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2013 Sonic Bloom Festival Recap; 3 Days Of Bliss Followed By 1 Day of Heartbreak

Sonic Bloom Festival Recap

This past weekend Sonic Bloom took place in Georgetown, Colorado.

As one of the world’s top-tier transformational music festivals, Bloom has been running for 8 years straight in various locations across Colorado.

Each year the festival’s growth has been smooth and gradual with no major incidents to report. That is, until this year.

Following 3 amazing days filled with music, sunshine and stellar vibes, the scene at Shadows Ranch took a turn for the unexpected early on Sunday morning- the final day of the annual event.

Man Found Dead At Sonic Bloom

Festival goers staying in “Camp Outback”, across the street from the main concert field, were awaken by the sound of an ambulance on Sunday morning. Immediately rumors swirled that a man had been found dead in the campsite. Though there has been no official word on the victim or the cause of death, our on-site investigation has us reporting that the man was 35 years old and passed away while inhaling nitrous oxide in a tent that did not belong to him. Another major rumor going around at Sonic Bloom was that the person who was selling the N20 was taken into custody and may face criminal charges.

During the time that the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office was onsite investigating/handeling the situation Sonic Bloom was put on a virtual hold. All music was stopped and all traffic in and out of the festival ceased. After a couple of hours the scene had settled down the festival organizers did something that no one else in this industry does; they decided to hold a community gathering and address what happened. The reality is that many music festivals deal with death every year and they try to remain as hush-hush about it as possible, so for Jamie Janover to call the Sonic Bloom community together for a conversation, prayer and group hug is unprecedented and very impressive.

Update: The identity of the decesed has been revealed to be Nolan Farrell, a 34 year old Boulder resident.

Microburst Hits Site / Festival Goer Tased

From Jamie Janover, the Producer of Sonic Bloom: “After the ceremony had concluded and the artists had returned to the stages, the Georgetown area was hit with a powerful microburst: a very short and very intense period of strong winds. At the festival, this blast of wind blew over a trailer belonging to one of the production crews and sent the artist and staff check in tent flying into power lines. Two Sonic Bloom staff members and one volunteer were injured. Thankfully, they sustained only minor injuries and have all since been released from the hospital.

The safety of everyone at the event is of the utmost concern to us and the festival’s procedures and site layout are designed to maximize safety given the unique features of the Shadow’s Ranch site. Right after the unexpected microburst, the stage and structure areas were evacuated and the festival staff began to do everything it could to return the site to normal function, including repairing the fence along Alvarado Road which had been blown over.

One somewhat unique feature of the Shadow’s Ranch festival site is that it is divided by Alvarado Road, which runs parallel to I-70 and can be busy on the weekends. Out of a concern for safety, the site is designed to restrict the crossing of Alvarado Road to a single designated crosswalk that has warning signage for motorists and is staffed by crossing guards. While the site was recovering from the microburst, an unclothed man left the pedestrian crossing and began running down the public Alvarado Rd. at which point the local authorities restrained the man using force, including the use of a taser. I am very disappointed that the option of the taser was utilized in this incident. It was an incredibly challenging day for all of us, as this was a disturbing and heartbreaking thing for us to witness.”

In Summary

Sonic Bloom 2013 was surely one for the books. As we walked back to our tent on Saturday night we were rating this Bloom 9 out of 10- easily one of the finest times I’ve personally had at this festival and I have been attending for 6 years. The campsites were more spacious and well lit, the musical lineup was great, the sound systems were dialed-in and the overall vibe was absolutely inline with how a transformational festival should be.

Now when you throw in Sunday’s events that number might be lowered, but I am torn on holding the heartbreak against festival organizers. The way that Janover and his team handled the news of an on-site death deserves applause and respect. Obviously the weather situation was out of anyone’s hand’s but the response from emergency personell was swift and on-point. Now that all being said, the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office response and handeling of the unclothed man raises some concerns about excessive force.

If Sonic Bloom is back in 2014, we will be there. There is no doubt that this is one of the world’s top-tier transformational music festivals and missing it would be a shame.

Sonic Bloom 2013 Photo Gallery Coming Soon!

No official statements have been given regarding any of the on-site situations from the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office but we will keep this article updated with any developments.

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