content creation

Content Creation in the Big Sunrise Dome at Arise Festival

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This last weekend, I was joined by Lynx partner Dave “Pepé” Litman in coordinating and producing the programming on the Big Sunrise Dome stage of the 4th annual Arise Music Festival. The festival features incredible music, art, yoga, discussion, and other avenues of conscious participation. This was the 4th anniversary of the festival itself. Additionally, it was the 4th anniversary of Pepé and I being involved with its production. During those 4 years, we’ve learned a few things about content creation. We’ll get to that, but I’ll start with some background information to give some context.

The Background

The Ranch

The festival takes over the gorgeous land of the spiritual retreat and sustainable farming community of Sunrise Ranch in the foothills west of Loveland, CO. Typically a communal home to hundreds of residents (human and bovine alike), Sunrise Ranch morphs into a series of stages and villages that cater to several thousand festival attendees. Among the stages resides the Big Sunrise Dome, the only “stage” that lives on-site all year. It is a true “Bucky” geodesic dome with astonishing acoustics that is the spiritual center of the ranch. During the Arise Festival, ”The Dome” becomes home to interactive panel discussions, documentary screenings, and intimate performances by main stage artists.

The Beginning

Pepé originally brought me in at the inaugural Arise Festival in 2013 to be the stage manager in the Big Sunrise Dome. He had come in as the production manager and had a perfect position as the house audio technician. I ensured stage setup went smoothly and could be done while Pepé stayed in his front-of-house position. Our initial year of programming included Native American elders sharing stories and music, film screenings, and facilitated discussions between the audience and presenters like Daryl Hannah and Julia Butterfly Hill. I knew something potent was brewing but wasn’t quite sure what was happening here. Whatever it was, it had to be captured, and our content creation had to reflect the programming

The Evolution

The following year, I was asked to take on the role of Sunrise Dome Coordinator. This put me in a staff position that answered directly to the top brass of the festival. (Note that “top brass” is a pretty militaristic term to attach to the kind of progressive movement Arise represents). It was in this new role that I became the facilitator of the vision of producer Paul Bassis in that Dome.

Paul would view world-class films at international film festivals, and hand-select those films that most closely reflected his vision for the festival and its attendees. He would also assemble panelists to delve into discussions on big topics, and invite festival attendees to participate. These “Arise Dialogues” have become the locus of activism and involvement in world issues that reach far beyond the scope of even the largest festivals. The music programming in the Dome includes intimate performances from acclaimed main stage artists that could not be found anywhere else. Amidst all this, my job was to both seek out supplemental programming and manage the logistics and execution of the programming schedule. Pepé continued to keep his fingers on the controls from the front-of-house position, and we started making plans for content creation for Dome programming at subsequent festivals.

Content Creation in the Big Sunrise Dome

The Cameras

Pepé and I decided to bring in a few video cameras from the spiritual center that Pepé regularly works with. Our goal was to capture some of this exclusive, provocative, insightful and powerful programming. The purposes of this were both archival and to put it to use as a part of the festival’s overall content marketing strategy. We brought in a team of camera technicians to allow for both consistent content capture and rest time. Festival production days are long, and we felt it was important to keep our team active, moving and rested. This setup also enabled us to use the cameras for the purpose of a webcast. This took place  first thing on Saturday morning of the festival.


The Importance

Content creation tops of the list for any marketing effort. The purpose of content is to keep your audience engaged with your brand. This content ought to tell a story, convey emotion, share a message, or offer direction. Not all content is (or even should be) a literal depiction of the product or service you are offering. However, it should still reflect the brand and message core to your offerings.

For example, to convey a sense of belonging, create content that shows a hug or a handshake. You may also show a group of people in a common activity, or someone offering something to someone else. If you want to convey stress or struggle, you may want to show a picture of clutter or chaos. You can also a person’s hands gripping their hair tightly, or a clock spinning quickly through the hours. It is critical that your content is a clear channel that conveys a specific feeling or message.

For Arise, we felt it was most important to convey candid emotion through shots of the panelists and the musicians. This way we could convey that Arise is a place for authentic connection between the stage and the audience. We wanted to convey that the programming was thoughtful and accessible to ticket holders that may otherwise miss the Dome. The Dome carries a powerful message throughout the year. We wanted to see that message get through in the Arise marketing strategies.

The Future

We have accrued enough footage to supplement and propel Arise marketing campaigns for years to come. Good content capture makes for good content creation. Our multitrack audio recording makes for multiple options for the many sound clips. Our dual cameras recording in Full HD make for high-quality visual aids to supplement social media posts. The producers of the festival can use the clips on their own cut the clips into other footage. Whatever the outcome, the footage will remain potent as long as the festival lasts. Pepé and I will just keep accruing more content down the road.

Lynx | Digital Media Producers creates results-driven content and strategies to enhance your customer’s experience of your brand. Contact us today to see how we can increase the value of your next event through video.

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