There is something brewing in the sky above Denver, Colorado. It’s back again! If you look closely, it’s the Gathering of the Clouds. I’m not talking about a treacherous storm, although Gathering of the Clouds is equivalent; I’m talking about a stellar music festival that’ll sweep you off your feet, and it keeps getting bigger and better every year, with more solid national acts, local favorites, more vendors, etc… Festival contributor and Denver music pioneer, Kurt Ottaway (Emerald Siam) says “Let’s escape for three days into a world we created where all of our favorite sounds, thoughts and friends reside. A moment in time where our memory will burn deep with the excitement and love for the future.”
This year’s G.O.C. festival kicks-off Thursday, March 7, at Denver’s Walnut Room. Even though this festival is in its junior years, the lineup is that of a well established festival that has been around for years. G.O.C. is even mentioned on Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s webpage! Heavy-hitters like The Warlocks, The Black Ryder, The Vandelles, Wovenhand, Gliss, and Emerald Siam will be headlining as well as other great local acts and DJ‘s. Throughout the weekend there will be plenty of good music, good vibes, good food, motorcycles on display, art and also an intimate room filled with positive energy. In other words, you do not want to miss Gathering of the Clouds 2013.
Interview: Gathering of the Clouds Contributors, Kurt Ottaway & Maggie Gulasey
Can you elaborate on what compelled you to start Gathering of the Clouds and when did it first start?
(Kurt Ottaway): I used to throw warehouse parties and shows throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s. At these shows, we would idealize the lineup, location, the fliers, and the sound system and create an environment that was more of a “Special event” than just your average everyday rock show. Our budget was extremely thin so we had to be really creative about everything and most of the promotion would just travel by word-of-mouth. It was just so much more rewarding doing it yourself, on your own terms, and it helped to create a memorable experience that many of my friendships are still based on today. Gathering of the Clouds became the next natural step where we commandeered a venue for three days and brought-in some of our favorite national and local acts. Even though the environment was a little more controlled, it enabled the bands to reach a more wider and more diverse crowd. For example, we could mix like-minded acts with local acts that were releasing music and make a huge melting pot of really cool people.
Since the first Gathering of the Clouds, how has this festival progressed and what can we expect in 2013?
(K.O.) I feel as though the quality of the people involved is a statement on its own. Folks that have been playing shows together for over 20 years are still fairly obscure by the world’s standards. They are doing their own thing for the sheer love of doing it. Nobody is really worried about stepping on each other’s toes for three days or the typical ego-elbowing that transpires at a lot of local gigs. So, the progression is that they trust each other and that the music speaks for itself. Three days where everybody feels comfortable doing what they love; just a really great vibe!
(Maggie Gulasey) I have been lucky enough to assist with Gathering of the Clouds in one form or another since its origins. With that being said, I have seen the admirable progression this festival has taken on. It started out in Kurt’s own living space with many deserving local acts, to a large venue with a national headlining act (Spindrift) in 2012 and packed full of some of Denver’s best. This year, we were able to book five national acts and some local bands that I adore. In addition to the performers, I am excited about the venue. G.O.C. 2013 will be held at The Walnut Room which is host to one of the best sound systems for such a humble room.
2013 has some great headliners. Who are you most excited to see and why?
(M.G.) I can honestly state that I am overly excited to see each and every one of our headliners - that’s why we booked them! They are some of our favorite acts and we are just as lucky that they decided to take part in our little festival.
(K.O.) I am just a fan.
What do you think is unique about G.O.C. compared to other music festivals?
(K.O.) We have motorcycles. We have rock n roll. We have merchants. We have projections. We have love!
(M.G.) I think a unique aspect of the festival is the inclusion of the merchants. We have a little bit of everything: Coffee, motorcycles, crafts, jewelry, clothing, and a whole bunch of groups that may not normally cross paths. The merchants do a nice job of rounding the festival out and I think it is a component that a lot of people look forward to.
If you could choose any five bands, past or present, to perform at your festival, who are they?
(K.O.) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Loop, Swerve Driver, The Chameleons (U.K.), and Jim Jones Revue.
(M.G.) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Raveonettes, The Black Angels, and Can.
Are there any future plans to take G.O.C. on the road or are we safe to say Denver is home?
(K.O.) Let the mystery remain a mystery.
Is there any additional information you’d like to provide about G.O.C.?
(M.G.) I think people should come to Denver and check out Gathering of the Clouds. It’s pretty cool here and you might be surprised. All good vibes are welcome!