Buddhist universities, clean tap water from nearby glaciers, people riding their bikes to work, smiling folks walking the streets, happy dogs flanked by their proud owners, fresh air filling your lungs, and the sound of techno pumping hard at a downtown park. When locals say, “Boulder is 25 square miles surrounded by reality,” they’ve pretty much nailed it.
The idyllic Colorado town was the setting of this year’s first Communikey Festival (abbreviated CMKY), held April 18-20. Hosted by an enthusiastic crew of DJs, producers, promoters, and multimedia artists from Boulder and Denver, Communikey takes cue from famed techno festivals like Mutek, DEMF, and Decibel, but gives its own special spin to the proceedings.
“Communikey was born out of a history of electronic music culture in Colorado,” explains Kate Lesta, one of the creative directors of the event. “It started with renegade mountain parties, where we would haul our soundsystem into the woods and dance around a bonfire under the full moon. The community bond is very strong. We know we’re taking our local scene to the next level, but everyone here is quite seasoned for it, and we know the community was ready for this.”
And ready they were. Showcases from locals–Denver’s Rope Swing Cities label, CacheFlowe, Brandon Brown, Ivy, Multicast, Dave Fodel, and Beatport’s Tom Hoch–were on par with stellar performances by international techno and experimental artists Pole, Kalabrese, Bruno Pronsato, Skoltz_Kolgen, and Vincent Lemieux.
Aside from partying, Communikey’s other agenda was to explore ways to offset the effects of a festival of this magnitude on the environment. “If the dancefloor builds the strongest community we know, I feel the issue of sustainability needs to be breathed into the industry,” says Lesta. “I believe the people who make up our industry have the capacity to take these problems and create some truly excellent working solutions for electronic music and digital art culture.”