Sonic Bloom 2019 - Get The Complete Inside Scoop Before You Go!
As the pre-week countdown for Sonic Bloom begins, festival goers begin packing and getting their arrangements in order. We are here to help by providing some insight on what to expect from this one-of-a-kind festival. There is so much going on throughout the long weekend and in the days leading up, it can get overwhelming trying to figure out how to schedule your time. Whether it’s early morning yoga, sustainability workshops, the virtual reality tent or experiencing the magic of performance artists, there will be something for everyone at Sonic Bloom. We are very excited to relay some of the unique amenities and experiences that can be found on The Unified Field.
Here’s what you need to know.
Symbiotic Event Services is the company who runs all operations for Sonic Bloom. We spoke with Joel Gustafson, operations director, about their sustainability efforts at Sonic Bloom. He explained that this will be the third year where Sonic Bloom will hold The Permaculture Academy during the four days leading up to the music portion of the festival, providing an interactive experience that teaches people how to maintain a regenerative ecosystem and sustainable community. Although it is an extra fee, the Permaculture Academy is a fulfilling experience that involves four days of cozy camping at hummingbird ranch and a series of in-depth projects all during the day. Projects include building greenhouses, rainwater catchment, maintaining gardens, operating a regenerative system and learning how to organize one's community at home.
Sonic Bloom and Symbiotic Events have partnered with Waste Naughts, who are in charge of staffing the festivals "green team.” They take care of on-site composting and managing the recycling efforts. Stephen Chun, department lead of the festivals “greening” efforts, detailed the extremity of work that goes into sorting every single bag of trash in order to make sure there are no contaminating products once they send it off to be composted. Chun iterated the importance of sorting because contamination is a big issue and can be very costly to fix after the fact. During the course of the festival, Stephen and his team of “Trash Pirates” undergo a daily operation that involves setting up a waste station infrastructure, implementation of hauling materials and one of the most important aspects, a campground outreach program. Although the workers and volunteers are not yet able to sort every bag of trash that ends up at Sonic Bloom, they are making extensive efforts to get better every year and the dent they are able to make is immensely impactful.
The festival community outreach is a big part of the work the Waste Naught team does every year because they want to use the weekend, in part, to change the long-term habits of visitors. They send people to the campgrounds who educate attendees on what to do with their trash, the difference between landfill, compost and recyclable material, as well as learning how to work on an individual level towards creating a zero-waste community. As explained by Chun, “The compost is definitely the most important of the waste streams and as it has the largest environmental impact if sent into a landfill.” This is because, when buried and lacking oxygen, the waste converts into methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Besides discarded materials, there are small changes that the festival and visitors can make to ensure that best practices are met. Some of those include replacing bulk amounts of water bottles (sold by the festival and its partners) with a water refill station, which can be matched by visitors bringing reusable water bottles.
If you happen to forget your own reusable water bottle, never fear! Sonic Bloom is providing their own eco-friendly water bottles available for purchase at the festival; they are made out of sustainable bamboo in a 100% stainless steel bottle. Festival organizers will have stations set up with free filtered drinking water so no one ever has to worry about buying themselves out of dehydration. In fact, no water will be sold in plastic containers anywhere on the festival grounds. Additionally, reusable utensil kits will also be available for purchase, just in case people fail to pack their sporks. All revenue collected from eco-products will go towards funding two different organizations based in Costa Rica & Africa (according to the Sonic Bloom website).
Finally, the icing on top of the cake, Symbiotic Events oversees the festivals carbon offset program. This program aims to estimate all tool consumption (fencing, mileage, etc.) in an effort to see how much carbon was sequestered over the course of the festival. That number is then turned into a monetary value, which the partners at Sonic Bloom take and donate to Trees, Water & People, an organization that works towards reforestation in Latin America. In other words, Sonic Bloom makes huge attempts to balance their carbon emissions that are produced during the wake of the festival and donate enough money to plant trees in another part of the word that will offset that use of carbon.
According to Stephen Chun you can help the greening efforts by:
Bring extra trash bags and separating your landfill. Recyclables include cans, plastic bottles, glass, cardboard, paper, and any metals. Recyclables with food or grease don't get recycled! Put those in your "landfill" bag. You can even go the extra mile and separate your commercial compost! Any food or compostable-ware like paper plates and soiled napkins!
Recycle cigarette butts! Please save them and dump them at designated disposal locations!
Don't bring any glass or mirrors! They are heavy, fragile, dangerous and will be confiscated at entry!
We had over 150 broken ez up frames last year due to wind, you must stake them down properly and attach the guy lines! If not, take down the shade when you leave camp every single time! Many vehicles get damaged by tumbling shade canopies and it is incredibly laborious to sort and get these frames recycled!
Lastly, be a part of the effort! Help keep camp clean, pick up moop, and leave no trace!
Conscious Alliance is a movement based out of Denver, that organizes food drives and gathers donations in a strong effort to directly feed children and families that need it. Sonic Bloom is a proud partner with Conscious Alliance and will be hosting an ‘Art That Feeds’ Food and Clothing Drive at the festival this year.
Organizers are asking that patrons donate new or gently used clean clothing and low-sodium health-focused food products. Organic foods are not required but highly encouraged. The festival has also made it clear that while ramen noodles are cheap and easy, they are not ideal for donation. Their most needed products are as follows: canned soups & stews, pasta, tomatoes & tomato sauce, rice, canned fruits & vegetables, tuna, oatmeal, whole grain/low sugar cereal, peanut butter, beans, and baby food.
Being a locally based organization, the drive is aimed at taking all of its donations and using them to benefit local communities. All proceeds will be transported to Dorcas Food Bank in Walsenburg, Colorado. Conscious Alliance is a collection of passionate artists, musicians, food makers, and music lovers on a mission to end hunger in vulnerable communities nationwide. More information on the project can be found here.
As for food vendors, Sonic Blooms festival protocol is an impressive measure aimed at reducing the overall waste produced by trucks and visitors. The protocol is an agreement to purchase 100% compostable materials, such as plates, cups, and cutlery. All vendors in attendance at Sonic Bloom are required to be in compliance with this agreement, according to Joel Gustafson, Operations Director for Sonic Bloom. The materials must be self-sourced by the vendors, however, the festival provides recommendations and resources if necessary. Each year, the festival and its partners calculate the metrics of saved-waste, recycled material that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill, so they can see how much they diverted. On top of that, the numbers give them a "target for improvement" for the following years festival.
If there’s one food truck you do not want to miss this year, it’s Umami Mobile Eatery. This individualistic concept has been a crowd favorite and will be returning to Sonic Bloom. Their concept is focused around discovering combinations that will elicit umami, or the fifth taste, to create mouthwatering sensations. This truck has created dishes inspired by the founder’s, Sara Gilman, travels abroad and the universal drive to eat and share good food every day. Umami Mobile Eatery aims to source local products and will have something for most people’s dietary restrictions or needs, such as vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free.
Must See Sleeper Set:
AUTONOMIX is bringing a different kind of electronic funk to Sonic Bloom this year with its four insanely talented members. Josh Nermon, keyboardist for the group, describes the band as, “Denver’s newest Dancetronica band [who’s] on the rise with a live show that produces everything you love about jam bands, electronic music and forward thinking improvisation.” Their approach on live performances is reminiscent of the early days of STS9, Lotus and the Disco Biscuits, with heavy influences from bass music and space-funk, according to Nermon. “Outfitted with years of sound-design experience, our group of instrumentalists will get your booty shaking with electronica inspired rhythms, and all without the use of any computers. Whether you love raging dance parties or beautiful down tempo grooves, Autonomix offers something for everyone.” The magic behind their music lies in their live shows and they are so excited to be showcased at Sonic Bloom 2019. Their debut album is being released this summer entitled “Counter Balance.” These are the reasons we are listing Autonomix as the MUST-SEE, “Sleeper-set” of the festival. Catch Autonomix on Friday at the Hummingbird Stage from 3:45pm-4:45pm.
For even more must see artists, we’ve updated the SV Featured Favorites Playlist released earlier this week and its 100% Sonic Bloom themed. Check here for the full article on and playlist, which included even more quotes and interviews, and our advice on some must-hear music during the event.
At Sonic Bloom there is something for everyone at any point in time. One of our favorite parts of Bloom is the endless availability for things to be done and not just seen. The interactive installations & zones of fun are found throughout the festival grounds.
Krissy & Heather are Native Texans and biological sisters. Together they are the owners, operators and head “bartenders” at The Complimentary Bar. This is no regular bar. Instead, get ready for an uplifting and welcoming atmosphere for all types. There is no dedicated “bartender” but rather a unique opportunity for any festival goer to step in behind the bar and serve up their best compliments. The Sisters promised us, “we're all gonna get drunk on love and start a ripple effect of kindness. It's fun, it's free and you're sure to walk away feeling AMAZING!”
The Complement Queens also focus on helping people learn how to accept a compliment. “Here's a hint: just say thank you,” said the sisters. The interactive experience begins when the festival attendees step inside the bar and take on a "shift" guest bartending. When asked about whether you can find an actual drink at The Complementary Bar, Krissy & Heather told us, “Nope. We're always completely out of drinks...BUT this open bar is well stocked with compliments, interactive experiences, bad jokes, puns, and all sorts of shenanigans. We've had numerous "customers," say they visited The Bar looking for drinks but left with something far better.”
Finally, we asked how The Complimentary Bar come about, and what helped to inspire the concept. They told us, “We feel the people of the world (especially nowadays) need more positive reinforcement in their lives. A compliment can truly change someone's entire day, and what better way to make people smile than with a fun little play on words like a Complimentary Bar!? So we built this rustic looking saloon that provides a carefree environment giving people permission to interact. It’s an organic social experience that boosts self-confidence through the exchange of compliments. The Bar is where the awkward, the lost and the solo adventurers form connections with a tribe of new friends. The Complimentary Bar is always open, as “guest bartenders” are invited to step behind the bar and serve compliments day or night.” Whether you walk up in need of a fresh confident boost or are in the mood to make someone's day, we positively recommend spending some time here.
Soundscape Virtual Reality boasts itself the world's first virtual music venue. Instead of the replication of live music, Soundscape VR uses controllers that allow the individual to fly through space as well as control their own combinations of visual effects. While the headset allows the user to be immersed in an all-inclusive experience, there are several large screens that allow curious spectators to be part of the spectacle that is this evolutionary technology. Handheld controllers and a 360-degree view give the user the ability to move about as if they are actually a character in the simulation, not just a distant puppet master. Sonic Bloom uses the VR area to give people a psychedelic audiovisual interface that includes millions of combinations of music choices that can be paired with whatever fantastical landscape you choose to explore.
Frick Frack Blackjack rounds out our list of interactive installations you’ll want to hit. “Frick” has made his rounds through the festival circuit and has quickly become a festival favorite. We can’t wait to play along in his game of trades at Sonic Bloom this year. In Frick’s zone, you will find a game of gambling, but your money’s no good here. Make sure to bring your nick-nacks because the only bets placed at this table is whatever you happen to have in your fanny pack.
As we’ve mentioned, there’s tons to do during the multi-day festival. That’s why we connected with one of the many workshop leaders, Monica Waumann, and asked her to describe hers for us.
Monica Waumann: “You can expect to feel energized and relaxed. The intention behind this laughter journey with raw chocolate is to cultivate the energy of laughter into our daily lives. Participants are encouraged to make eye contact, engage in different exercises including integrative movements, breathing techniques, positive affirmations and invitations to play. We use raw cacao, the heart opening plant medicine, to help us create more blood flow to the brain, to strengthen our awareness and focus. You can expect to learn simple and powerful self-care practices and how to unlock laughter’s ability strengthen all immune functions, decrease pain, release tension and stress and break the cycle of negativity and improve one’s mood.”
SV: Will you be using cacao at sonic bloom?
MW: “YES! I will be using the cacao plant medicine, that was prepared at El Pital, The Chocolate Paradise located in Ometepe, the magical island formed by two volcanoes inside the lake of Nicaragua.”
SV: What drew you to teaching workshops & sharing your knowledge?
MW: “Radical Self-Love. Being in love with life, and everything in it. My passion for laughter, playfulness, and well-being sparked the flame in me to share the tools that have helped me cultivate inner peace, clarity in my life, increased sense of awareness, motivation and productivity. Laughter is my daily ritual to keep myself aligned with my highest self and in the present moment to fully embrace the "Now" and experience the joy of being.”
For a complete list of all the workshops and their leaders, check here.
You should be well on your way to being a Sonic Bloom Pro by now. If you don’t already have your tickets be sure to snag them before they run out this week! Tickets can be found here. Be sure to swing by the SharedViews media booth and say hi. We will be featuring some of our own amazing artists at our booth, as well as highlighting some local artists with some secret sets. Mostly, we’d love to just say hi and see your smiling faces! Happy Bloom everyone, and we will see you out on The Unified Field!