This year, Electric Forest was spread over the course of two weekends, June 22nd – June 25th and June 29th – July 2nd at Sherwood Forest in Rothbury, Michigan.Some artists could have been found at both weekends, while others were just scheduled for a specific weekend. We would have loved to attend both weekends, but due to real life we only had the opportunity to go one weekend. Weekend 1 was our pick and despite the rain and mud it was, as always, a magical weekend.
This year we had two newbies coming to the forest with us and we were excited to pop their forest cherries. Since it was their first time, we decided to let them create the schedules of which artists they wanted to see. This way their first forest experience was exceptional. Most of the artists they picked out I would have never picked out in a million years, but we were seriously pleasantly surprised.
No matter how well you plan your days out though, it is always tossed once you step foot in the forest. That’s because Electric Forest is a festival about more than just the music. From the art installations to the vendors there is so much to see within the forest that you forget who is even playing when. We tried to stick to the schedules as best we could, but it was difficult.
Wednesday night into Thursday morning, it down poured with intense lighting and thunder. In fact, it was so bad that Electric Forest delayed the opening for about 2 hours. We didn’t mind though because that meant more sleep for us after our 24 hour day. When it was close to opening we put our rain boots on, ponchos in our bags, inflated our animals, filled our hands with beer and made our way towards the forest entrance.First stop, The Revivalists. This seven-piece New Orleans roots-driven rock band did not disappoint. While playing with bubbles in the grass and enjoying the sunrays, this was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. If you didn’t get a chance to check them out, give a listen below.Next, we stopped at The String Cheese Incident for a bit before we headed back to camp to regroup, grab sweatshirts and make our way back for Above and Beyond. The storm started up again and as we were on our way back to the entrance of the forest it was unfortunate to find out that they weren’t letting anyone into the festival due to the lighting. We weren’t too pleased, but we walked back to our tent to make the best of it.
Stalking the social media accounts of both Above and Beyond and Electric Forest we found no information about attendees not being let in. We just about came to terms with the fact that we were going to miss Above and Beyond’s set, but the forest was on our side! Some friends on the inside texted us to say they were heading over to catch their set, which meant they had to be letting people back in! We put our ponchos on, did some speed walking to the entrance and through the forest until we reached the Ranch Arena. We made it right in time for the beginning of their set and let us tell you, this was by far one of the most phenomenal sets of the whole entire weekend.
We swear they had a weather remote up on that stage with them because Mother Nature and Above & Beyond could not have been more in sync. At the beginning of the set when Sun and Moon came on and at the closing of their set the sky literally opened up and just down poured for those specific moments. The lasers and the lights even made the rain look like the most spectacular sparkling rain you could have imagined. If you weren’t there to experience this set, check out the clip below that we found on Youtube from Kevin Lisa. All the goosebumps!
After a decent nights sleep we were ready for day two. Our scheduled included, Big Wild, Two Friends, Liquid Stranger B2B Space Jesus, The String Cheese Incident, Pendulum, Crizzly, Zomboy, and Odesza. Out of the 8 sets we only truly saw 1 full set, which was Big Wild. Again, not a set I would have picked, but the first timers were definitely surprising us with their choices.After Big Wild the forest engulfed us and we pretty much missed everyone else besides catching a little bit of Pendulum and Odesza. We were not upset at all because our forest adventure was great. We found the art bar where you could draw on a pyramid chalk board and also color an image to create a pin. We also stumbled upon one of the many fairy doors within the forest as well as the luminary hut. This is where messages of memories and hopes were created in the form of LED candles for the people who are with us in spirit. We also ran into some of the forest creatures, got gonged and even witnessed a marriage in the chapel! Such a random, unplanned, amazing day in the forest so far. (Side bar – If you have never done the Sonic Portal, aka the gongs, at Electric Forest, you are missing out. It is amazing! Don’t let the line discourage you either. It is worth the wait).We caught some of Pendulum, grabbed some food (some delicious Bahn Mi sandwiches at one of the vendors by the Ranch Arena) and then we headed back to camp for some more booze before going back into the forest to catch Odesza. Lot’s of walking! Thankfully, we had a pretty close camping spot due to a security person being awesome and letting us go through a side entrance :). Odesza’s set was amazing – well that’s what we heard. We caught the first 20 minutes of Odesza and then the forest engulfed us once more. The bright lights and all the structures to climb in, climb on and touch were calling us. Walking into the forest during the day is completely different then walking into it at night. The forest comes alive at night in more ways than you could even imagine. We wound up wondering the forest until late into the morning hours, exploring, meeting new friends, stumbling upon the silent disco and even catching some Dixon’s Violin before we headed out.Saturday, June 24th, the sun was shinning and was the cause of waking us as we were being baked in our tents. The plan for the day was The Floozies, Liquid Stranger, Illenium, Bassnectar and Oliver Heldens. Guess how many full sets we saw? Just one. The day started early because we all wanted to explore more. We took our camping neighbors (who were awesome) and made our way inside. We got to listen to most of Corrupt’s set at Tripolee because some of our party waited on line to go through the Newport cigarette truck to get a cheap pack. Once all re-grouped we wandered off to the left of the forest and found ourselves sitting in front of the Jive Joint. There was a guy there playing his guitar who was funny and rather good. He then held up his wrist and said “ See this wristband? This means I’m staff and I am at no obligation to entertain you ‘nor are you at any obligation to be entertained.” Everyone had a laugh and the entertainment continued.Back up and walking we wondered over to where the robot (Mechan 9) was in hopes to set up our hammocks there. The robot was another awesome art installation where you had to decode the messages and figure out how to unlock the final door. We didn’t get around to doing this, but some people who solved it say they got taken to a secret room after. We wonder if it was the same as ours We finally found a spot for our hammocks over at Sherwood Stage and by some beautiful wooden sculptures. There are always so many hammocks that it takes a bit to find a good spot, but once settled we snagged some beers from the craft beer place and someone in our group got a pretzel. That pretzel was so delicious (we all got a little piece to try) that each one of us wound up getting a full one for ourselves! Shout out to Amish Baking Company. With full bellies of pretzel and beer, we obviously took Hammock naps, but once those were done we made our way to watch The Floozies. Again, another great pick by the forest newbies.
We headed out after The Floozies to eat and get warmer clothes on. Once back in the forest we wandered back to The Hangar to find out about a secret place we found out about. Actually, we only knew about it because the day before after our interview with Two Friends, they gave us a special tag where you had to text the code word to a special number. You would receive a text back with the password and where to go (Mr. Deville’s Selfie Studio). Besides the line at the second phone booth this was an entrance to the speakeasy! We also caught a burlesque show while in there as well!
We wanted to see Liquid Stranger, but we got caught up in the Hangar after leaving the speakeasy. We saw Sepiatonic, who were awesome, and we got tattoos (temporay of course). Some of us decided to get them on our butts, and the whole crew working there would yell “attend butt” and salute. The guy we were at already had 62 butt tattoos for the weekend.
After butt tattoos off we went to see some Illenium (sorry Rezz) and then off to the main show of the night, Bassnectar. The Ranch Arena was packed, as it always is for Bassnectar, but we found a spot and planted ourselves for the remaining of the night. Glowsticks flew at every drop and you could see a sea of totems in front of you. It’s truly an unreal site.
The last and final of day of the forest is always bittersweet. We know there is still a full day left, but at the end of the day we have to come to terms that it’s back to reality the following day. Today, there weren’t any major plans besides being in the forest to see The Hip Abduction, Dillon Francis and Big Gigantic. We caught all of Hip Abduction, but we only caught parts of Dillon Francis and Big Gigantic before our bodies began to shut down and were crying for sleep. It was too the point where one of us fell asleep on a couch in the forest while watching a performance on one of the sides stages. We sleepily made our way back to our tents and immediately passed out once our heads hit the pillows. (Yes, we heard the sounds of 12th Planet playing on top of the RV’s, but we barely made it back to our tents).
Monday, June 25th, the day that everyone was dreading because it meant the forest had come to an end and it was time to leave. We got up early, packed up our stuff and made our way back to the airport. Still dirty from the previous night (or days depending on how often you showered if at all), we embraced it as the memories of the last four days were truly amazing. Electric Forest, you did it again – you left us speechless – well kind of. lol. See you next year forest fam!
You can see more photos for each day from weekend 1 below.