In only its third year, the Arise Music Festival is already getting national recognition by bands and the media. Featured in the recent edition of Rolling Stone, Arise has been described as “part Burning Man … pure Colorado.” Not only did Arise feature three stages packed with awesome musical acts like Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Ozomatli, and The Polish Ambassador, but Arise also had a very ambitious schedule of yoga classes, workshops, speakers, inspiring documentary films, a few dozen artists and art installations, and maybe one of the best children’s areas EVER at a festival.

Hosted at the beautiful Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, Arise is quickly becoming a fan and band favorite stop of the summer, and Rock the Earth’s involvement in this seminal event has been growing with each year.

This year, Rock the Earth led four major sessions in Arise’s Sunrise Dome, a permanent 400-seat, air-conditioned theater on site. Our work started Friday evening with an Arise Dialogue & Change Catalyst panel, with David Sulgalski (The Polish Ambassador), Ayla Nereo, and Ryan Rising, who talked about social change through music and the permaculture work these fine folks have been engaged in on the Polish Ambassador’s tour as well as in the days leading up to Arise.


RtE Executive Director with The Polish Ambassador

On Saturday afternoon, we hosted Wrenched, an award-winning documentary about raconteur and provocateur Edward Abbey, which was followed by a post-film discussion about the film and modern civil disobedience, led by environmental attorney Bob Lippman. Bob is an Ed Abbey associate and RtE Advisory Board member.

Later that day, Rock the Earth played host and moderator to another Arise Dialogue on Cultivating a Thriving Music Scene in Colorado’s Front Range with Dani Grant of SpokesBuzz and Taylor Denn of eTown.

Sunday had the biggest highlight of all for Rock the Earth. A Social Change Through Music session, originally scheduled to include just Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes), Josh Fox (Gasland) and moderator Marc Ross (RtE Executive Director), was expanded to include Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary), Bethany Yarrow, and Lyla June Johnson. During the course of the 90-minute session, the discussion ranged from the evolution of socially-conscious artists, to the restorative justice and climate change movements, to information about (and an informal fundraiser for) the Black Hills Unity Concert scheduled for August 28-30 in Piedmont, South Dakota. The session reached a pinnacle with a rousing and inspiring rendition of the classic Blowing in the Wind, in which each of the panelists sang the verses while an enthusiastic audience stood, held hands and joined in the choruses.

All in all, it was an amazing event for Rock the Earth with nearly 300 people signing petitions to protect Colorado wilderness!