Concert Reviews

Ten ways Communikey was a music festival done right

Most music festivals don't have a specific conceptual guiding principal behind them. But for Communikey 2014, the phrase "Take Time," which was featured in the well-designed schedule and map. As they explained it, the demands of the modern world have created a climate of artificial boredom, overtaxed reserves of emotional and physical energy and instant but meaningless gratification.

Communikey's organizers took that idea seriously, finding ways in even the smallest details to relish the taking of time. Below are some of the ways the festival did just that.

The Program: A two-sided, colorful glossy that wasn't difficult to read or figure out while also being creative in its design included a mission statement and a helpful map.

The Apex Movement Location: Sure, it's a parkour training center by day and it's on the eastern edge of town in some kind of industrial office park, but that meant plenty of parking and the ability to have bass-heavy music pumping until the early morning hours without annoying neighbors. It reminded us of an illegal rave in the '90s, without the illegal part and without an overtly druggy vibe. Only suggestion: relocate the portable toilets farther away from the door if possible.

The Door People Were Cool: That makes a difference. Yes, it is a thankless job and some people make it a difficult job. But these people seemed to handle what could be a hassle of an event as smoothly as was reasonably possible.

The Speaker System in Apex: It's rare even in a standard music venue for there to be essentially quadraphonic sound with plenty of head room for rich bass and even sub bass. For electronic dance music this just made it feel like you were fully immersed in the music. Still, it wasn't so loud you couldn't have at least a brief conversation with someone nearby. With the speakers set up in four parts of the room pointing toward the center, someone positioned them and dialed in the sound so nothing seemed to cancel out.

Tasteful and Informed Choice of Artists: While Deadbeat, KiNK and Ben UFO aren't necessarily household names or stars of the mainstream EDM circuit they've all been featured on Boiler Room, which usually means you're doing something right.
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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