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Grovestock festival plants magic at Sunlight

Locations: News Published

Three years in the making, a partnership between Echo-Terra, LLC and Sunlight Mountain Resort has sprouted into Grovestock, a three-day music and arts festival at Sunlight from June 10-12. 

Echo-Terra, a Roaring Fork Valley-based event planning and production company, was formed in late 2019 by three friends — Paul Struempler, Trevor Swank and Auston Tribble. They worked together at Colorado Audio Visual and Design on large-scale events like the Aspen Ideas Festival and the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

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While this is Echo-Terra’s first collaboration with Sunlight, it is not their first venture into producing an outdoor festival. The inspiration for Grovestock came from their love of camping with friends and the community experience of the festival scene.

The Echo-Terra team has worked closely with local DJs and bands. Struempler shared their wish is “to bring a younger crowd of musicians, DJs and artists together in a new way.”

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In 2019, the first Grovestock festival was held on U.S. Forest Service land, the location arrived at by taking discreetly tucked away trails intended to reduce the number of unruly, late-arriving festival goers. To cut down on traffic and late-night activity at Sunlight, festival entry or re-entry will not be allowed between midnight and 9 a.m.

According to Struempler, talks with Sunlight began about three years ago, “but the pandemic put everything on hold for a while, so this year we got the go-ahead.”

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Another goal is to create an open and safe environment for people to experience the festival while bringing the community together by creating a platform for people to share, network and be inspired by human creativity. 

Struempler said the natural beauty of Sunlight, with its mountain backdrop and its location as a central hub of the Valley, are a definite draw as a festival location. He added, “Sunlight is a good community- and family-oriented place. They’re open-minded and excited to work with us, so we’re glad to pull it off this year with them.”

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Live music will be provided by 12 bands, including Whiskey Stomp, Float Like a Buffalo, and local favorites, like the Red Hill Rollers. Bands will play during the day, and DJs will take over at about 10 p.m. The late-night music from 10 local DJs will be, as described by Struempler, “House and dubstep EDM [electronic dance music].”

Art installation creator Nico Heins will showcase his “Lucy the Diamonds” creation. “Lucy” will be housed in a teepee and is a laser-cut, wooden, 10-sided kite that measures about four feet in diameter, with dichroic film attached to each side. When light shines on the sculpture, it reflects off all ten sides, creating an additive color effect.

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Heins draws upon the modalities of color, sound, light and art therapies “to show things aren’t as black and white as they seem. We live in a rainbow world, and I’m here to show rainbows exist everywhere and around every corner, which is the magic I try to bring,” he shared.

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Nico Heins’ PlantWave art installation features a plant, placed under a copper pyramid, attached to wires and then connected to speakers to amplify the sound made by electromagnetic pulses emitted by the plant. Courtesy photo

While there will be food vendors present, Struempler said overnight campers should bring food, water and other supplies as if they are going on a three-day camping trip in the woods. He said, “Even though we’re at Sunlight and not that far from town; we want to limit the traffic up and down. We’d prefer people to come prepared.”

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Barbara Frota, Grovestock’s creative design lead, is tasked with optimizing outdoor spaces in order “to offer a variety of experiences that fit everyone’s needs,” she explained. “Maybe when it gets past sunset, you don’t want to listen to more music, maybe want to be in a more relaxed environment where you can sit down and rest your feet. We’re trying to just diversify our spaces and offerings.”

Those spaces include the OM Skül workshop area offering African drumming lessons, yoga, Qi Gong, kimoodo [a holistic healing art], ecstatic dance and sound healing. The Zen Den will offer sound healing, more art installations and Gongfu tea ceremonies, a traditional Chinese mindfulness practice.

While spaces will be lit for everyone’s safety, festival goers are encouraged to bring headlamps and flashlights. No outside alcohol will be allowed into the festival grounds; however, beer will be allowed at campsites. Glenwood Springs Bighorn Toyota is the stage sponsor. Spirits and beer, provided by Ball Brewing and Marble Distillery, will be sold on-site.

Sunlight and Echo-Terra will donate 5% of liquor sales to the High Fives Foundation’s Return to Dirt program. The Glenwood Springs-based nonprofit provides adaptive motorsports programming for disabled individuals.

Event organizers anticipate daily attendance to be around 500 people. They hope success at this year’s Grovestock will lead to an ongoing partnership with Sunlight for years to come. As Frota shared, “Whatever magic happens and whatever seeds get planted this year, we’ll see how that matures over the years.”

A three-day ticket is $85, while camping passes are $30 with a maximum of five people per campsite. Day passes range from $40-$50, depending on the day. Friday camping opens at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony at noon. Tickets can be purchased at www.bit.ly/Grovestock

Tags: #Art #Barbara Frota #Echo-Terra #festival #Grovestock #music #Nico Heins #Paul Struempler #Sunlight Mountain Resort
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