Most camping-meets-music festivals leave its attendees feeling depleted and in recovery mode. Not so at Colorado’s distinctive ARISE music festival—an entire weekend designed around the physical, spiritual, and mental health of its participants. “You really do leave with this higher feeling,” says ARISE spokesperson Will Peddle. The unique festival hosts three days of music, camping, and varied opportunities (hello, neurosculpting workshop) to exercise your mind and body. “It’s an event where people can be better humans, and create a better community,” says Peddle.

ARISE was started in 2013 by music producer Paul Bassis with the intent of creating a fest that blends “activism, music, social justice, and the empowerment of the self and the community,” according to Peddle. Four years later, the event has grown tremendously in reach and offerings, but not away from its intention to better the attendees and society. Even its musical lineup—which is peppered with local artists like Nederland-based Elephant Revival and deejay Lucid Vision, as well as big names like Ziggy Marley, Jurassic 5, and Papadosio—has a bent toward artists that create music with a positive message. If you’re attending this year, don’t miss the playshop sessions, where individual artists will share and take questions about their creative processes.

In addition to its musical offerings, ARISE’s schedule includes meditations, performance art, yoga, workshops, art classes—and even daycare. Attendees’ little ones can spend their days at the “Children’s Village,” where trusted, vetted, and handpicked caretakers will lead a kid-specific program (crafts, talent shows, parades, and more). For adults, workshop titles include the aforementioned “Neurosculpting: New Beliefs, New Brain,” “Yoga Laughter,” and “Sacred Theater.” The three-day fest, which is hosted each year on 100-plus acres of Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, will also be selling the organic farm’s produce this year for the first time (bring cash just in case).

While this festival might be a little too “hippie-esque” for some Coloradans, its message of community, consciousness, and cooperation is one we can all get on board with. In light of ARISE’s fourth year, we sat down with headliner Ziggy Marley, who truly encapsulates the festival’s message. The reggae artist, who released a new, self-titled album earlier this year, shared a few of his thoughts on Colorado, the festival, and creating conscious music in 2016.

5280: I’m sorry, but I have to ask: Will you be, ahem, partaking during your time in Colorado?

Ziggy Marley: I don’t smoke a lot, let’s put it that way. [laughs] I’m not an everyday smoker. For me, it’s something special. If I do it every day then it’s not going to be special; it’s just going to be an everyday thing.

You perform all over, but you’ve been to Colorado quite a bit. What are you most looking forward to about your Sunday night set at ARISE?

I’m excited about the message and the music. I really feel it’s giving power to the people and there’s a purpose and a reason why we’re saying what we’re saying. That purpose-driven state of mind is exciting to me.

Speaking of: Your most recent album, Ziggy Marley, is a tad more political than previous albums you’ve made. What are your thoughts on where America is now, in 2016?

It’s not just about what’s happening in America, it’s about what is happening everywhere. It’s about the evolution of the mind of human beings to a state of consciousness where these things [acts of violence] will not happen regularly. You cannot stop everything but the balance can be changed. When humanity itself becomes more conscious and understanding of each other, then there will be less violence and negativity. That is the issue: love and mankind and consciousness.

Are you hopeful about the future?

Oh yeah. We have to be positive and we must spread positivity. You know, on my new record, I express a bit of this: There are more people who love than people who hate. We can get it done. Love can get it done. There is no doubt in my mind. There is only one way to go: to love one another. That is the only solution. It is a consciousness thing. We have to spread the message, you know?

What upcoming projects are you looking forward to?

We have a Jamaican-style cookbook coming out soon, the Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook. It will be different types of recipes man, but all good Jamaican food.

So, what else do you plan to do while you’re in Colorado?

I’m just going to take in the beauty and breathe some good air. At altitude, you know, it’s fresh. I’ll probably just take a walk, you know?

Jerilyn Forsythe
Jerilyn Forsythe
Jerilyn Forsythe is a freelance writer and editor, and 5280's former digital associate editor. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @jlforsyt.