Walking between the trees, I follow a foot trodden path, illuminated overhead by the lights of the Electric Forest. There is a stage deep in the woods, enveloped in clouds of dust created by the movements of dancing. This is my first taste of the Electric Forest. The dust in my teeth through my bandana, the towering sculptures, the 3D projections decorating everything around me; I am in awe of the production. Soul Clap is on the stage and the bass is vibrating the forest floor. To my left 4 women in tight green outfits, large blue cloud wigs with protruding lightning bolts are breaking it down on each track. To my right I see the crowd, smiling, multi cultural, in festival outfits, all swaying to the addictive music.
The Forest stage is one of the many stages at Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan. Others, such as the Ranch Area stage, which is situated outside of Sherwood Forest, provided an enormous space to view acts such as Bassnectar, STS9 and The String Cheese Incident. The festival grounds are vast and scenic. Filled with art, sculpture, architecture, lights and projections, it is truly breathtaking.
Through the main gates, joined by a flood of other festivalgoers, you arrive at the Tripolee Stage. In the daylight, Tripolee looks magnificent, but once the night crept in it further progressed into a spectacle of light and imagery. Seeing Caspa and Rusko play b2b on Tripolee was an incredible experience that could have only been achieved at Electric Forest. Classic rude-boy dubstep enveloped the Electric Forest’s entry stage, paired with projections that had my mind running in circles.
The most unique part about Electric Forest is that it is truly transformational from day to night, and can be witnessed throughout the four days. Each time I set foot onto the festival grounds I noticed a difference, whether it be the art installations, the many troupes of actors scurrying around, or the lights and projections throughout the forest.
Sherwood Court is the stage on the opposite side of Sherwood forest, meaning you walk past Tripolee and Ranch, pass the Forest, and then reach Sherwood Court. This is where friends and I, fully in the groove, witnessed an epic Disco Biscuits set, which was accompanied by their well-known lasers. Despite some audio issues at the start of the set, the Biscuits shredded the Sherwood Court, leaving the first timers standing next to me speechless. In the span of four days I was lucky enough to touch down on every stage, The Tripolee, Ranch, Jubilee Tent, Woods Stage, Observatory, Hangar and Sherwood Court. The atmosphere of Electric Forest is pulsating with energy. Shouts from passing festival-goers through the day and night echo a “Happy Forest” from the distance. The music perfectly paired with the environment, food and endless activities. I found myself in a blissful state Saturday evening once I sat down at the Ranch stage for The String Cheese Incident and Bassnectar. I did not move from my spot for about 6 hours except to dance. Fireworks over head, a hot air balloon ascending in the night sky with Bassnectar’s mushroom oscillation intro had my hair standing on end.
Leaving the festival was bittersweet, I was ready for a hot shower and a soft bed, but I wasn’t ready to leave my forest fantasy behind for my NYC reality. With my first Electric Forest experience under my belt I can say wholeheartedly that I will be sure to find myself lost between the trees once again next year.