Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Electronic Dance Music Festival Enters The Metaverse

The best music festivals are worlds unto themselves. Burning Man, for example, looks like a madmax-esque dream fever, while Coachella is a celebrity carnival. Since its creation in 2006, Sonic Bloomone of Colorado’s biggest electronic dance music festivals, has cultivated a techno-psychedelic summer camp vibe, and this year’s trip to the Metaverse will reinforce that brand.

For the uninitiated, the Metaverse is a developing network of 3D worlds that exist on the Internet, at the Loan player one. Like the characters in the 2018 sci-fi movie, users can don goggles and explore virtual realms, where they interact with others. The ever-expanding metaverse has long fascinated Denver-based artist Annie Phillips, who in 2019 designed metaverse replicas of her RiNo digital art gallery, IRL Art, so patrons could virtually walk through the exhibition space. on different platforms. “People see the Metaverse as a reality check,” Phillips says, “but it’s a cool way to continue to experience art and feel connected to a community.”

Phillips wasn’t the only artist whose interest in the metaverse paid off during the pandemic. In October 2021, an event called Metaverse Festival streamed 80 different DJ, jazz, and funk sets live, drawing so many people that the concert’s server crashed. The popularity of the Metaverse Festival has Phillips, a longtime Sonic Bloom participant and its artistic director, wondering if a similar concept could improve the Colorado party upon its return from a two-year COVID-19 hiatus this this month (June 16-19). Ideally, the organizers of Sonic Bloom wanted to give the event a stronger digital presence. “We wanted to see how we could capture a small portion of that market,” says creative director Josh Davis, “and provide additional benefits to our attendees.”

Those perks start with a digital replica of Hummingbird Ranch, the Huerfano County campground that’s home to Sonic Bloom. Phillips and a team of 11 artists will design it on Decentraland, one of the most popular metaversal browsers. EDM fans who don’t want or can’t make it to the southern Colorado area can navigate the grounds using a computer or VR headset and view live streams of the performance. Festival-goers who make the physical trip will be treated to an art version of Pokémon Go: on their phones, they’ll see digital artwork created by Phillips and others in various locations around the grounds.

Even the entry system has become metaversal. Rather than using traditional ticketing, Sonic Bloom will issue artist-designed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to attendees. At their core, NFTs are digital works of art with encoded tracking information, which allows collectors to verify authenticity. In this case, it will also prevent resellers from buying the NFT tickets and reselling them at higher prices. For Sonic Bloom attendees who want to get even more out of their experience, additional NFT lines of code will serve as passwords to access festival bonuses, such as off-site secret sets.

The result of all this technology? Phillips hopes the Metaverse will make Sonic Bloom a more accessible experience. “We know there may be people with underlying health conditions who fear being in a crowd, or even parents who can’t just go to a festival for three days,” she says. “The Metaversal version means everyone will get a chance to experience Sonic Bloom.”

If you are going to

In person

Getting There: Visit rickyrides.com/sonic-bloom carpooling
To bring: Camping material
Price: Starting at $367, not including camping and parking (an addition of at least $162)

Virtual

Getting There : sonicbloomfestival.com
To bring: A sweet, rave-ready digital outfit for your avatar
Price: TBD at press time

Gerald R. Schneider