Arise Music Festival's Future Uncertain After Split With Sunrise Ranch

It's uncertain whether Arise Music Festival's 2020 edition will happen.EXPAND
It's uncertain whether Arise Music Festival's 2020 edition will happen.
Michael Emery Hecker
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The future of 2020 Arise Music Festival is up in the air.

After seven years, the annual weekend of music, spirituality, art and activism will no longer be held at Sunrise Ranch, a spiritual retreat in Loveland run by the Emissaries of Divine Light, a group that has often been described as a cult.

Longtime producers Tierro Lee and Paul Bassis have also split from the festival, with plans to work on another large-scale Colorado music event, while fellow producer Luke Comer is attempting to throw another edition of Arise at a different location.

“Paul Bassis and Tierro Lee on the one hand, and Luke Comer on the other hand, have agreed to part ways in connection with the Arise Music Festival," Lee tells Westword. "Mr. Comer will continue to operate the Arise Music Festival. Mr. Bassis and Mr. Lee will pursue other endeavors in the music and festival business. The Arise Music Festival will no longer be presented at Sunrise Ranch, but will take place at another location in Colorado to be announced. Sunrise Ranch will be pursuing the development of future festivals and concerts at the Ranch."

None of the producers will discuss the split with Sunrise Ranch; the facility has not commented.

If Comer gets his way, Arise's new location will be north of Park Creek Reservoir, between the small towns of Buckeye and Livermore in Larimer County.

"The site is quite remote: no neighbors for two miles; only about eight within three miles. Sunrise had hundreds of neighbors within one, two and three miles," Comer explains. "The site is surrounded by mountains on all sides, much larger than Sunrise, mostly covered in thicker grass, with epic views of the Continental Divide and about the same amount of drive time from Denver. I feel it's probably the best site in the state for Arise."

While Comer declines to comment on the departure of his fellow producers, he's feeling optimistic: "I can say, however, that I believe Arise is benefited by the split with a better location, better funding and greater creative freedom, direction and diversity."

On March 9, the Larimer County Commissioners will consider the proposed site for a 2020 festival at a hearing.
"If they approve, we are moving forward with Arise 2020; if not, we regroup for 2021," says Comer. "We do not see any objective reason for the commissioners to deny our application."

Even so, nothing is certain.

"At the moment," Comer admits, "we do not know the past or future of Arise."

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