Music is like a kaleidoscope. Just as tiny shards of glass and beads shift through light to discover symmetrical reflection, forming a complex, colorful scene, music takes shape through the beautiful manipulation and connection of sounds, pleasing the ear much like a kaleidoscope optically does the eye.
And as the world of electronic music festivals boom like heavy bass vibrates through a speaker straight to the soul, Kaleidoscope Kamp Out is the perfect name forFlagstaff’s newest festival and addition to the local electronic dance music scene.
“A kaleidoscope has many different looks and layers, you never really get the same image twice,” says booking manager of the Green Room and Culture Shock founder Doug Quick. “Kaleidoscope Kamp Out means we know this gathering has its own jewels, glass, shapes and sounds that make it a unique, stand-out experience.”
In its first year—Kaleidoscope Kamp Out presented by Culture Shock and partnered with the folks of Firefly—looks to bring the creative and introspective tranquility associated with the growing festival culture taking form in the U.S. The one-day event will feature a shared collection of art, music, dancing, sustainability, family and communal positivity.
For the past several yearsFlagstaffhas had its finger on the pulse of a music scene primed for takeoff, in part due to the insurgence of a festival community focused on instituting self expression of individuality and soulful connection through music and artistic creativity.
“There are a ton of music festivals these days, and even though we are doing similar things as some of the other festivals out there, this one is unique—to the Southwest,Arizonaand most importantlyFlagstaff,” says Quick.
With just over three months to put the event together, the folks at the Green Room and Pepsi Amphitheater have pulled together some of the biggest names in EDM currently traveling the festival circuit. Among the many artists on the lineup are headliners EOTO (the side project of String Cheese Incident multi-instrumentalist Michael Travis and drummer/vocalist Jason Hann), and pioneer composer/producer, Tipper, as well asMinnesotaand Eliot Lipp.
The musical exploits of Travis and Hann with SCI are no secret, but with EOTO they bring a different perspective to the electronic music style—a brand of break-beat/dubstep driven by bass that seamlessly transitions from one sound to another, incorporating multiple genres, mood changes and rhythmic shifts. It’s a sound they’ve made all their own.
According to Hann, EOTO’s objective is to keep the ear candy flowing and the people dancing. Their live performances are as much about connecting with the crowd and feeding off their energy as it is breaking down musical walls.
“We want the crowd to be on a musical high, to physically think, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never danced so hard,’” says Hann. “We want them to be the most exalted they can be.”
From night to night, no set is ever the same. There are no songs or set lists, pre-programmed loops, backing tracks or samples, just pure improvisation—two musicians manning an elaborate setup of cutting-edge programs that allow them to mix, control and manipulate, on the fly, an array of live instrumentation spanning from keyboards to drums to guitar and vocals.
“We’re making it all up right then and there,” says Hann. “We start improvising and we’re all the way in. There’s no thought beforehand, we just go out and play.”
In addition to a groundbreaking production style—earlier this year as part of their Bass Invaders Tour—they took out production on the Lotus stage, an interactive, 3D projection mapping-based stage, which started out as nothing more than a hand-drawn sketch of a lotus flower and blossomed into a mind-blowing visual manifestation.
Simply put, Tipper is a masterful producer. Since getting started in 1997 during the rave scene in the United Kingdom, he has released 11 full-length albums, his last was 2010’s ambient, down-tempo Broken Soul Jamboree, along with nine EPs, most recently Puzzle Dust and Shatter Box this year. He has amassed a steady following of loyal fans, regularly selling out venues and festivals wherever he goes, and always laying down original music from his unreleased catalogue.
He is widely respected as the “grandfather of glitch-hop” and for his surround-sound compositions. He is an alchemist of some of the heaviest beat production in the realm of electronic sound. It’s a style meant to be played loud. And if for no other reason, his music is impressive simply for the fact that he lets it speak for itself.
In the three years producer/DJ Minnesota(Christian Bauhofer) has been in the game, he’s been on the rise, generating a constant demand for his hip-hop-inspired dubstep/glitch-hop beats. He has the high energy and heavy bass that will have the crowd dancing right out of their shoes. And on the heels of a busy summer full of festivals and performances, he is poised to join Zion-I for multiple stops on his fall 2012 “Shadowboxing” tour as well as the highly anticipated release of his new EP, Altered States, due out in November.
Eliot Lipp, the newest member to the surging Pretty Lights Music label, has been around for a short minute. Best known for crafting a style structured on blending various genres and using them to his advantage, his imposing body of work is widely known throughout electronic music circles. Earlier this year he released Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake, which aggressively infuses classy hip-hop with funk, jazz, trance and ’80s synthpop. Next up, he plans on supporting Pretty Lights and Paper Diamond during their current 2012 fall tour.
Other notable artists who will be performing include Cherub, Prophet Massive, Cosby Sweater, Endoplasmic, Spafford, Def Star, Flagstaff’s own performing arts collective Circus Baccus, as well as respected local DJs Acidisco, Safi’s Lab, Jahmontee and Emtrails, who for years have been instrumental in pushing the success of the popular monthly dance party, Electric Kingdom.
“ElectricKingdomgoes under the radar,” Quick says. “Without that night in particular existing, events like Culture Shock, Firefly and now Kaleidoscope, though they would still happen, they wouldn’t have the same platform right out of the box.”
As Quick says, it’s not just about the performers, but everyone who has helped pave the way for electronic music in Flagstaff.
“Everyone is involved. No one does it alone. It’s our community coming together, which is makingFlagstaffincredible right now. We’re all working together to make this happen.”
Thanks to those people and Firefly, there will also be a second stage, the Sky Stage, next to the main stage, as well as theMysticalForest, which will host art installations and a hammock village. Attendees can also expect everything from belly dancing troupes, circus performers, stilt walkers, fire spinners, aerialists and hula-hoopers to a kids craft area, art galleries, handmade clothes and jewelry, as well as food vendors, camping and, of course, good folks bringing good vibes.
“It’s such an awesome beginning. You just never know what these things turn into,” Hann says on being part of a first-time festival. “Being able to get out there and feel like we’re representing the first in that area—people really remember that.”
In the future, Kaleidoscope Kamp Out looks to increase its scope, transforming into a multi-day festival welcoming a larger number of artists, musicians and performers in the hopes of making the Kaleidoscope a little vaster. But for now, it kicks off as a beautiful product shining with the communal vibe from which it was built, taking one more step inFlagstaff’s musical progression.
Kaleidoscope Kamp Out will take place Sat, Sept. 29 at the Pepsi Amphitheater at the Ft.Tuthill County Park. Both stages will be located inside of the Pepsi Amphitheater. Tickets are $18 in advance for students (with ID) and Coconino County residents, $25 in advance for non-Coconino County residents, and $35 the day of the festival. Onsight RV and tent camping are available for $40 (charges listed due not include service charges and facility fees). Doors open at 12 p.m. For more info, event schedules or to buy tickets in advance, visit www.pepsiamp.com or call 977-6849.
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