The inaugural Vertex festival just wrapped with tremendous success. Hosting 8.000 attendees in the stunning Arkansas River Valley in Buena Vista, CO for 3 days/nights, the weekend was filled with incredible and diverse musical performances, interactive art installations and high mountain adventures – all with a uniquely Colorado twist.
On Friday, August 5th, the festival opened doors to the gorgeous Cottonwood Meadows festival site for the first time. Fans who had settled into the campgrounds the night before for Early Arrival had already checked out BeeVee Beach Club – complete with a lake for swimming, live music, food and drink, and more - or had hopped on a free Vertex shuttle for the 5 minute ride to the restaurants and bars on Main Street in charming downtown Buena Vista.
Upon entering the festival site for the first time on Friday afternoon, fans meandered around Vertex’s Creekside Bazaar. Home to the festival’s La Hacienda stage, Colorado acts like Zach Heckendorf and The RunniKine performed while fans explored local arts & crafts and food vendors, relaxed around rustic picnic tables or on the sandy beaches along Cottonwood Creek, and adventured through a row of unique houses – each with an open door, an invitation to explore the intricate, imaginative, and at times downright unexpected experience inside.
Across the bridge, where a short path opens up into the festival’s breathtaking Long Meadow –Big Wild kicked off music on the Cottonwood Parlor stage followed by Fruition on the Princeton Garden stage. Fans held their ground in the front row for an energetic performance by Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals. At sunset, at the far end of meadow on the Princeton Garden main stage, The Alabama Shakes performed an explosive and captivating set. Gramatik boomed the crowed late into the night, and sent fans wandering back to their campgrounds to rest for day 2.
On day two of Vertex, the campsites came alive as the sun rose over the valley. Whether emerging in the vast meadow of GA camping, or from VIP bell tents and cabanas along Cottonwood Creek, it was clear that mornings at Vertex are unlike any other festival. Vertex “Field Trips” offered participants a variety of opportunities to explore the local surroundings. In addition to free shuttles to Downtown Buena Vista, those looking for more adventure chose for an adrenaline filled rafting excursion down the Arkansas River, a 6 mile high-altitude guided hike to the ghost town of Hancock, or a Vertex Disc Golf Field Trip for 18 holes in the beautiful scenery.
After enjoying a day filled with activities or lounging at BeeVee Beach, music kicked off inside the venue in late afternoon. Robert DeLong brought his energetic beats to the Princeton Garden. The music continued on with Houndmouth, Rufus Du Sol, The Revivalists, and Duke Dumont. Graham Nash took the crowd into sunset. At dark Lettuce pumped up the energy Saturday headliners ODESZA, who were joined onstage by the Colorado Symphony and the Colorado University Drumline, brought the large crowd to a fever pitch. The BeeVee Beach Club was bumping into the early morning hours as revealers danced the night away at the silent disco by the lake.
By Sunday, the joyous and relaxed vibe of the inaugural Vertex had settled throughout the site. Another day of fun-filled adventure under a Colorado bluebird sky lay ahead, and attendees greeted each other like family – a new community. Yoga was hosted on the La Hacienda stage while a rubber duck race down Cottonwood Creek to benefit the Vertex Music in Schools program awarded the lucky winner with tickets for next year’s festival. Haitus Kaiyote brought their future soul. The Claypool Lennon Delirium played on the Princeton Garden stage, and Colorado locals Trout Steak Revival jammed on the La Hacienda stage. Ryan Hemsworth delivered the crowd a rousing dose of EDM before fan-favorites Trey Anastasio Band started the first of two sets. Seven Lions closed out the Cottonwood Parlor stage, giving fans once last chance to dance under expansive sky, while lightening flashed of in the distance.
Of the inaugural event, Jeremy Stein, President of Madison House Presents and co-producer of Vertex with AEG Live Rocky Mountains, said, “The inaugural Vertex was a source of Colorado pride, and the result was an unmatched celebration. This past weekend, we were left with an amazing sense of what is possible when many voices contribute to the creation of a new community. Vertex has now taken its’ first baby steps, and we look forward to learning more together. We thank the fine folks of Chaffee County and Buena Vista with all of our hearts. We are all Coloradans, but we deeply respect your willingness to open your home to great possibilities. Now we can all look toward the future with a smile, with imagination, and with the understanding that truly rare things are possible when we do it together. Cheers to the future.”