Friday, June 21, 2013

Bloom Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Renegade Sound: Camp Fix Your Face @ Sonic Bloom 2013

Camp Fix Your Face
Well, the Sonic Bloom Festival 2013 has come to an end. My personal experience was unfortunately, completely jaded by a huge barrage of unrelated car trouble bullshit that came my way, but I will do my best to remain objective :) The crew and I got in early Thursday afternoon and spent the better part of the evening setting up CAMP FIX YOUR FACE. We had one of only two renegade sound systems in the campground and we were DEFINITELY the loudest. My homie Mikal Dark was resident DJ for the weekend, and we still had a slew of talent roll thru and throw down sets as well! Samuel L. DabsonProper Motion, SoDown, Treaphort, Tripmendous and NADASOUND Here's a little taste of the flavor we had goin on at homebase!

The Musical Performances

No one is more mad about it than me, but I missed A LOT of great sets this weekend :( My truck breaking down on the first day really ruined my trip. Being on the phone with the insurance company and AAA is a way no one wants to spend their festival time, but it had to be done. Regardless, I did catch some really amazing sets on Thursday and Friday. It's safe for me to go ahead and say, Krooked Drivers was hands down my favorite set of what I saw. Maddy and Donnie aka Krooked Drivers played only a short 30 minute guest spot during Mikey Thunder's set alongside the wax cuts master himself. Here's my favorite bit of footage from their set:

Another up and coming producer than I was super excited about seing at the festival was kLL sMTH. I missed his set. I know, I know.... I'm pretty upset about it too. That's not going to stop me from sharing his amazing Pre-Bloom Mixtape he dropped right before the festival. It's fire, I promise you that :)

From what I heard from everyone, the top headliners of the weekend were hands down Polish Ambassador and OPIUO. I saw TPA last year at Desert Rocks and he simply crushed it. I first saw him mobbing around the campground in a flying saucer-esque renegade sound system on wheels. I chased it. :)  I was able to score some photos of TPA's set from Miss Bronzy Wizzle from The Daily Steeze. If you don't know about it- check it out @ or check out the rest of the photo album HERE.  And here's a little taste in case you live under a rock or something....:)

Enough crying over spilt milk. I still caught some great sets and I will now share them with you. This here is a playlist of all my raw footage of the sets I caught on Thursday and Friday. It includes videos of The Digital Connection, Samples, Cloud D, Krooked Drivers, Kruza Kid, ill-esha, Wick-It the Instigator, Marcutio, Minnesota, and more. ALSO!! Here is our OFFICIAL Fix Your Face Radio Sonic Bloom Recap Video that includes footage straight from the press conference with artists like Random Rab, Bluetech, David Starfire, Lucent Dossier Experience, The Werks, and more!

Between the Vibes: Vendors, Production, Food/Beverage, Festival Staff, etc.

First off, I'd  like to tip my hat to the Media organizer, Ami Heinrich of Tsunami Publicity. I've been a press attendee of more than my fair share of concerts, events, and festivals, and Sonic Bloom was BY FAR, the most organized as far a Press was concerned. The "Press Conferences" were something I'd never seen done before at an event like this, and I think its a great idea and it worked out very well. It was great to get a chance to sit with several artists and get lots of information in a more relaxed setting than a 1 on 1 interview. And they even provided us with Sonic Palmers in an already composting eco-friendly cup to help ease the flow of our questions!

I must say that the sheer amount of art brought by the attendees was amazing! Between the handmade jewelry, trash to treasure sculptures, and live light installations, the eye never had a dull moment. There was even a vendor tent doing custom funky haircuts and trim designs! While I didn't do any yoga, there was definitely plenty of it going on, I saw more yoga butts attached to dreadlocked ladies than I thought was humanly possible.

The food was hit or miss; a $7 Pad Thai was a mound of delicious food, however, everything from the pizza cart was overpriced and a small/shitty portion and the employees rocked out of theirs minds on god knows what was semi unpleasant to deal with.  The coffee was FANTASTIC, although I never had the patience to actually wait in line to get a cup of it for myself ( thank you friends for bringing me my juice :))

The "no booze on the campground" rule kinda blew. I had a hard time catching a buzz on $12 double whiskey gingers, in spite of the advertised "heavy handed bartenders of Cervantes". If you brought a cup back it was only $10. Yay. $5 per shot. I realize everyone wants a piece of the action and liquor laws are tough, I'm just sayin, as a consumer: I'm camping; I NEED to get drunk enough to fall asleep on ground.

Chaotic Sunday Bloom

I left the festival early on Sunday to deal with my broken down truck, so I can report to you only from what the festival press release said, and some stories written by other journalists in attendance of Sonic Bloom this year. This video is of a happy go lucky streaker being repeatedly shocked with a taser pistol by Clear Creek County Police Officers.

Yes, he is probably on drugs. But does that make this okay? You can't have the light without the dark, but this is some pretty repugnant shit. This video, coupled with the eye-witness account that I read in the Westword BackBeat was eye-opening, to say the least. Here is that story in its entirety:

 Michael Kroog, the man who shot the cell phone video of the still-unnamed nude man being tased, got in touch with [Westword Backbeat] yesterday in response to our original post, and wanted to offer up his version of the events and also to add some context to the clip. According to Kroog, it was just after 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon when the whole thing went down. Continue on to read his full eye-witness account, which, aside from adding a few paragraph breaks for readability, is completely unedited and in his own words. 
From Michael Kroog, via email (unedited):"From what I can best remember, I was on the phone with my father at the time reminding him of my appreciation for him as it was Father's day. While on the phone I first witness a man with what looked to have one of the happiest expressions I've ever seen running naked down the street which sandwiched some of Sonic Bloom's camping and the festival grounds itself. After my father realizing I was distracted I told him I had to get off the phone and this is when I saw one of the (rather large bodied) security guards side check the happy naked man into the shoulder of the road and that is when the police stepped in.
I would like to first mention that there was already a heavy presence of police at Sonic Bloom and I noticed this after being told about Sonic Bloom's policy on Amendment 64. There was in the schedule in clear writing saying that Sonic Bloom was considered public property' and that you could still be ticketed for having/smoking marijuana. I noticed at least 3 sets 3 cops (at least 9) on Friday evening in the grounds. So there was already a heavy presence of police at Sonic Bloom. 
So again, after seeing the 2 police officers headed towards the naked man now laying the street, I immediately apologized to my father and hung up the phone (with 1% battery left) and began shooting video and ran towards the scene on the other side of the fence. At this time the 2 police officers rolled the man into the ditch and he began squirming and a crowd gathered. As the naked man obviously confused and still smiling one of the police officers (in my opinion felt alarmed by the crowd) and began electrocuting the naked man with his taser. 
As far as I know, tasers are to be used when under 'the most alarming' situations'. I personally was more alarmed by the police than anything else...The officer tased the man repeatedly and if you watch the video you can see the fear escalate with the officer with the taser as he continues to electrify the helpless man. This is of course my opinion and you should ask the questions for yourself in order to determine what was going on in the police officers mind. 
After at least 8 electrocutions and one of the EMT's screaming at the officer "you are going to kill him, stop" (which you can see in the video) the man was finally taken into an ambulance. After standing along that fence still trying to figure out What the Fuck just happened, roughly 30 minutes after everyone cleared a big unmarked SUV drove down the street with 8 heavily strapped SWAT officers on the side of the vehicle. I didn't realize until later but I am fairly certain this was called from the officer with the taser in hand asking for backup... 
I lastly would like to state that for future situations such as this, for those in the crowd to do their best to remain calm and try and calm the situation instead of helping escalate it. I am certainly not blaming the crowd for yelling at the police but this policeman was obviously terrified and because of that there is now possible risk of brain damage. Please, in terrifying situations remember to act on volition and not impulse."
“They brutally took him down, tackled him into a ditch and repeatedly tasered him,” Sonic Bloom spokeswoman and witness Ami Heinrich told The Denver Post on Monday. “I believe they may have overreacted and detained the man in a way that could be considered excessive force.”

“I am very disappointed that the option of the taser was utilized in this incident,” said Sonic Bloom producer Jamie Janover in a statement. “It was an incredibly challenging day for all of us, as this was a disturbing and heartbreaking thing for us to witness.”

And that's not all. There was also a man by the name of Nolan Farrel found dead in a strangers tent early Sunday morning. I heard several rumors about two deaths that were heroin and nitrous related, respectively, but as of today, only one death has been confirmed and the festival spokespersons are saying that at this time, "there's no reason to believe drugs are involved". A 400-500 person group hug broke out Sunday at the festivals opening to honor their fallen fellow concertgoer.

There was also a sort of miniature tornado called a "micro burst" that ripped through the festival grounds on Sunday, overturning an RV parked near the Media check in booth. Some people were trapped inside until being cut out and rescued, and thankfully, no serious injuries were sustained.

All in all, I'd say the festival organizers were dealt a pretty rough hand on Sunday. But despite all the tragedy; the festival was a success with over 3,500 attendees, over 100 magical performances by some of the most talented musicians in the electronic music realm, tons of artists of too many mediums to count, grips of motivational speakers, and workshops on more than a dozen different subjects.

The term "transformational" is definitely a good word to use to describe the 2013 Sonic Bloom Festival. Many people transformed their way of thinking, some will transform their way of living. For me, this festival changed the way I feel about myself in relation to the community I once held so dear. I am no longer a spectator; strung out on more acid than I can handle. That is a part of me that I have had a hard time letting go of. I am now only interested in this community if I can be a positive moving part; crucial to the movement. I leave you with that idea. Are you simply a spectator in the community you love? Think again, if your community doesn't move you in a way that forces you to get out there and be an important part of it, than it probably isn't the community for you. - FIX YOUR FACE RADIO

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