Sonic Bloom Made Its Educational Offerings Cooler Than Ever This YearArticle by: Cameron Crumpler
Mon June 12, 2017 | 11:00 AM
Sonic Bloom has been a force of progressive music, transformational thought and innovative green initiatives for over ten years. Recently, many like-minded festivals such as Lightning in a Bottle (The Compass), Lucidity (Lucid University), and Burning Man (Fly Ranch) have stepped up their educational programming with offerings emphasizing real-world change and action in order to strengthen the transformational experience. Sonic Bloom is now integrating similar ambitions into their own vision, and it's dubbed the Sonic Bloom Academy.
Set in the intimate and pristine natural expanse of Colorado’s Hummingbird Ranch, Sonic Bloom Academy is curated by a team of world-class instructors in the unique array of thought leadership that make Sonic Bloom so special. Jamie Janover, the festival’s founder, says that at the Academy, “people contribute their energies in whatever way they feel inspired and they gain an increased sense of the interconnectedness of all things through the field we all share, the structure of space-time itself… a unified field.” The programming is broken down into four tracts: Music (specifically Ableton Live), Movement, Visual Art, and Permaculture. Janover and the Sonic Bloom team’s intention with the Academy is to take the aspects of the festival that has inspired Sonic Bloom's devotees for years and turn those into a more digestible and proactive format that allows participants to grow into more expressive and inspiring individuals.
Sonic Bloom Founder Jamie Janover. Photo by: ReSunator
The Academy begins on Sunday night — the week of the festival — and gives students over three whole days in which to dive deeper into one of the fields of expertise that makes festivals like Sonic Bloom so inspiring. Only about 100 people are strewn about amongst the different intensives, making for an intimate, in-depth experience accompanied by access to the most prime camping areas on the festival site.
Sonic Bloom has had a focus on curating progressive talents and thought forms since its early days. Back in 2007, in the festival's second year, the Ableton Live production software had just gone through a major update, offering new innovations and flexibility within the program that would fundamentally change the future of electronic music. Los Angeles-based producer Ooah, a member of the then newly founded Glitch Mob, was beginning to make waves with the group's ultra processed, glitched-out production style. Sonic Bloom had the honor that year to host the first workshop Ooah ever led, showcasing his then cutting-edge techniques. The idea of hosting progressive electronic music think-tanks is something the festival’s organizers are making a much more refined and expansive version of this year.
The Ableton Live Master Series is the music course, and is led by production gurus Aaron Holstein (aka Vibesquad) and Isaac Cotec (aka Subaqueous). It is projected to be the most popular of the four tracts. Students who have never touched Ableton before as well as seasoned producers will feel challenged and exposed to unique insights from these two respected electronic music innovators. Janover’s aim is for students to collaborate on a finished piece that showcases what they have learned, using field-recorded sounds from surrounding nature and expert teachings from Holstein and Cotec.
“Part of Sonic Bloom’s essence is collaboration, and we hope to showcase that at the Academy and throughout the weekend,” Janover says.
The Visionary Art Series is an equally fertile creative space, headed by four esteemed individuals – David Heskin, Aloria Weaver, Randal Roberts, and Morgan Mandala – who have founded a Colorado alliance of visual artists and have taught around the world from Vienna to Indonesia. Janover’s goal for the group is "to go from the imagination to the canvas, and all the technical aspects of how to do that, as well as a lot of esoteric and spiritual aspects.” The three-day workshop will use ancient and modern materials and aims to cultivates artistic technique, as well as a meditative mindset which allows one to connect to the higher consciousness required to receive the transmissions that are so revered in the visionary art world.
The Academy’s Movement Arts Series takes your practice much deeper than anything you can experience at a typical festival. Students can choose to take classes on either traditional yoga, or other styles of movement including acroyoga, acrobatics and slacklining. Regardless of the type of class, the course offers world-class teachings from certified instructors Michelle Griffith, Britta Rael, and Lei Lei de Kirby and Francis Dawson for those who want to improve their body awareness and movement modalities.
Lastly, the Permaculture Action Series focuses on innovative and proactive ways to use food and resources symbiotically to create a brighter future for our species and planet. In the series, students learn the intricacies of the design and process of permaculture, and how to effectively translate those skills in order to make a lasting impact on larger communities. The program’s instructors consist of Ryan Rising, organizer of the renowned Permaculture Action Tour, Mike Wird, a permaculture designer and founder of the social enterprise Regenerative Lifestyles, and Kendra Kruger, a community organizer who helps run the Denver Permaculture Guild. On the Thursday before the festival the class heads out to a local garden and hosts a Permaculture Action Day in order to spread the ideas learned in class out into the Colorado community.
The Sonic Bloom Academy is the perfect way to take the ideals of this forward-thinking festival to a new level by creating a focused learning environment for those dedicated to both individual and real-world improvement. For years, the festival community has shown an insatiable appetite for learning, alongside all the music and dancing. By pushing the boundaries of academia by presenting high caliber educational programming fueled by thought leaders and experts in an experimental and open festival setting, events like Sonic Bloom keep the festival community on the cutting edge of creating a better, more hopeful tomorrow.