A 30-something named Brad sporting an Alison Wonderland shirt had purchased his ticket to see the Autograf set in RiNo final Saturday on the first Sundown Colorado. He’d been at a pool celebration earlier within the day and needed extra beer to lengthen the vibe. He walked previous ladies flanking the doorway dancing in golden furling wings, artists portray canvases, a silent disco on prime of a firetruck, an inflatable meditation tent, an actual grass forest, a wellness IV detox van, and an acrobatic equipment the place ladies slinked on silk. Finally, he made it to the competition’s Detox Bar and requested for a beer.
No beer, he was informed. Juice, smoothies, mate.
He bounced to the Awake drinks tent. Nonetheless no luck; solely nonalcoholic tempranillo and pink blends. The third tent he approached, Grüvi, had all sorts of beer: Weisse, Pale Ale, Stout, IPA. However, once more, all of it was nonalcoholic (NA). Brad was annoyed as a result of he didn’t understand that he’d stumbled into Denver’s first detox music competition.
He would quickly discover out, although, that alcohol wasn’t essential to maintain a buzz. Hours later, he was grooving to Autograf whereas sipping his second NA Grüvi beer. “Hell, yeah, that was nice,” he stated. “Gimme one other.”
In Brad, you’ll be able to see what Sunset Colorado is attempting to perform, in line with its website: a “new, wholesome nightlife journey.” A raging Denver throwdown for all music lovers that’s comfy for people who’re adjusting their relationship to the country’s most popular drug. It’s a rising inhabitants that features people in restoration, spiritual abstainers, wellness influencers, and a sober curious crowd to see what Saturday night time seems to be like with out beer goggles. (And, definitely, what Sunday morning looks like minus the hangover.)
The competition was began by Amber and Mike Handby, often known as Denver-based DJ duo DoubleCrush. Amber and Mike are usually not in restoration. They only bought uninterested in DJing late at night time in soused golf equipment. “I’d see the way in which [drunk] folks handled one another and the way in which they handled me,” Amber says. Everybody else was simply browned out. “They have been there, however they have been all some place else,” she says. “I might really feel like the one particular person within the membership.”
The duo threw three sober events this summer time introduced by Secret Dance Addiction in entrance of Denver’s NA bar Awake. The enjoyment, positivity, and presence, Amber says, was contagious. It led to the creation of Sunset. “We’re actually excited to see extra wholesome nightlife experiences,” she says.
The competition, which attracted about 1,000 folks this weekend, was like an ideal NA beer: so bubbly, tasty and refreshing you nearly forgot there was no alcohol. (Though, sure, I caught a whiff or two of weed.) The grit and pebble parking zone of the RiNo competition grounds sprouted meals and merch tents promoting kebabs, CBD lotions, artwork, and books. A VIP space had gentle loungy chairs observing a stage with a DJ desk and a stage-wide flatscreen flashing summary patterns behind go-go dancers.
Sunset is more healthy than a typical live performance, with plenty of juice bars and therapeutic massage tents. However you needed to look shut to note what this competition didn’t have: no stumbling, yelling, vomiting, or drunk driving. No letchers drooling over the dancers. Simply folks conversing as coherently at 10 p.m. as that they had eight hours earlier within the day. No lengthy strains on the port-a-potties. Actually, essentially the most crowded spot all night time? The meditation tent.
The world of intoxication, like so many scenes today, is in an actual state of fluctuating antipodes. On the bleary facet, you’ve our alcohol-soaked company tradition, our booming weed business, and our downtown streets stuffed with neighbors nodding to one thing apart from music.
Then again, abstaining from alcohol—both ceaselessly or simply for an evening or two—is changing into extra widespread. Sober bars have opened all over the place from Austin to New York. Hashtags like #SoberOctober populate social media. Denver, self-styled Craft Beer Capital of the World, is seeing an explosion of ostentatious non-drinking, with an inflow of local craft nonalcoholic drinks, sober bars, sober exercise gyms, and sober golf equipment. Grüvi says its gross sales are manner up, a part of the worldwide growth of the nonalcoholic beverage market.
Going out may be scary for non-drinkers. “Once I first bought sober, I didn’t need to go anyplace the place I’d be provided a beer and really feel ashamed I couldn’t drink it,” says Vince Huseman, music program supervisor at Phoenix, a sequence of gyms the place the doorway price isn’t cash, simply 48 hours of sobriety. The gymnasium is internet hosting its personal sober dance celebration October 2. “This live performance is flipping the angle round and saying, ‘Not consuming is a power.’ ” However NA events are usually not only for the health-conscious both: Macklemore is headlining a sober live performance on the finish of this month in Las Vegas, the veritable celebration capital of the U.S.
Billy Wynne began the NA bar Awake this spring in Jefferson Park as a result of, for him, “At a sure level there was a disconnect between mindfulness and getting wasted.” His shoppers skew feminine, LGBTQ, and “hipsters for whom it’s a cool new factor,” combined with a number of highschool children on the lookout for a swanky hold after promenade.
“[Sundown Colorado] might actually change somebody’s life,” says Reace Daniel, one of many competition’s meditation lecturers and a bartender at Denver’s Honey Elixir, a bar designed for the sober curious. “It’s an unbelievable manner for folks to develop their perspective about how sobriety is optimistic and never unfavourable. You don’t have to shut off the world to be sober.”
At Sunset, you possibly can hear folks uncover that in actual time. Like when a burst of rainfall got here, a man named Connor danced shirtless together with his buddies to Autograf and screamed joyfully and clear-headedly into the night time, “I’m 35 days sober! I’m so f*cking sober! Yeowww!”
This is likely to be the primary sober music competition of its form but it surely received’t be the final. The Handbys plan to throw Sunset Colorado once more subsequent summer time. “100% we’ll do it once more,” says Amber. “This was just the start.”