image1Overcast skies and a rain-stained windshield greeted me as I pulled into Cottonwood Meadows, home to the inaugural Vertex Festival. Lines of multicolored tents provided contrast against an otherwise opaque skyline and raincoats shrouded nearly everyone in attendance.

Despite a wet forecast, underneath every poncho was a smile.

Ominous rainclouds were soon replaced by blue skies, revealing a stunning mountain backdrop. By the end of the weekend the small, first-year festival had not only defied the weather app, but secured a spot on my 2017 festival circuit.


Event organizers, Madison House and AEG Live, hosted the first ever Vertex Festival this past weekend (August 5-7). A stacked lineup attracted roughly 8,000 fans to the small town of Buena Vista, Colorado where big names in music including the Alabama Shakes, Odesza, and Trey Anastasio Band played intimate sets in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

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Three stages within the festival grounds hosted a diverse selection of genres ranging from mellow jam band to live electronic. For what feels like the first time in festival history, headliner sets NEVER overlapped but were instead staggered between the two main stages. Soaring mountains and surreal sunsets framed musical acts, transporting festivalgoers beyond the crowd to a blissfully secluded and immersive musical experience.

Adjacent to the campgrounds, Cottonwood Creek served as a never-ending adult swim. Sun beamed down on a butterfly festooned island where Goldroom threw down a spectacular 2-hour Sunday beach set. On the surrounding banks lounged bikini-clad sunbathers and in the water floated unicorns, paddle boats, and inner tubes.

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The fun didn’t stop for those seeking adventure beyond the music.

Overlooking the main stage was erected a large dome, serving as a makeshift observatory for curious campers. Astronomers from the Black Rock Observatory provided stargazers with information on constellations and accompanying lessons debunking the mysteries of our universe.

Vertex’s “Bazaar” offered attendees countless interactive installations including a tickle cottage, tooth fairy shack, balloon room, and poetry house.

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Complimentary buses ran throughout the day, providing campers with easy access to the town’s delicious eateries, art galleries, and outdoors companies. Festival organizers further encouraged people to venture beyond the campgrounds and explore all that the Colorado mountain-town has to offer, sponsoring white water rafting and hiking trips.

Vertex shattered expectations in its first year. Preparation, careful organization, and an artfully curated lineup ensured that attendees not only enjoyed a weekend of fantastic musical performances but also got to escape from their jobs, daily stress, and the concrete jungle.

View the full photo album HERE.

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