, the production, the music, the vendors, the workshops, the speakers, and mother-nature herself all came together to set the stage for a beautiful festival.  But all that paled in comparison to the people that took Arise over the top.  This moving, shaking, not-sleeping, true Colorado crowd came out ready to represent and ensure that Arise Music festival was the best fest in Colorado for another year.  In that cause, my friends, the people of Arise succeeded on all fronts.