Denver’s High Ground Festival debuted on October 2nd. It blended music, nature, and local vendors and artists. The day was sunny as High Ground opened its gates at noon. Summer was certainly not ready to say goodbye. Soon after, downtown Levitt Pavilion was alive and vibrant with electrifying techno.
The festival boasted two stages. The main High Ground Stage overlooked Levitt’s massive grassy amphitheater. Several Denver-based artists including Jacklndn and Bass Physics performed there until midafternoon.
Festival Main Stage
Los Angeles DJ Pluko graced the stage. I’ve wanted to catch a Pluko show for years! Saturday’s set did not disappoint. Pluko matched infectious heavy bass with a delicate sonic texture. Hearing his hit “Breath” was a highlight of the festival. If you like ODESZA, you’ll love pluko.
After, Chet Porter followed. Festivalgoers went crazy for his remixes of San Holo and Flume songs. Finally, Chet Porter performed his recent release “Life’s So Good”. The rock/EDM fusion is beautifully on-trend and frenetically unique.
As dusk fell on Levitt Pavilion, Louis Futon took the stage. Denver’s skyline glowed behind the main stage. Louis Futon‘s set was utterly unique. His visuals were reminiscent of the 70s/80s psychedelic era. Truly iconic EDM sets always have live instrument features, and Louis Futon ‘s guests did not disappoint. Dreamy saxophone and flute complemented Futon’s electronic tunes. The refreshing harmony took High Ground’s energy to the next level.
On the other side of the park was the Levitate Stage. It showcased several Denver musicians. The smaller stage was made even more intimate by it being literally filled with trees. Setting a rave stage in a mini forest made this stretch of the park its own little world. High Ground Festival was truly a special experience.
My favorite of the Levitate performers was LYFTD. Their show transformed the lush green stage with wild sounds and lights. The Denver duo produced unique futuristic melodies. Notes of funk, rock, and soul dotted the electronic wubs. Andrew Scully killing it on the electric guitar perfected their set. Be sure to check out LYFTD‘s latest single “Can’t Stop”.
Local Art, Food, Culture
High Ground Festival was full of local vendors. Dozens of local merchants sold fashion, CBD, food, drinks, and more. I especially appreciated the Denver Chip Co’s 5$ chip/dip deal.
High Ground Festival is now home to the Transcendome. Festivalgoers meditated and relaxed in the massive tent. Further along the park, graffiti artists spent the day tagging the festival logo onto a massive temporary wall. Several painters overlooked the main stage, creating and selling pieces for the whole day. It was a fantastic showcase of Denver culture.
The Festival Headliners
Raver favorites Kasbo and Snakehips co-headlined the night. Their two sets were colorful and energetic.
This was Kasbo‘s first headlining festival. He delivered flawlessly! Kasbo‘s music is entrancing and minimalistic. Chelsea Cutler’s delicious vocals echoed across Denver’s downtown amphitheater. The hit song “Found You” was definitely an audience favorite.
After, Snakehips took the stage. The audience’s energy was ethereal and exciting. Snakehips is an iconic duo hailing from the UK. Their atmospheric beats were soon filling the park. The crowd went wild for their global hits “All My Friends” and “Don’t Leave.”
Til Next Year!
The High Ground Festival was an environment, unlike any festival I’ve attended. It was intimate and relaxed yet wild and energetic. Keep an eye out for next year’s experience here!
On Saturday, October 2nd, a brand new event is coming to Denver, Colorado. The High Ground Music & Arts Experience will take place at Levitt Pavilion at Ruby Hill Park. This event is one of the first of its kind, focusing on bringing a full day of chill, electronic music to the metro area. A wide array of vendors, most of which are native to Colorado, will bring amazing food, drinks, and other products to High Ground.
Those that will be attending this groundbreaking event that’s set to capture the essence of fall in Colorado are called Revelers. An exclusive Facebook group, Revelers of High Ground, is the perfect place to find discussions, polls, giveaways, and more. Another way to meet other Revelers is through a community in the app, Radiate. They are also hosting a giveaway for two tickets! Click here to enter.
Party Guru Press was lucky enough to connect with Noah Levinson, the founder of Levitate Events. He’s worked hard for the past five years to carefully curate essentially every detail of High Ground. This interview happened via email, where we learned all about how the event came to be, what Revelers can expect to see at the event, and what the future looks like for High Ground. Keep on reading for the full scoop!
Let’s Get Chill, Let’s Get Vibey
Kierstin Rounsefell (Party Guru Press):Can you please introduce yourself and tell us about how you first got involved in the music and entertainment industries?
Noah Levinson (High Ground Music & Arts Experience): Hello! My name is Noah Levinson and I’m the founder of Levitate Events. Live music has played a huge role in my life since I was little. My parents took me to shows since before I could remember and encouraged me to learn how to play different instruments. In middle school, I discovered electronic music and learned how to DJ. I used some Bar Mitzvah money to purchase Serato and turntables, and quickly began performing for friends, birthday parties, weddings, and other events. Along the way, I fell in love with event creation and production and started curating shows of my own.
Noah Levinson: I am the director of High Ground. I have an incredible team that supports and expands my vision, but I’ve carefully crafted almost every detail and aspect of High Ground over the past 5 years. I’ve handled the talent buying, venue selection, creative direction, and team building. Now, as we move into the final stretch on the road to High Ground, I’m working closely with each of my team leads (production, VIP, site ops, vendors, etc) to make sure everything comes together beautifully.
Party Guru Press: This is the first year of the High Ground Music & Arts Experience. What inspired you to create this event?
Noah Levinson: High Ground began as a conversation with my best friend Jacob. Some of our favorite artists at the time were Kasbo, Flume, and others in the “chill” and “vibey” side of electronic music, and we were upset that there weren’t many festivals that fully captured that sort of sound. This planted the seed that eventually grew into High Ground.
Noah Levinson: There are so many amazing things about Colorado. Our dedication to the outdoors, the strong local music scene that listens to many genres, our progressive cannabis culture, a bourgeoning local art scene, and so many other things make our state a special place. Yes, we are the bass capital, but we also love so many other genres out here.
When I envision Colorado in the Fall, I also think about snow-kissed mountains, golden leaves on every tree, crisp Autumn air, and the exciting potential for every kind of weather. This is the essence of Colorado, and with nearly 25 artists from around the world (many are from Colorado) who perform live fusions of electronic, funk, jam, R&B, and hip hop, High Ground is set to capture that unique energy as a whole.
Party Guru Press: Has everyone in the general public reacted well to the announcement of the event so far? Do people seem excited to attend?
Noah Levinson: As my team prepared to announce in May, one of my biggest insecurities was that my years of dedication to this project would be met with a lackluster response. However, I couldn’t be happier with the reactions and comments we’ve received so far! People tell me every day how excited they are for High Ground, and thank me for curating something unique and unexpected; something that pushes against the grain.
When we first announced the lineup, somebody shared it on Facebook saying “Everything from the Colorado-inspired branding & chill electro vibe to the venue choice & lineup is impeccable. I predict that High Ground will gain national recognition and become Denver’s first major destination music festival within the next few years as it continues to grow.” This is the sentiment I’m frequently met with, and I get goosebumps thinking about what we’ve created and where we can take it.
High Ground Revelers
Party Guru Press: What artists are you excited to see perform at High Ground?
Noah Levinson: All of them. Seriously, every artist from the bottom to the top are some of my favorites. Kasbo was one of the first artists I placed on my “hit list” 5 years ago, so having him with us this October is full circle; a dream come true.
Party Guru Press: How did you and your team go about finding art, food, and drink vendors for the event?
Noah Levinson: We listen to what our friends and Revelers (this is what we call our attendees) are excited about! We’re excited to present a full array of vendors at High Ground, many of which are brands native to Colorado. We’re still looking for a few more food and product vendors. Brands can apply on our website on the “Get Involved” page.
Party Guru Press: What will make this event different from other art and music events that take place in the Denver Metro area?
Noah Levinson: Quite frankly, everything about this will be different. We’re so proud to be working with the Levitt Pavilion, which up until recently didn’t really bring electronic acts to its stage. For many, this will be their first time attending something at Levitt. Musically, there aren’t any other experiences in Colorado that focus so specifically on this style of music. You can find it occasionally at a one-off concert, but this is the first time that you’ll be able to experience a full day of chill, genre-blending, live-performed vibey electronic music.
Finally, we have a narrative that’s fused deeply into all aspects of High Ground. We used the spirits of animals native to Colorado to tell a story of powerful story of rebirth, togetherness, and collective positivity to beckon a greater world for ourselves. We hope this is the most beautiful music festival you’ve ever attended.
“Do What You F*cking Love”
Party Guru Press: There is a lot of uncertainty about events in the face of the COVID-19 Delta Variant. What safety measures do you have in place?
Noah Levinson: We will follow local, state, and federal municipality guidelines, as well as Levitt Pavilion & industry standards to protect our attendees, artists, staff, and everyone else on-site. With the recent full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, we strongly encourage attendees to get vaccinated and stay masked so that our community as a whole can continue to move in a positive direction.
Party Guru Press: What do you hope for the future of High Ground? Does this event have the potential to turn into a multi-day festival eventually?
Noah Levinson: Eventually, I think High Ground could totally become a multi-day music & arts festival… maybe even with camping? But at the same time, it’s most important to us to grow steadily and cultivate a strong community of Revelers. High Ground is special, and we don’t want to make massive leaps at the risk of losing the aspects that make us special. I envision that someday, High Ground will expand beyond electronic to include some elements of psychedelic rock and hip-hop (which we’ve sprinkled in gently this year).
Party Guru Press: Would you like to give any words of advice, or motto, to encourage others to remember as 2021 comes to a close?
Noah Levinson: I don’t mean to sound cliche, but do what you fucking love. I have so many friends that complain about their 9-5 jobs, and I’m like “just do what you love” and they don’t seem to understand how a little leap of faith can turn your passion into your career. Take what you love, combine it with the things you’re good at, and DO IT.
Words Of Gratitude From A Fellow Party Guru
Party Guru Press: Is there anything else that you’d like mentioned that hasn’t yet been discussed?
Noah Levinson: My mom is my business partner. GANG GANG. But in all seriousness, Jobi Halper is so insanely smart and creative, and as a lifelong music lover with 25+ years of legal and business experience, she’s the best partner I could ask for and I wouldn’t be able to produce this festival without her.
Party Guru Press: Final question, would you consider yourself a Party Guru?
Noah Levinson: I’m a fucking weirdo who revels in the face of live music. There are certain forms of energy that exist only within live music, and more than anything, I love creating these environments for people to experience something profound. I am a party guru.
After getting to learn all about the event from Noah Levinson himself, we cannot wait for October. High Ground Music & Arts Experience is an innovative, unique event that celebrates music, art, and colorful Colorado. A strong community of Revelers is already forming, ecstatic about what’s to come.
If you want to experience this brand new event first hand, there is still plenty of time to purchase tickets for you and your friends. Click here to secure your general admission and VIP tickets. We’ll see you at Levitt Pavilion!