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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Silver Cloud Campout 6.8 & 6.9.16

The Homestead Events Park
Haugan, Montana

Words & photos by Brad Hodge

In this day and age of complete music festival saturation there are a handful of festivals you could chose from every weekend. Many are massive conglomerates of multi genre, mass marketing and fields full of people. These mega festivals are exciting, but seem to all play out with the same lineup, 4-8 stages to sort thru and more emphasis on the festivals overall profitability. However, there are still many family run, grass roots festivals all across the country that offer up a unique experience; this is where Silvercloud Campout enters.

This family run festival that happens on farmland nestled in the Silver Valley of western Montana offers up a music festival that plays out more like a family reunion. Dogs are free to roam the grounds, slack lines, fire pits and dream catchers fill the space in front of the stage. The food is sourced locally, as is the beer, liquor and many of the bands. It just so happens that the local bands this year included national touring acts like The Kitchen Dwellers and The Lil Smokies. Joined by friends and family like Leftover Salmon, Jelly Bread, Fruition (a repeat performer from years past), Dead Winter Carpenters and many more. As well, the not as well known locals like Dodgy Mountain Men, Cole and the Thorns put forth a great sets of music.

Throughout the day you could find the artists roaming the grounds, hanging out with friends, watching sets of music and greeting fans. This is the type of place where everyone feels comfortable, and the artists spend as much time out in the crowd as they do tucked away behind the fences of separation. There were sit ins like when Emily Clark jumped out of the audience to join Jelly Bread, and when Andy Dunnigan (The Lil Smokies dobro player) jumped in to mix it up with Leftover Salmon. Music went late with the Kitchen Dwellers playing on Friday night until after 3:00 AM and then the fields proceeded to ring out to sunrise with campsite pickin' parties.

If you wanted to fill your day with activities other than music, there is world class fly fishing, hot springs and one of the countries premiere bike parks within a 45 minute drive of the festival grounds. So you could easily pursue other passions and still make it back in time for the evening’s music lineup.

It really is hard to beat Montana in the summertime, and with the addition of great music festivals like Silvercloud Campout not sure you should even try. This event continues to grow, as this year they doubled their attendance from last year. Yet, no matter how far the word reaches of the festival it will always continue to be put on by a family of music lovers, on their farm and filled with people they consider friends. Which in my most humble of opinions is exactly how it should be.

Brad's Photo Gallery


Friday, June 15, 2018

Dead Funk Summit 6.8.18 (Photos)

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 6.7 - 6.11.18 (Photos)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Summer Camp Music Festival 5.24 - 5.27.18 (Photos)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Coal Town Reunion & Playing For Change 6.8.18 (Photos)

A Trip To Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf
Santa Fe, NM

Words & Photos by J. Picard

You've probably heard of Meow Wolf. Those two words are typically used in a sentence alongside words like "incredible," "psychedelic," "stunning" and "indescribable." I reflected on how to describe our experience as I picked up the pieces of my mind in a parking lot on a Sunday around sunset in Santa Fe, NM. "I have to tell people about this place. But how...?" My wife Carly, who had been encouraging the conversation to head south from Colorado suggested we go sit on the patio of a brewery just a few blocks away to collect ourselves. We sat across from one another sampling a variety of craft brews, laughing about the alternate reality that we had just crawled into and managed to crawl out of. We had been to a variety of art museums, music festivals, Burning Man... but this was something different. This was a complete playground for the mind, funded by none other than George R.R. Martin, creator of Game of Thrones. We bought the tickets, heightened our experience and walked down a dark hallway where we were greeted by a video letting us know that we were being watched. We opened the door and on the other side, "The House of Eternal Return."

The door shut behind us as we stood in what felt like the outdoors in front of a large Victorian house. Adjacent to us was a lamp post and a mailbox. As our "enhancements" kicked in, we made little sense of the underlying plot. We approached the porch and could see into the house where other guests were digging into the experience. Glancing down passing through the threshold, a door mat read "beyond here there be dragons." Inside and to our left there was a small front room with a chair and an easel and people sorting through what felt like clues. To our right was a large open living room with a couch, chair and coffee table... all of the normal furnishings. In the corner sat a young man in a white coat, which signified a staffer. Through the living room was the dining room that output an eerie vibe. For instance, the wainscoting was taking on a wavy shape and the chandelier was melting as if were in a Salvador Dali painting. I pulled out the chair at the head of the table and sat down triggering the lights to flicker and dim as a bassy, bottoms out noise overtook the room. We hadn't been in the house more than a couple of minutes and shit was getting weird. Behind me a face appeared in the mirror.

We sauntered through the kitchen knowing full well that we would return to explore the room and headed upstairs past photos of the fictional family, who at the moment felt real, immersed in their home among their belongings. We passed a group of guests hard at work on some sort of puzzle on a computer. We entered a child's room that had bunk beds, art projects, toys, a model of a woolly mammoth and everything else that would be found in a kid's room. I glanced out the front window and the bright light of what appeared to be the moon glowed across my face. Carly was going through different items on a book shelf. It felt weird to be going through someone's room, but little did we know how weird it was about to get. I walked across the room and opened the closet door to reveal a magical land. I grabbed Carly's hand and pulled her in.

The best way to describe what we experienced was like a sort of fairy land with glowing vegetation and vibrant colors surrounding us. We proceeded down a corridor which opened up into a glowing green room. Down below people were playing the neon pink rib cage of what appeared to be an enhanced woolly mammoth from the small child's model in the room. This was our first foray into the alternate realm and it was a dead end. We turned around and headed back through the closet door into the normality of the room. Immediately, I wanted to go back, so we continued down the hallway of the house to another room. This time it seemed it was the room of an older, maybe college level student, with more science oriented objects. A group of people were working on some sort of audio device, as they listened to headphones and made adjustments to some sort of science project. The room felt a little crowded so I made my way towards a bookshelf that must open, right? Indeed it did and we were on our way into a circular room that felt like the inside of a spaceship with LED lights streaking down the ceiling. We sat briefly and then continued through another door into the room of another teen. By the looks of it, it was a girls room with posters of 90's kid idols hanging on the wall. I pulled the curtains back and it revealed an insane scene of colorful chaos on the other side of the wall.

We exited the room and squeezed through a small crack into a small space with mirrors, lights and an upright piano. We continued down a dark hall until we realized that we were in a closet alongside hangers and shirts. We opened the door and re-entered the room in which we had just left through the bookcase. And though it felt like forever since we had been in that room, the people looked at us surprised as we exited the closet and then looked over their shoulders at the shelf. It was pure madness and we had yet to truly dive in. Across the hall we entered the bathroom. The floor rippled like waves of water. We glanced at the clawfoot tub and pulled back the curtain to nothing out of the ordinary. I opened the medicine cabinet to find a never ending hole.

Back downstairs in the living room an odd glow emitted from the fire place, so of course, we climbed through. On the other side we found ourselves in the room of the glowing mammoth skeleton, so we grabbed mallets and began to play its ribs, which were very responsive. After losing track of time, we climbed back into the living room where the TV was showing static and entered the kitchen where all seemed semi-normal. Around the corner we located the famous washing machine and I opened it up and dove in head first. Inside was a room of mirrors and flashing blue lights. I rolled out of a side door into a full on experience. There were lights, trees, owls, stuffed animals, TVs, LEDs and an overwhelming Dr. Seuss feel. We wandered aimlessly, satisfied, fulfilled. I crawled into another small space and opened a triangular door which came out from under the stars back in the house. A couple looked at us puzzled and then crawled through the same door that we came out of, trading realities. The complexity of the exhibit hit me. All of the passageways and intertwining of different realities was staggering, especially in our state of mind.

We returned to the kitchen where Carly rummaged through the cupboards before opening the fridge, which shined an almost blinding white light. We walked into the appliance and the fridge door closed behind us. We made our way down a white hallway and into a room with a sign on the wall that read "Bermuda Portals, your gateway to the multiverse." It felt like a scene out of Star Trek or Star Wars. A hologram of a woman on a console in the center of the room directed us to room 4. We exited the room into a wrap around hallway and put our hand on a panel with a hand print, clearly marked to open a door. Through it was not room 4, the door opened and in we walked to a small glowing red room. Our eyes adjusted and we were standing in an outdoorscape with glowing blue cactus in front of a small camper trailer. We wandered in and sat at the table. In the windows were scenes of expansive deserts and arches. Carly turned the dial on the radio and the station playing in the camper changed.

We passed through a small opening into a room with carpet all over everything and a couch that appeared to be melting into the ground. Around the corner and we were fully engulfed in psychedelia. We crawled in and out of openings and up stairs to the upper level where it felt like we were walking among the tree tops. We came upon a group of people with a kid in front of a bunch of colorful, illuminated squares. The kid had taken a photo of some pictures hanging on the wall in the house and they were using it as a guide or key to change the colors of squares with corresponding shapes on the squares to match the photo. When all of the squares were correct, the lights went out and came back in full color with another clue indicating a number sequence. The kid and his father then took the code and entered it into a safe on the wall. Though a white coat confirmed the code was correct, she also confirmed that the safe was not operational at current. Though it was disappointing, it eluded to more happening than just the flashing lights.

Just when we thought we must have seen all there is to see we would find a door, a ladder or an opening to crawl through into a whole new world of chaos. In the middle of it all we found a four hundred person venue, surrounded by stimuli. We stumbled into a dark room with a smoke machine and lasers from floor to ceiling. We ran our hands through the lasers and they acted as a harp. After that we found an unmarked door that led us into a colorful room with animal heads constructed of colorful shapes hung on the wall. Just outside of that room we found an all white room with a giant white rabbit staring down at us from the upper corner of the room. We wandered inside of the rabbit and when we came out there was an older couple, maybe in their 70's or 80's with a cane and a walker smiling at us. It must have been crazy to live through all that they had lived through to end up at a place like Meow Wolf.

At some point we wandered out, through the gift shop to the concession area where we bought beers and sat at a table in front of an enormous tree designed by Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, titled "The King's Mouth." The tree was constructed with silver balloons, mylar and foil and had a face with an open mouth and rubber tongue protruding onto the floor, as well as a solid backstory. Carly climbed in and lights started streaming down ropes inside of the tree. It was bright in the lobby area and as I took the last couple of sips of my pale ale, I got excited to step back inside. We headed back down the dark hallway, through the door and into the front yard of "The House of Eternal Return." As it was later in the day on a Sunday, we had the place almost all to ourselves and we took our time with wide eyes. We entered the house and it was oddly quiet. I could hear guests upstairs and there was a white coat sitting in the chair in the living room, but that was about it. We did a deeper scan of the items on the desks, tables and fridge and took our time taking in the artistic embellishments of the house itself. It was clear that there was something deeper going on. There was the obvious story line, as well as what seemed to be clues... everywhere.

After poking around for a bit on the main floor, we made our way into the fridge and back to the portals where we explored additional rooms that we had missed prior and tried to paint as complete a picture of the experience for our minds. After another hour or so of discovery and enjoyable repetition, we returned to the gift shop, feeling out of it from all of the stimulation. We exited Meow Wolf and stood in the parking lot, catching the tail end of daylight and trying to sort our next move. No matter where the path lead from here: To the brewery, to our hotel, back to Colorado... It would definitely bring us back to Sante Fe's (and maybe the country's) most impressive immersive art dream. Stay tuned for Meow Wolf Las Vegas in 2019 and Meow Wolf Denver in 2020! In the meantime, head south to Santa Fe...


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dead Funk Summit 6.8.18 (Photos)

Music on The Mothership 6.1 - 6.3.18 (Photos)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Movement Detroit 5.26 - 5.28.18

Hart Plaza
Detroit, MI

Words by Kevin Alan Lamb

The scene was set - techno and rapidly moving particles ensured heat was in the air. From great distances they traveled; with great disparity of culture they found higher ground; and with good intentions souls soared well before they even stepped foot into the holy land that is the city I love and stand by. I’ve never needed to live within city lines to practice my faith, the same way I don’t need someone to paint me a picture of love to know how it feels.

With music in our veins there is hope for peace in our practical lives; and with hope for something decent and long avoided those who drive our fear may suddenly feel what it is to be afraid. The gates are open, the heat is imminent, and the potential is endless... will you embrace it or fool-heartedly swim against a destined current? By now I reckon you know where I reside on the matter. With a line in the sand I stand and you better believe I fucking dance. Take a moment for yourself: take a moment for another, and feel where they meet in between.

Now that you are ready to proceed, it is essential we discuss a few rules to ensure each of us is prepared to help one another navigate the path to a successful Movement.

1. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re not rad as fuck.

The key to being happy is being. We must have confidence in our choices, abilities, and believe in ourselves before others will. When we utilize our gifts and pursue our passion, others are drawn to us the way we are drawn to the sun, moon, and stars.

2. Always find time for the things that make you happy to be alive.

Life is not too short or too long; it is precious. When you gaze upon your life in the rearview mirror, be mindful of how and who you spend your time on and with. Your energy is your currency; give it to those who reciprocate, and efforts that help replenish it. Too often I let great lengths of time pass without writing, and my soul begins to dim. Grab hold of what makes you shine and never let go. Take inventory of those who bring you down, and replace them with those who lift you up.

3. Dance like nobody’s watching.

Everybody has their own song; and everybody can dance to their own tune. The more you dance the less you think about it, and begin to find your way. There is a rhythm inside of us all that we must search for in all things; a part of us that is a part of the grand design of the universe. Laugh at yourself and be silly while embracing your potential to surprise yourself and others. Be unpredictable, but consistent.

4. You look super cute when you smile.

Everyone’s best self is realized in a smile, and your smile may just save someone’s life. If and when you find your smile slipping from your face, look to the company keep, potential you deter, and choices you regret. Learn from the part of you that you dislike, to grow the part of you that you love.

5. Once in a while, blow your own damn mind.

Refuse limits; do not let the road behind you determine the road before you. Dare to challenge your insecurities and weaknesses. Believe the impossible is just a limited perception. Let others show you the road to something magical.

6. Being different is one of the most beautiful things in the world.

We spend too much time trying to be like others, meanwhile there’s a world of people out there ready to love you for being yourself. Each self is unique and magical in its ability to forge an identity independent of the skin, bones, and organs that make us all the same. You were given gifts to discover those who can benefit from their strength; you were given weaknesses to find those who can help you grow.

7. We are a little weird.

It didn’t used to be cool to carry a Good Sign.

Those who know me best will tell you that my expertise does not reside within electronic music; but they will probably also tell you that has never stopped me from having an extraordinary time embracing its healing vibrations and finding beauty in discovering something new and spectacular. The seven rules above were given to me one at a time, via seven cards by an individual who I have long been connected to, but only now just had the great pleasure of meeting face to face. For the sake of this story we shall call him Captain Peacock, and I must thank him for reminding me of my mission to make the world a happier, more friendly place, one Good Sign at a time.

Captain Peacock has carried a Good Sign for years, using it to help others navigate troubled waters, reminding them that they carried the keys to happiness and ultimately the Universe inside themselves. He is an engineer by trade who ran for University class president under the campaign slogan of, This is a Good Sign. When he carried it he learned that not only did it help carry him, but others. If you attended Movement this year you likely crossed his path: his Good Sign was beautifully painted and paired with “Don’t Panic” on the back. More than ever our world insists we be afraid and panic over the lack of moral fiber and decency of others; Captain Peacock reminds us all to stay the course, do not be afraid, and absolve others of their fears.

This year I connected with the music more than any previous Movement, mostly because I’ve found a few key humans named Marcus, Sarah, and Bram who have great taste and take the decision out of my efforts. Similar to 2017, we spent most of our time at the Pyramid Stage, which was the benefactor of a nice facelift as they shifted the stage to be parallel with the Detroit River (previously perpendicular), drastically improving crowd flow and spacing, leaving a great sidecar of space where the stage had been moved from. This was definitely the most intimate of areas in the venue, which is nice for a fella like myself who spends most his time in the public eye. A little bit of personal space is essential to connecting to the music and finding the rhythm with those around you and really lose yourself in a two hour set without so much as a conscious thought other than - get back in rhythm. From here I embraced my favorite performances on the weekend, courtesy of Maceo Plex, Nina Kraviz, and Ellen Alien, all of whom I was at best, vaguely familiar with prior. The growing presence of female DJs at Movement is a good indicator of how our world is positively reacting to poor leadership in this country. I felt empowered by the voice portrayed on behalf of all women, and look forward to the continued demonstration of feminism on grand stages. Despite the shit in the world, the creative community in Detroit is open minded, decent, and grateful for our mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, and providers of life.

For those who have never experienced Movement, DEMF, or Hart Plaza, it is pretty special to be able to navigate any two points within the venue in five minutes or less. Each stage offers its own charm, elements, and style of music to satisfy each and everyone one of your whims and festival induced attention to or disregard to detail. It was the hottest Movement of my record, weighing in at a sizzling 95 degrees which is increasingly felt in a concrete jungle. With that said, the fountain has always been a gathering place and epicenter between all stages, serving as the precipice of not competing, but collective energy where attendees cool down, lay down, and retreat to rediscover one another when it’s about that time. My friends and I took great appreciation for the reasonable three dollar price point of waters, and were additionally grateful for the Movement team handing out free waters Monday night as the festival closed out and we herded our way back into society.

Movement has done for Detroit what SXSW has done for Austin, Texas. Folks travel from all around the world and are given the opportunity to experience a festival a la carte with the plethora of official day parties and after parties, allowing folks to pick and choose the music and experiences that best suite them and their availability. Detroit has long be on the up and up, yet never looks finer than Memorial Day Weekend, when it becomes an international destination for the most talented, experienced, and well groomed party people who rage with a conscience and regard for the environment they contribute to.

Once more Movement came to its inevitable conclusion and I walked out of Hart Plaza on Monday night being inspired by all of you. Each year I forget the way our community has grown and how much this effort is a part of my soul. I am grateful to live in a world where I have a voice, and I am thankful the path I walk helps others find their own. Just in case you were looking for one, This is a Good Sign; And just in case you were listening for one, This is a Good Sound.


Parquet Courts 6.6.18 (Photos)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sasquatch Music Festival 5.27.18 (Photos)