What started as a way to perform his own music on a “cool stage” 16 years ago in Northern Colorado, has now turned into an annual Halloween festival of sorts for Michael Kirkpatrick and his band, The Holler!.
Two weeks before Halloween every year for the past 16 years, Kirkpatrick produces a two-day music and camping festival called Holler!ween held in the high planes of Northern Colorado on a camping ground near Fort Collins.
Even though The Holler! band members have come and gone, Holler!ween still thrives as a way for local musicians and artists to express themselves.
“When we were young and newcomers to the scene, no one was inviting us to festivals so we decided to make our own,” said Kirkpatrick.
Although the event is right before Halloween, costumes are required to attend, and jack-o-lanterns light up the campsite, don’t be fooled – Holler!ween is not your average festival or a place for children, but, it is a festival that allows for the celebration of art and music.
“A first timer may be overwhelmed by the weather, the amount of jack-o-lanterns, or the overall mind-blowing coolness of the weekend. You don’t need an invite, but it is recommended that first-timers come with a guide. Guides can be found by attending one of my shows, mingling through the Fort Collins underground or maybe, one will even find you,” Kirkpatrick said. “[A first-timer] should get plenty of sleep and hydration before the event. A guide is there to ease your transition into our Holler!ween world. Music happens on two stages located in indoor heated environments, but the temps can be quite cool on the high planes in October. We also [will have] one giant, central bonfire.”
Kirkpatrick also recommends a costume and camping gear that will blend with the weather and natural environment. Guests are allowed to bring a tent, an RV, or anything in between, but some people, he says, never sleep during Holler!ween at all.
An event he describes as a “place to build each other up, enjoy music, a call to the wild, and a pause for a much needed ecstatic celebration”, Holler!ween has become a fall tradition for more than 800 people a year — and some even come from out of state to attend.
“We need art and love more than anything right now. The three words on our crest are community, novelty, and intent. This year, we are also celebrating our good friend, community pillar and long-time Holler!weener, Dennis, who is turning 70,” he continued.
For the past 6 years, Tony and Kellie Falbo of The Sustainable Living Association have used their expertise to provide support and direction for Holler!ween. The Sustainable Living Association is an organization committed to helping people build sustainable communities by protecting the natural systems that sustain the earth.
“We are lucky to have partnered up with a nonprofit that shares our philosophy and sense of adventure. Our crew brings circus tents, fencing, port-o-potties, stages, decors and generators to the site to build Holler!ween from the ground up. Along with building a sweet beer garden and organizing permits, volunteers, and logistics, Tony and Kellie’s love permeates through all aspects of the weekend and they are the perfect team,” Kirkpatrick said.
This year’s event, Holler!ween XVI takes place on a beautiful farm located at the base of the Poudre Canyon and includes 2 days, October 19th-20th, two music tents, and over 20 bands. Tickets include camping, but the festival is accepting non-perishable food items for the Food Bank. Friday starts with campers arriving throughout the day, but the gates open at 6pm. The music on Friday goes until 2am. The music on Saturday starts at noon.
“We have food trucks on site including Buzzthru Espresso Bar run by veteran Holler!weeners, Bruce and MaryJane, and the music on Saturday will go very late with festivities and jams happening around the fire well into Sunday lunch,” Kirkpatrick adds. “Our hope is that everyone that comes to this event acts with love and respect while going through the weekend’s journeys. With this philosophy, Holler!ween has thrived for 16 years. This attitude will become more important as we grow into the future to include more members of the community, bigger production, and some national acts.”
For more information about Holler!ween XVI, rules, tips and what to bring, please visit https://sustainablelivingassociation.org/events/hollerween-xvi/. You can also purchase tickets and get in touch with Michael Kirkpatrick via Instagram @hollerween.