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Colorado's Sonic Bloom Delivers Unique EDM Experience with Elation Lighting

Sonic Bloom Festival. Photo: Seth Watrous/Shutterfinger

Sonic Bloom, Colorado's premier EDM festival, is something people need to experience to fully grasp. Held at Hummingbird Ranch in the spectacular surroundings of Colorado's Spanish Peaks, Sonic Bloom is a unique mountain festival experience with a 21st century love vibe and some of the friendliest people to encounter at any music festival.

Denver-based Nexus Productions has been working the festival for the past four years and this year served as the main stage lighting vendor (Bloom Stage) for the first time, supplying all trussing, lighting, motors, distros, and more. "Sonic Bloom's lighting is focused around creating an intimate environment that compliments the many diverse acts throughout the weekend," said Nexus Productions owner Chuck Williams, who served as lead lighting designer for the Bloom Stage. "I've had this stage concept brewing in my head for a while now and I'm glad we were able to execute it. I really enjoy watching it go from our cads to a full blown festival stage."

All three of the festival's stages had their own distinct areas and character. The Bloom Stage saw popular acts The Polish Ambassador and The Floozies and was headlined on Saturday night by Gigantic Cheese Biscuits, an amalgamation of Big Gigantic, The String Cheese Incident, and the Disco Biscuits. Williams used Elation Professional's continuously rotating ACL 360 Bar LED moving bar effects together with Platinum Beam 5R beam lights to create a uniquely visual atmosphere. "I've owned a set of the Platinum Beam 5R's for a few years now," Williams states." They are a workhorse light and go on many of our setups. We just purchased the ACL 360 Bars this past May, but we've been using them on our festivals/tours for about a year."

Williams says that the ACL 360 Bars were the lead component to the main stage design. "The fixture itself is very versatile and can create so many different looks that you can't replicate with most other fixtures," he says of the color-changing moving batten that houses seven 15W RGBW LEDs. "With our circle truss hanging as a 'halo' we wanted to make it so the ACLs covered the whole ring. We found the magic number for our 20' circle was 24 units evenly spread."

The ACL 360 Bar is a diverse fixture with a tight beam that looks great as a blade effect across haze and is often used for eye candy looks or pixel mapping effects. "As the LD, I love the pixel mapping capability with the ACL 360 Bars," Williams said. "I spent a lot of time writing effects to utilize the pixels all weekend and the pixel mapping made for some incredible looks. They pack a really nice punch yet are incredibly lightweight and power efficient, which really helps on the big rigs. The speed on the fixtures is really great also -- quick and snappy."

Williams says the Platinum 5R Beams were his "main guns" in the rig with 24 fixtures all in the air. Twelve fixtures were mounted in-between each of the ACL Bars on the halo truss with the remaining 12 on a stage right/left raked truss. "The brightness and reliability of these fixtures are key," the LD stated, who says he was able to lower the halo truss, leaving it almost vertical as a backdrop for a few sets. "This created a whole new look for the stage and really made for some magical moments with the beams and ACLs working together."

After being held in several different locations over its 12-year existence, Sonic Bloom has found a home at Hummingbird Ranch. The 2017 edition, which ran June 15 - 18, proved a rousing success for Nexus Productions and production company Photon7, as well as for those who enjoy EDM music in a beautiful mountain setting. Williams concludes, "The whole Nexus team alongside the Photon7 crew all deserves a mention for an outstanding effort in making it all happen."

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(11 August 2017)

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