Last year, Denver experienced the first occurrence of the immersive art and music event Far Out Factory, and party-goers were not disappointed. The “cannabis-inspired” festival combined music with visual art in a way that elevated both to different heights. From a spin-the-wheel doughnut wall to more esoteric decorations, the entire place was transformed into an experience that allowed attendees to escape reality for a little, all while listening and dancing to DJs and musicians on custom-built stages.
This year, Far Out Factory has changed but is still offering an interactive culture-fueled adventure. It’s taking over a warehouse on October 11 and 12, adding an extra night to the event to expand the number of musical artists showcased and to give the public even more time to check out the “adult funhouse.” It’s also changing locations, from the Denver Rock Drill to Major Studios at 3881 Steele Street. According to Ben Reisler of Two Parts (one of the organizations putting on the event), the new location holds exciting options, like allowing people to move between the interior and exterior spaces with ease. Another difference between last year’s inaugural festival and the second edition is the extended hours, with music playing until 2 a.m. both nights.
“We had such a huge success selling out the event last year, that we decided to double the size and bring the event back to Denver with new artists, new installations, and exciting food and beverage offerings,” said Brittany Hallett, VP of Marketing at SLANG Worldwide, parent company to O.penVAPE (the cannabis organization in charge of the festival).
Far Out Factory will highlight their other sponsors with certain areas dedicated to different businesses — but in an unusual way. Each brand has been tasked with finding its essence through art, preferably immersive art. It’s an idea that sprouted last year after the first festival, where organizers wanted a more organic way to incorporate sponsors and brands. Instead of slapping a logo onto something, they want the brands to explore ways to engage the party-goers while also communicating their message.
It’s a clever idea that allows the festival to commission nearly 40 local artists or art collectives to create something unique. With that many artists, the range of medium and style is vast, from digital installations to light design to performance to painting.
The list includes popular Denver-based street artists — like Mpek, Tuke One, Chelsea Lewinski, UC Sepia, Zehb, Anna Charney, Lindee Zimmer and Tribal Murals — almost all of whom have participated in similar events that combine music and live painting like Grandoozy, Arise and Sonic Bloom. But painting is only one aspect of the art activation at Far Out Factory, which means that textile and sculptural work will also play a big role. In that genre, there’s work from Ladies Fancywork Society, Museum of Outdoor Arts (the creators of Natura Obscura) Meowjie and Zipper Belly, Sam Ott, Audio Pixel and more.
A large part of any event like this one, that adds an artsy angle to a concert, is digital or technological. Digital projections, technicolor light displays, holograms and animation on screens have been an integral part of the electronic music scene for decades now, and with technology constantly improving it’s only getting more immersive and wonderful. In this category, Far Out Factory is showcasing the work of Jon Medina, Photonic Bliss, Living Light Sculptures, Soundscape VR, Alt Ethos and more.
One of the surprising and exciting aspects of this event is the opportunity for artists to work beyond their normal boundaries, or for “art” to encompass more than you might think. Zimmer is experimenting with light designs rather than focusing on painting or murals, for instance. Other artists are bringing their most iconic pieces of work with them, like Aaron Wilson and the “Terrasect.” Frick Frack Black Jack will offer a no-cash-no-limit barter blackjack experience. For the rest — like Mike Lustig who is known for helping to fabricate the giant mirror disco ball inside Mission Ballroom — it’s a mystery that can only be discovered by going to the festival.
For music lovers, the lineup includes names like Will Clarke (night one) and Brasstracks (night two), while also showcasing local artists like Motion Trap and Retrofette. It’s eclectic and dance-oriented, but the format gives people opportunities to explore the rest of the festival’s offerings if a certain musician isn’t their style.
The music lineup:
Crooked Colours (DJ set)
Retrofette (DJ Set) – Local
Nasty Nachos – Local
Chrome Sparks (DJ set)
Quantic (Solo Live)
Motion Trap (DJ Set) – Local
Snubluck – Local
Events like this — with hybridized activations of music, food and art — are becoming the new norm in Denver, which is characteristic of Denver’s patchwork cultural community. Where other major cities have established certain avenues for success in the arts, Denver is still defining itself. This freedom from tradition allows Denver and its art and culture landscape to evolve within a modern setting. And even though Far Out Factory is only in its second year, we are pretty sure this festival will survive and thrive for years to come.
Scenes from last year’s Far Out Factory:
Far Out Factory is October 11 and 12 at Major Studios located at 3881 Steele Street, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.