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Echoes of the Sonic Bloom

WALSENBURG- The short version of the story is; the Sonic Bloom music festival held in Huerfano County for the summer solstice weekend was a success. Is there room for improvement? Yes, but on the whole, for the first time to be held here, most everyone was pleased with how it came out. The three county commissioners were unanimous in there praise, with Max Vezzani noting that, of the 17 benchmarks set out by the commissioners, 16 were met, with the final one, the sales tax license for vendors, was not completed. The responsibility to get and pay those, however, were on the vendors themselves. Commissioner Chairman Ray Garcia said it was a well run event with respectful participants. He noted there was some trespassing issues along the creek, and wrong turns by vehicles. He also noted the Sonic Bloom staff fixed the problem with added security along the creek and traffic cones. Gerald Cisneros said, “Good job!” He had some questions about vehicle searches for glass or weapons, which mainly turned up camp

axes, saws and shovels. Jess Gries, the festival’s point man, said their group felt it was a smooth event with no major breakdowns. “Everybody loved the location,” he said. There was good communication with the county and the state, and there was only one medical transport from the scene, as opposed to 14 last year. There was no one on hand from the Colorado Department of Transportation, but there were no reported complaints, and they are good with doing the festival again next year. Before the festival, there were predictions that no money would actually be spent in Walsenburg- that people would shop or buy gas before coming here. Karen Wilson of Huerfano County Economic Development reported a total spending in the county by Sonic Bloom itself on food, lodging groceries and automotive services was over $75,000. It is estimated that over $175,000 was spent by participants, which, if you factor the churn rate being re-spent in the county three to five times, has an economic impact of $525,000 to $875,000. Dorcas Circle food bank had 770 pounds of food donated, and LiveWell said 40 to 50 Sonic Bloom volunteers help with a garden project behind John Mall high school. Three people were there to speak against the festival. Some of their complaints were it was too loud in some areas, due to the topography, with areas north toward Rye seeming to catch the brunt of it. Gates were left open and cows and horses were let loose. Traffic volume was a hassle, and of course, there were moral issues raised. One neighbor reported he observed an act of fornication, but no names were given, so apparently they got away with it.