Last weekend, June 27- June 30, 2013 Electric Forest Music Festival took place in the outskirts of small Rothbury, Michigan. The festival is along the gorgeous Lake Michigan and the large water brings in a constant cool breeze. Located on the Double JJ Ranch— normally a quiet cabin or camping getaway with golf, fishing and horseback riding– the past weekend turned the resort into a roaring EDM, Rock and Jamband Music Festival with over 32,000 fans!
Electric Forest is given its name because of exactly what it says– pre-festival workers set up electric lights, stages, decoration, gardens sculptures, bars and more in the Sherwood Forest. The general Admission camping festival entrance is to the first two stages- to reach the other 3 stages festival goers must walk through the woods! This year, the large pathway into the woods draws you in by vibrant lanterns strung across the sky. Upon entering the woods you have to decide to follow the crowd to the left or the crowd to the right or disperse somewhere into the trees in between. To the right is a neon glowing clock tower with clock hands spinning and a path that leads you to a bamboo cut-out in the shape of tear drops with benches inside crowded with people– friends and strangers alike chatting.
Next, a stage in the woods surrounded by fans and groups of hammocks hanging high up into the trees. Larger than life, glowing neon lanterns light the path here. Continue and reach the path to the final main stage and area of the festival. If you chose to go to the left you would see large, metal owl sculptures, a large Buddha lotus sculpture, miniature gardens, a Saloon with extravagant, costumed characters bringing this bar to life, and the silent disco hidden amongst stretched neon glowing fabrics and large paintings. In the area are psychedelic flowers and clouds, paintings, and a wishing tree– where if you leave something you may take something: there were cards, business cards, books, stickers and much more! Next you would find a grove of dream catchers and mandala woven in the trees with neon string. Up above on the path are lanterns with intricate cutouts that look like woods and owls. If you chose the middle you will encounter large groupings of hammocks and people enjoying the scene. Next arises an enchanting, large stage and bars, tiered painted in red and gold with Oriental themed carvings of koi fish and birds, umbrellas with golden fringe and embroidery and more– almost like an open-air palace or ship in the middle of the woods. After exiting the oriental area there are more
interactive sites in the woods including a train with pieces made for a mini-jam circle, a tree for adding a piece of artwork you could create right there and an interactive roll your chances game: whatever the spot says you land on– you do! Leave behind the trees lined 20 feet high with hammocks and you will find the final main stage.
The forest at Electric Forest is beautiful. It is so engaging and glowing. Every time we walked through there we discovered something new! That feeling of being on the edge of discovery for something beautiful and happy is such an awesome experience! Once we found a pay phone attached to a tree and we had to see if it was working! Next we found a glowing mandala hanging from the trees, we found sculptures of recycled materials that looked like once-upon-a-time crowns of kings, we found characters on stilts, a scary alien with glowing eyes peering from inside its cabin and the passer-byes and much more! What an amazing experience! It is such a dream walking through there. Electric Forest does not stop at its amazing installations, Sherwood Forest, beautiful lighting, and decorations– it pulls an awesome lineup.
This year’s music lineup had around 100 artists and featured 3 great nights of The String Cheese Incident as well as Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun, Knife Party, Dispatch, Lotus, Benny Benassi, Beats Antique, A-Trak and Pretty Lights! The music taste was varied between sweet tunes of SCI and dance music of Pretty Lights and the other DJ’s such as A-Trak. We also got to hear the more eclectic and loved Eliot Lipp, Digital Tape Machine, Lettuce and others. Dispatch played a fun early night set Friday night, which was followed by a late night of String Cheese and Passion Pit. Although the main stages ended there was still music to find in the campgrounds and forest for the late night partiers who stayed up. The next day the campgrounds were blasted awake by the EDM stage with Raw Russ and then Moon Hooch. Saturday the festival was in full groove and we saw Lettuce, BoomBox and another full late night set of String Cheese. In the late night Empire of the Sun, Above & Beyond and Knife Party set the dancing beats to keep the sore feet moving all night long! Sunday was again blasted awake from the loving sayings of the yogis and then to the beats from the main EDM stage. We heard the Floozies, then Greensky Bluegrass, Eliot Lipp, an earlier evening set of String Cheese, Emancipator and the night ended with Pretty Lights and Beats Antique. Pretty Lights rocked the crowd out: everyone was dancing to the beat and he pulled the crowd in. The String Cheese sets were great. This band is so uplifting and fun to see and listen to; the crowd is always friendly with smiles and dancing to the bluegrass rhythms mixed with rock and modern jam music style influences. The crowd at Electric Forest was as diverse as its music: from the jam bands that brought in loving hippie-types to the heavy EDM music which brought in the ravers. The atmosphere was colorful, exciting and loving.
Electric Forest is such a blast! This is one of the friendliest festivals I have experienced! The area is so friendly and welcoming and it feels like everyone is there to have a good time. People there are enjoying themselves, the weather, and the company that surrounds them. Walking in the campgrounds Electric Forest goers have art, Reiki, disc golf, feel good vibes, live music and its very friendly. In addition to being an extremely friendly this year was reported very low crime by Lt. White of MSP.
Electric Forest is a gorgeous location; the summer weather of the area is cool and pleasant in the trees. The atmosphere is dreamy, enchanting, and lots of fun. The locals and those who travelled alike have come for an enjoyable time and the festival definitely provided!
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