Pictured above: Cold War Kids will headline Bonanza.
There are so many things to do in the great outdoors nowadays. You can camp in it, frolic through it, practice woodland creature speak (squeak squeakin’) and earn some kind of merit badge … but I bet you didn’t know you could meet a rock star. Yes, Utahns, it’s summer festival season. Vaughn Carrick of Live Nite Events and co-founder of the inaugural Bonanza Campout Music Festival, taking place in Heber City on June 10–11, wants you to know that he’s way ahead of those festival concerns that you might be having and has answers to any questions festivalgoers might have about travel, camping and cabin stays during the massive, 32-band event.
The first thing to know about the Bonanza is that this is the Utah jam we’ve been waiting for—our Coachella, our camped-out version of Warped Tour, our Limp Bizkit–less Woodstock, our less sappy Nirvana, our Heber City–rockin’ bliss that breaks from the nonsense pedaling around our daily function. This is our chance to break out and liberate, and Live Nite Events was kind enough to build this wonderful platform to springboard you into whatever funk-less grid suits your pleasure.
Checking your intellectual ennui at the door (or tree) is what this festival is all about. This is a chance to have your own unique experience, and helmets and hammocks might be required. The combination of indie- and electro-pop goodness is a “branching out” of sorts, says the charismatic Carrick in reference to his reggae background with the Reggae Rise Up Festival. “I’ve been involved with festivals all over, and we wanted to create some special for Utah,” he says. This is made most apparent by the yoga and bonfires encircling the two stages, feeding his evolving knack for curating festivals.
Carrick and his LNE crew ensure that bathrooms will be a-plenty all over the grounds. This is key, because beverage consumption (of both the hydrating and non-hydrating sort) is common happenstance at festivals, and dispensing those concerns is essential to comfort. “We have learned from this before,” says Carrick, “and we are definitely on top of it.”
The third thing you potential festivalgoers need to be aware of is the food. While making your physical rock statement with various twitches, moshes and happy slamdances, you need to feed that beast in your belly. With camping/cabin options, you can bring whatever you want beforehand, but if you exist on the traveling end of the spectrum, you need substance. Luckily, the most delicious local and national vendors will be there to assist, and no tastes will be ignored. There is also potential for dehydration when you’re liberating your soul. The considerate people at LNE are way ahead of this, and much like the Reggae Rise Up Festival, water will be stationed all about. “We want this experience to take people away from their ordinary lives,” says Carrick, “and we want to make sure everything is in place for that.”
Much festival frolicking can be dampened with muddy, wet shoes and companions muttering, “Golf balls are much smaller.” Utah weather in all its glory can be daunting, so it’s important to know the good people at LNE sat down and worked out solutions to all the literal and metaphorical bugs: straw for mud, shelter from storms, high from low ground. Whatever it is, the Bonanza is ready. “We have protocol for everything—this is our home,” says Carrick, “and we want everyone to enjoy this festival.”
One of the unique aspects of the camping/cabin experience at the Bonanza is the proximity of the campgrounds. Many festivals have the campers tucked just a quaint hike away, but Bonanza centered their over-nighties right where the action is, so that campers will be able to hear the music from their cozy campfires. “Oh yeah, you’re less than two minutes away from the central action and right where stage two can reach you,” says Carrick. So I guess you can have your s’mores—and eat them too.
Summer festivals are distinct from other concerts because one must enjoy it with the same crowd for more than a few hours. This creates a greater unity and connection than is instilled by other shows. These moments make amazing summer polaroids that, years from now, will be described with words like “sunburnt” and “it wasn’t permanent.” “You see, that’s what this is about: us,” says Carrick. “I work in the music industry and honestly, I get the most joy out of seeing everyone around having a good time and that they want to come back next year. For me, that’s awesome … seeing people getting to escape from their everyday lives and unwind—that’s why we do this.”
Aside from the festival setups, what else is there? Well, for local bands, we have Daisy and the Moonshines, Cinders, Scenic Byway and Joel Pack & the Pops. National bands are The Depot favorite Cold War Kids (pictured above), Big Gigantic, JR. JR. (formerly Dale Earnhardt JR. JR.) of State Room fame, Joywave, who visited Kilby Court last September, Parade of Lights, Secret Weapons, New Beat Fund and Joshua James. Enough? Well, there’s more and more—plus sprinkles.
Simply put, this Bonanza is packed. Nothing will be bigger for some time, and this is an incredible opportunity to really show what Utah has in support of music. This is our chance to show those trendy Coachella folks how we are with music: real music, live and uniquely belonging to our ears.
Bonanza Campout Music Festival takes place June 10–11 in Heber City. There will be camping, cabins and 32 bands all there to entertain you around the sun, stars and fire pits. You can buy your tickets and find more information at bonanzacampout.com. Hope to see you there.