ARISE Music Festival: An Insider's Perspective on a Weekend of Music, Art and Yoga

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This past weekend, ARISE Music Festival called many like-minded, earth-conscious individuals to Sunrise Ranch for a music, art and yoga festival just outside Loveland. Ziggy Marley, Jurassic 5, Hard Working Americans, Rising Appalachia, Papadosio and Elephant Revival were among the headliners. 

Opportunities for internships and volunteer shifts were available and allowed for a balance of work and play all weekend long. With these shifts, those new to the festival industry were able to discover just how dedicated people must be to make a festival happen. Those not so new to festival work were able to apply their skills in all kinds of weather conditions and during all hours of the morning, afternoon and night. 

Pro tip for future volunteers: Try to coordinate your shifts in advance with your team leads to make sure you don't miss the bands you want to see. (Although getting your shift of choice is not always guaranteed. After all, no one wants a shift during Ziggy Marley's set.)

A huge undertaking for any festival is to provide its staff, volunteers, sponsors, artists and interns with food and drinks to keep everyone going during shifts that can last all day. At ARISE, the food was abundant, healthy and delicious and catered to all diets. Ingredients were sourced primarily from the farm on Sunrise Ranch. Tea, coffee, coconut water, soda and juices were plentiful and kept the crew hydrated and energized as we worked in all kinds of weather conditions. And it was because the staff was so well taken care of that everyone was able to stay positive and work through the rain, dust, heat and constant movement that comes with a crowded festival.

Volunteer shift hours and positions varied throughout the festival. Some of us worked at the box office, or concessions stands. Some of us oversaw general and specific operations or served as runners or as hospitality ambassadors. We worked security, the check-in station and merchandise booths.   Anyone looking for the latest in hippie fashion found an abundance of vendors with handmade leather outfits, tie-dye everything, anything glowing, hula hoops (counts as a clothing accessory, right?) and clothes that only covered up the necessary. The NoCo Hemp village offered both edible and wearable hemp products.

Solutions Village, a popular section of the festival, included art installations, teepees, tents and shady spots to escape the crowds for a breath of fresh air. Innovative, environmentally friendly companies were there to teach any curious passersby. 

Wisdom Village, situated in the camping area/parking lot, offered activities like fire ceremonies and drum circles from sunrise until the morning hours. A farmer’s market just outside festival grounds and a general store stocked campers with food and other necessities.

Performers hosted educations sessions in the Workshop Tent for anyone curious about their crafts or performances. ARISE, a family friendly festival, offered a Children’s Village, which allowed  for costumed-clad little ones to run around safely. The children even had their own stage and workshops and had a chance to parade through the entire festival. Their area had the most trees and the nicest grass.The Gaia Yoga Sanctuary had a pristine view of the farm and the nearby reservoir and offered yoga classes all day long. Instructors' yoga styles varied from traditional to modern. Down hill from the yoga classes was the Art Gallery Tent, which featured pieces mostly of the psychedelic genre. Some of the art had even been created on-site during live painting sessions.  The main festival grounds featured four stages. The Eagle Stage was for the main acts, which attracted audience members who played with hula hoops and held glow sticks in the air. 

The Scene Stage, located next to the main stage, provided music during the main stage's set changes. StarWater Stage was sheltered under a tent inbetween the food, concessions and, most importantly, Ozo Coffee House (for the morning) and Star Bar (for the rest of the day). AREA 51 played electronic music that thumped long into the morning hours. Somehow, the music at 51 actually cancelled noise from the erratic drum circles and partying in the camp site nearby. 

The Big Sunrise Dome, which provided a gathering space for those who live on the ranch year round, hosted environmentally conscious speakers, artists and workshops. 

When it doesn't host a festival, Sunrise Ranch is home to members of the spiritual network Emissaries of Divine Light, which hosted an information booth on festival grounds. The festival had a wonderful energy, and that's a legitimate observation, not just hippie talk. The crowd and staff worked together as a true community to keep everyone safe. The variety of the performers' music styles, from reggae, rock, bluegrass, electronic, Americana and world, was key for a secluded camping festival that lasted several days.

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