Electric Forest – Thousands Come Together To Move As One

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13494869_10205078257274927_1732253746415918864_nThe forest has become silent, the characters have hung up their costumes and all the attendees are back to real life, hopefully all recovered from PFD (post festival depression). However, no matter what we do or where we go, those memories of the forest will always be in our thoughts.

Electric Forest returned again this year at Sherwood Forest in Rothbury, Michigan. From Thursday, June 23rd – Sunday June 26th, forest family came from all over to be re-united at a place we like to come home. Whether you flew or drove, no distance could keep forest fam apart.

This was my second year attending the forest, yet there were times when it felt like my first. Besides being with a fabulous group of individuals who were there for the first time and getting to experience that with them, there were also times that it felt like my first time. Every day/night was a different experience within the forest and if you looked closely enough you could see the forest dancing along with the thousands of people in it.

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The line-up was diverse, as always. You had multiple well-known names, such as The String Cheese Incident, Griz, Porter Robinson, Adventure Club and now, resident artist Bassnectar. Then you had your smaller names, such as Bleep Bloop, Dixions Violin and Dirtwire, which was the perfect opportunity to listen to new artists or even stumble upon them while you ventured through the forest.

With 7 Stages spread throughout the forest, there was something for everyone. Tripolee was the stage of bass, Ranch Area was considered to be the main stage, Observatory Stage was deep within the depths of the forest and hosts unique, obscure music and sometimes non-music performances. Then you have the Forest Stage where most secret sets were held, The Hangar which was a post-war America inspired gathering space, Sherwood Court which was on the opposite side of the entrance and was the second largest stage. Finally you had Jubilee, where the tent exuded a Great Gatsby vibe with over the top chandeliers and fabric detailing.

One of the greatest things that I love about the forest is that the artists embrace it as much as the attendees. For instance, not only do the artists play their designated sets, but many of them make guest appearances during other sets and multiple artists play secret sets or even do pop up sets on top of the RV’s in GA camping (thank you Griz for ending the forest Sunday night that way!). Also, Griz and some members of his All Good Records label joined him for an impromptu marching band through the forest.

There is always so much going on that it is impossible to catch it all! However, when I was not exploring the forest or chilling in hammock, I got to capture some amazing sets. One set that specifically stands out and blew me away was Porter Robinson on Saturday at Sherwood Court. Maybe it’s because it was my first time seeing him or maybe it was the energy from the forest and the crowd, but whatever it was his set brought me tears in the best way possible. It was a set that told an amazing story, a story that I never wanted to end. Bassnectar was another set that was beyond words. Now, I’m not a big bass head, but his set was so captivating and put you in a trance like state where you just couldn’t look away. Other amazing sets were Adventure Club, Caspa B2B Rusko, Griz, Louis The Child, and Tchami to only name a few.

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Besides the music, the art installations and the vendors, the people were a big part of what made the forest! I had the opportunity to talk to multiple people about the forest and their experiences.

Bryan Mullineaux, a forest alumni expressed, “This was my most influential and memorable year. Fueled by the music, electric forest offered the perfect environment to connect with my new found forest family.”

“I’d describe it as a Tim burton theme park with a music festival on the side. You could easily have two days of weird music in the forest with no headliners and then three days of headliners,” stated Kyle Delancy, who drove 19 hours from Brooklyn to experience his first forest.

Both comments are pretty accurate because you could go into the forest with a full plan of who you wanted to see at what stage and then you find yourself getting completely sidetracked within the forest discovering the arts installations and connecting with new people. It definitely was something that I did and totally missed artists that I wanted to see, but I wasn’t even upset about it.

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The art installations were beyond amazing. The heart in the grass, the fish hanging in the trees, the horse made out of recycled parts that moved when you pushed a button and the luminary area where you were able to create bags for people who were unable to attend the forest (it was a very touching installation) were only a few. There were also two-dozen hand crafted miniature doors placed throughout the forest. On my last day, I was lucky enough to find one by the Ranch Area. The one installation that I did miss was the Looking Glass, which was a unique LED installation that used the principles of the infinity mirror. Hopefully, it will be back in the forest next year.

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Marc Tarrant, a Michigan native was attending EF for his 2nd year. “The first time was in 2011 back when there was more like 30,000 people. All I have to say is this year blew my mind!! I had a great time in 2011, but this year took it to the next level! I spent a lot more time meeting new people and experiencing the forest instead of basically just going to shows. Already counting the days to next year!”

A first time attendee was Scott Castaneda. “The experience was beyond my expectations. The only downfall I found was the dust control and bathrooms.” Scott, I do agree with you there. At times the dust was unbearable and the porter potties can be truly nasty, just be sure to always carry a bandana and some extra toilet tissue with you!

13557965_10205078293435831_3463676270597994970_nAnother first time attendee was Cheryl Stewart who came to the festival with her husband. Electric Forest was their last stop of their two month cross country roundtrip! Cheryl had heard descriptions about the festival from others and after experiencing it for herself she was not let down. “There aren’t many words I can use to describe my experience. Seeing the forest during the day was unbelievable, but walking into those tunnel of lights in the Sherwood Forest at night…woah, that is really something else. I seriously had goosebumps and my jaw was on the floor. Complete and pure happiness. It was beyond what people told me! You hear about the lights and the best stages and the cool artists, but going in the forest and seeing an artist painting, then turning around and walking towards a stage of lights and beautiful people dancing and having no worries. You can’t really describe it to someone else, they have to experience the magic themselves. It’s seriously heaven there.”

Cheryl, we couldn’t have said it any better ourselves! The forest is a truly an amazing experience that not many will understand until they try it for themselves.

Until next year forest fam!

Check back for the full album next week.

~Michelle for EDMNYC

 

 

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