What to expect at this weekend’s Vortex, Meow Wolf’s Trippy Music Festival

Eight years after Meow Wolf transformed the art world with the opening of the House of Eternal Return, its permanent immersive installation in Santa Fe, the collective gave birth to Vortex: a three-day experiential music festival in 2018 that delighted guests with a Cashmere Cat performance, a hike with llamas, and electronic dance-infused glamping. in Taos, New Mexico. The 2019 iteration of the outdoor party featured aerial acrobats, improv actors and artists like Zhu, Chet Faker and GoldLink. It’s impossible to say what kaleidoscopic entertainment the 2020 and 2021 Vortex Music Festivals would have delivered if the pandemic hadn’t stopped the partying. Fortunately, this year, art lovers from all over the world can once again take part in Vortex– and this time the event will take place in the Mile High City. In anticipation of the trippy festivities, which begin this Friday and continue through Sunday, with tickets still available on line– here’s the breakdown of what should be one of the most electrifying events of the summer.

Vortex at Taos in 2019. Photo Jess Bernstein

The Denver Connection

In 2021, Meow Wolf expanded from Santa Fe to Las Vegas and Denver, with the long-awaited Convergence station Facility in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood opened last fall after four years of construction. While Sin City might have seemed the obvious choice for the 2022 version of the Vortex Music Festival, the masterminds behind the festival felt Denver’s artistic energy provided the perfect setting. “We’ve found there’s so much expression here…” says Marsi Gray, Senior Creative Producer at Meow Wolf, “and we’ve found so many amazing artists who want to play with us. providing space for artists to participate is our jam, and it makes Denver an amazing place for us to hold Vortex.

Nonetheless, relocating an established festival series is a risky move. The business could have been easier had the Vortex team assembled their Taos crew to handle the new opportunity. Instead, Meow Wolf has recycled the playbook from its permanent exhibits: Employ Local Talent. For Vortex, the collective is committed to hiring 30% artists and 50% salespeople locally. Additionally, Meow Wolf’s social impact team has set clear goals for diversity, equity and inclusion: 40% of artists and performers and 30% of festival vendors will be women and/or minorities. “For Vortex, we wanted to make sure we stayed true to our Meow Wolf roots,” Gray says, “and gave whatever opportunities we could to members and groups in our local community.”

As such, the Vortex Music Festival is expected to bring hundreds of paid jobs and exposure opportunities to dozens of Coloradans, from security guards to food and drink vendors (like WeChef kitchen and Mumbai Railway Station), and from ASL interpreters to interdisciplinary artisans (including Astral hoops and Hyphy Color). Although Meow Wolf is notoriously vague with its installation descriptions, Vortex festival-goers should expect a Murder Mystery Dinner–motorized treasure hunt, a naughty circus parade by LazerPantzand Comedy with great expressionfunniest show ever.

The place

In June 2022, Meow Wolf announced that Vortex would avoid typical Denver hotspots like the Levitt Pavilion for a renovation. salvage yard located between the Lincoln Park and Sun Valley neighborhoods of Denver. The brand new outdoor venue, dubbed the Junk Yard, will be operated by Live Nation. “We love that the Junk Yard is in the heart of Denver,” Gray says, “near Convergence station, and easy to get to by public transport and ride-sharing services.” It’s the company line anyway. It’s unclear how “easy” it will be for hundreds, if not thousands, of revelers to come and go from the area, which has almost no parking and very little event infrastructure. (See more transportation tips below.) When and if festival-goers travel to the Junk Yard, however, they’ll encounter two stages, a craft vendor market, food and drink stalls, and seating. .

The five acts not to be missed

Though there is 38 musical acts scheduled throughout the weekend – and probably as many off-stage performances by artists like Jenny Ollikainen mythical times space goats and cloud wood – there are a few you can’t miss. Friday, Barry can’t swim will adorn the stage with poppy-808 melodies as one of the five opening acts before the Brazilian icon Pavlo Vittar political pop belt. 100 gecs will keep the bops coming with its sonic collage of trap, death metal and EDM on Day 2. On Sunday, the festival will provide an entirely different soundscape with French DJ work‘ melodic techno. Finally, electronic duo Bob Mosesknown for its soft summer house music, will close the weekend festivities.

Vortex in 2019. Photo by Jess Bernstein

The details

single day tickets are $69.50 or $198.75 for a three-day pass (VIP admission is $129.50 for a day or $339 for the weekend). The Vortex Music Festival is a rain or shine event, so be prepared for your comfort: bring a bottle of water (no glass), an umbrella and sunscreen. Alcohol, weapons, food and professional cameras are prohibited. Unsurprisingly, hoops are allowed. Public transport is your best bet since parking is limited and — bonus! —RTD offers free bus rides for the whole month of August. Doors open at 4 p.m. Friday. Saturday and Sunday doors open at 1 p.m.

(Read more: Does Colorado have a mega music festival curse?)

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