Derek Reinhardt
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We had the time of our lives making the first ever #SoulsRising stage happen this year at Arise.  Here are some beautiful photos to help you relive the moments, or catch back up if you missed it.

Hey #SoulsRising family! Here we go with the third part of our three part coverage of Arise Music Festival 2014! I was lucky enough to come up and do some photo prowling for S.i.A. and got to see some of the killer acts, fantastic artwork, and even pre-show setup at the festival this year! It was the first time I have had a chance to ever come out to a festival of this type, what with the camping and sudden attacks of rain. I can’t usually leave town for longer than a day or two so I was quite thrilled to be spending four days out in Loveland, CO. Here’s my view on the craziness of this year’s Arise!

August 7th

I arrived to Sunrise Ranch around 3pm on Thursday, one day before the festival gates opened. I drove up with a friend as well as another photographer named Andrew who’d flown in all the way from Massachusetts that day. We had planned on arriving earlier in the afternoon to help setup but we were beset upon by rain and hit traffic on I-25 riding up towards Loveland. However as soon as we hit Loveland itself it was all clear skies ahead of us and I have to say I enjoyed driving through town. Even when we got past town and into the more rural area of Loveland I was impressed with the scenery. I did catch myself wondering how they would pack a music and art festival into the area we were driving through when I knew we were no less than five minutes away from the event grounds.

After a right turn onto a country road and another left a little further down we came upon Sunrise Ranch. The festival fit neatly into the valley floor with room enough for campers, cars, music, art, tents, and vendors. I admit though I was quite turned around when we got to the event. The map from the website had me thinking that we were oriented west when looking at it, but actually the map was oriented east. This got me lost more than once during the festival itself.

The rest of the day was nice, and only rained once on us before night fell. The entire S.i.A. crew was pressed hard into the night working to get the Souls Rising stage set up. We had to work some magic to figure out the proper method of constructing a dome, we had to dig multiple holes for various reasons (both in the dark and in the baking sun), and we ran into no shortage of issues stemming from a lack of ladders. Somehow, be it by hard work or dark magic, the stage was set up fully around 9am the next day.

We had a shaded dome for those who needed a break from the sun, couches for those who needed a break from gravity, and two mornings we even had pancakes for those who needed a break from hunger pains, but I’ll get to that later. There was a fellow sat up the hill from us who literally built a solar “Palm Tree” phone charging and chillaxing station in the span of about 5 hours. It was crazy, thing juiced your phone in about 20 minutes, too.

I helped out as much as I could during the day. I got a great time-lapse shot of the S.i.A. blackboard being painted before it was put up. In the later hours of the afternoon I took a stroll through the various theme camps that were starting to take shape and had a chance to see the “Bath House” up the hill from the S.i.A. camp. I never did get a chance to try out their showers but I also didn’t have 5 dollars per minute to spend on water (I think that was the price?). I wrapped up the day with drinks at the S.i.A. tent and met the rest of the crew.

August 8th

The day started off with a little bit of work before the festival grounds opened. Finishing touches on the stage and what not. Everything came together splendidly, the decorations were painstakingly made by hand and hung by ladder. The first musical act wasn’t set to play the Souls Rising stage until 6pm that night so I took the time to head up to the yoga tent ant check out the session there. It was very calm there. Very serene. It almost felt removed from the rest of the festival in a way. Like the hub-bub of all of the festival goers starting to gather didn’t affect the atmosphere at all. There was an artist on the grass next to the text making a statue out of mirrors. It was a fun session to check out. Before long we got hit by a surprise rain blast and I had to throw my equipment in my bag.

Around the time the rain ended was when the opening ceremony was supposed to take place. I made my way down to the main stage and was lucky enough to catch the entirety of the ceremony. A large procession of festival goers made a noisy entrance into the area in front of both the A and B stages and the ceremony began. We were introduced to I believe four different elders, and three adorable youths. Each group gave a speech and had a different ceremony right. One of the ceremonies was even a prayer given through dance which was awesome to see.

After the opening ceremony had ended I was supposed to make my way up to the Children’s Village to see the Children’s Parade. I walked up there with Andrew but we found out quickly that just because the schedule says something for the kids doesn’t mean that that’s how their schedule would run. It was basically a face painting free-for-all.  We met some of the kids, said hi, and made our way back to the main stage.

The first band I actually got stopped up watching was Kan’Nal. They were really, really cool. They had two dancers performing alongside the musicians who wore these crazy winged costumes or had “fire” to go along with the music. The wings were really something else to see. After their set ended I started making my way back to the Souls Rising stage to see Turner Jackson play alongside some musicians I wasn’t familiar with. It’s always fun seeing Turner play, he gets so into it.

I had to run up to the yoga tent around that time to help out with something up there but when I came back down I was treated to seeing Krooked Drivers play a set. The crowd was digging the music and lights, unfortunately my camera was not and I only snapped four or five worthwhile photos. The entire stage was running heavy on red lights for some reason which just washed my photos out and made them look terrible.

My night ended on a high note after seeing Beats Antique play and snapping some really, really hilarious photos of Zoey. She was basically the main attraction since they didn’t get to bring along their Thousand Faces set to show off. It was still fun though, I always enjoy seeing them.

August 9th

The only rough part about Arise was the Sun. And honestly that’s basically the only bad part that really stands out in my mind. Even the occasional gale force blasts of rain were 4/5ths of the time a welcome relief from the burning gaze of the Sun. There was one rainfall that I actually had to sprint back to my tent after remembering I’d taken the rain fly off to air it out. Everything in my tent got soaked, except for my laptop thankfully. Even when slathered in sunscreen I still came home with my skin burnt six ways to Sunday.

I mention this only because each morning I was woken up at about roughly 7am. Not even because of the light of the sun, but because it turned an exposed tent into a mini-sauna. As soon as the sun rose I found myself stirring and waking into lung-fulls of hot, moist air. It was all you could do you just roll out of your tent and heave in gasps of cool, fresh morning oxygen. I even fell asleep one morning for about 20 minutes with just my head and shoulder outside of my tent.

I woke up that morning thuswise and wandered over to the S.i.A. tent. I was the only one awake aside from one other person and we hung out for a bit until people started moving. There was still a lot of activity going on around us even that early. Attendees made their way up to the yoga tent with mats slung over their shoulders, and hungry patrons queued up outside of the Starbar forming a precarious line that was supposedly an hour long wait.

I didn’t feel the need to wait in line for food since the S.i.A. family was hosting a Jamcake Social! Everyone from the camp made their way to the Souls Rising stage a little bit before 9 o’clock and after a little preparation we started serving up free pancakes, piping hot and fresh from the grill, and even had someone manning a syrup bottle. I got some stellar shots of the chef wearing the cutest little duckie apron and chef hat, killer. A few shout outs through the microphone brought in a ton of hungry mouths. Up the hill a little bit people we had people participating in an impromptu jam session while the pancake lovers stood in line. It was absolutely wicked to see complete strangers jam down with whatever random instruments they had at hand. There were drums, fiddles, guitars and Lily Fangz even busted out her office style water cooler.

After the Jamcake Social ended I went to go take some photos of the vendors and see if I could find some new shoes. Long story short mine had gotten wet and were now, for some reason, causing me intense pain. I ended up buying a new pair of shoes from Xol Original. Let me tell you these are my new favorite pair of shoes and I never hear the end of it when people see them. I won’t gush about them too much but they’re all handmade out of reclaimed fabric from different parts of Southern America, completely water proof, and absolutely gorgeous. I even convinced another photographer who was with us to get the last pair.

With my doggies feeling much more comfortable and me actually being able to walk around again I headed over to the mainstage to catch Fractal Tribe Circus. I wasn’t really expecting the bombshell performance they put on. They had goofy little bits with actors having wordless conversations that ended up turning into wild feats of acrobatic agility and gymnastic ability. At one point a girl was spun like a top on her belly while balancing on a guys feet which were being held in the air vertically while he was on his back. I don’t even know how else to describe it. It was jawdropping.

After that I swung back by the Souls Rising stage for a little bit and saw the opening act Eminence Ensemble. They were very upbeat and funky but just chill enough to open the night up. I really dug the guitarists picking. Plus I love any Livetronica with a bassist. About midway through their set it started to rain and didn’t really look like it was going to give way any time soon so I went back to the camp to change batteries, back up photos, and take a break from walking around.

After the rain died down I headed back to see Turner Jackson and Lily Fangz play their set which was a ton of fun. I love seeing them play especially since I always get some fantastic photos of the two of them. If they’re not downright awesome photos they usually end up being hilarious snapshots of the set. You could tell it had been raining though, and hard, because half of the stage was covered in tarps to protect the equipment. Burning Man has dust? Yeah, well we have sporadic torrential downpours.

Sunsquabi played their set right after Turner and Lily and killed it, as usual. The crowd was starting to get packed and lights were starting to glow. I hadn’t heard a Sunsquabi set all the way through until then and I really dig some of their new stuff. I was dancing more than taking photos, which is odd for me because I am usually glued to my camera.

For the rest of the night I just moseyed through the festival snapping shots of whatever I could and trying to learn more about shooting in the dark and balancing my settings correctly. I feel like I learned a ton of stuff throughout the entire festival, I am really appreciative of the time I got to spend up there. I even think it helped me zero in on the next thing I need to tap down skill wise, which would be manually focusing versus relying on autofocus. No easy task.

By the end of the night I found myself backstage of Quixotic watching their show for a bit since there was quite literally no room in from of the stage. They had girls breathing fire and doing acrobatics as well, except they were doing acrobatics on top of this wild spinning metal contraption. I was pretty blown away by the dancers performances as well.

That was the last of my night before retiring to the camp to hang out with the rest of the S.i.A. crew and eventually hitting the hay.

August 10th

The last day of the festival had me waking, again, into the sauna like tent I was trapped in. Seriously took me like 2 minutes of fiddling with the zipper to get out. I remember feeling especially beat from the weekend that morning and decided to take it easy that day just so I didn’t overexert myself.

I did a lot more snooping around the vendor stalls that morning after another very successful Jamcake Social. There were three or four things I really wanted to get including one awesome Wolf piece from Third Eye Tapestries. I wouldn’t really consider myself a “tapestry guy” but I would hang that thing in my house in a second.

Sunrise Ranch was one of the main sponsors of the event and they had a tent set up mid way through the vendor stalls and were giving free massages and offering information on some of the incredibly cool internship programs they have there.

I made it back to the Souls Rising stage to see my friends from Skydyed play an awesome set. I got a bunch of great photos of them and was pretty psyched to hear some of their new stuff. Andrew, the bassist, is the most hilarious person in the world to take photos of, just in case you were wondering. They had the crowd area pretty much packed and everyone was groovin’. I nearly face-planted into the thick cut hay that lined the dancefloor when a particularly wily dancer was weaving back and forth while crouched down. Good job!

After Skydyed ended their set I said my goodbyes to all the great people I’d met up at Arise, did the Facebook invites, and headed back to pack up camp. We left before the festival ended but I felt I had packed in a pretty great experience. I can’t wait to be able to do more things like Arise, or even go to future Arise festivals.

Thanks for taking the time to read this Under Review!

We want to offer a heartfelt, big THANK YOU to everyone who came out this year and made the Souls Rising experience something truly special.  Hopefully it will be the first of many, crazy, beautiful, transformational, exhilarating festival stages and we can’t wait so see all of your beautiful faces out there with us.  #SIAallday!Keep-SIA-Blog