After two years of two back to back weekend, Electric Forest 2019 returned back to a single weekend. Prompting the question from attendees- What will that single weekend in Rothbury, Michigan hold in store for the Forest Family?
For 2019, Electric Forest definitely brought the heat for attendees. Not only was there a stacked lineup, but there were new art features, installations, and stage additions throughout the venue. After bringing in a completely sold out festival, the Forest did not disappoint. The festival occurred from Thursday, June 27, 2019 to Sunday, June 30, 2019.
Getting Into Electric Forest 2019
Unlike other festivals, getting into the Forest was exceptionally easy. Not only were there several signs on the road directing traffic as we started to near the Double JJ Resort, but there were also tons of volunteers on the roads directing traffic and answering questions. This was a great relief after the experience at Bonnaroo and their staff being unable to direct traffic where they needed to be. To top it off, upon arrival at the North Tollbooth gates, there was no line. Attendees were simply able to drive up, get checked, and proceed into the grounds.
Electric Forest 2019 was also encouraging attendees to carpool, or get to the Forest by other means this year such as shuttles and carpools. Those that showed up with three or more people in their car were given a pin that got them secret access to parties throughout the weekend.
Getting to Camp and Setting up
After getting through the Tollbooths, it was time to set up camp. The GA campgrounds were spread wide, however, we quickly made our way over to the Group Camping section. This allows anyone in this area to come in and camp with a specified group, rather than having to be in line with them upon entrance like GA. The campsite was set up like a small town, canopies and common areas were in the middle, with tapestries hung up and tarps laid down for walking. Tents were then put off to the sides of the canopies with cars surrounding the tents for an extra level of privacy. Fans can check out information about wristband and lodging packages here.
Related Post: Electric Forest Drops 2018 Lineup
Inside the Venue
The first couple days presented attendees with a surprising obstacle- there was a huge line to get into the actual venue. Music started at the stages around two or three, but most attendees decided to head in closer to 5:00 PM or 6:00 PM. The line took attendees all the way from the back of the grounds, through the Main Street vendors, and into the turnstiles for security checks. The only complaint for the weekend was that the bathroom situation within the venue needs a lot of additions. There were not enough bathrooms and typically, we found ourselves waiting upwards of 30-40 minutes just to get into a port-a-potty.
There were several different stages for attendees to visit while in the venue. Each stage boasted a different style and genre of EDM, as well as several smaller stages that were the home to secret sets throughout the weekend. Unlike in previous years, Forest did not print hard copy festival maps for schedules for attendees this year. But, within the venue attendees were still able to rent a locker if they needed.
This was the first stage after going through security checks, and some consdier it to be a ‘main stage’ for EF. This was home for most of the weekend, catering to more heavy bass loving fans. The first noticeable change to this stage was the addition of new structures on the sides. As well, the sound of the stage was off the charts. It was as if EF upgraded their sound system for the stage and there were no complaints from the fans on this. This stage was also loud enough that being in the campgrounds, festival goers were still able to hear the music. Tripolee was the home to several stand out performances this weekend including Subtronics, Alison Wonderland, and Black Tiger Sex Machine.
2. The Ranch
Another ‘main stage’ within the venue, this stage was home to the headliners for the weekend. Although there were no noticeable changes to the stage itself, the production tent was exceptionally shorter this year. After talking to several multi-year Electric Forest festival goers, this was a great change that they hope continues into 2020. Noteable acts that graced The Ranch this weekend were The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar and Kygo.
3. The Observatory
The Observatory was located within the Forest. It was a smaller stage, but present attendees with several different vantage spots to see the stage. On top of the several vantage points, the stage was also exceptionally loud, which was again, another positive among festival attendees. Seven Lions and Dimimbo played an amazing house back to back on Sunday that had the crowd begging for more.
Jubilee looked more or less like a circus tent. It was close to the back of the Forest venue, near Sherwood Court and The Hanger. This tent was home to several different artists this past weekend, including one of the String Cheese Incident’s sets, Lettuce, Saba, and CharlesTheFirst. This was a magical place to be towards the ends of the day as the sun was setting- the sunset and the hot air balloons going up were magical to witness.
5. Sherwood Court
Sherwood Court, along with The Hanger and Jubilee, were located in the back of the venue. This stage was the home to what can be considered alternative EDM genres. Artists such as Daya, Tauk, Eoto, Bob Moses and STS9 graced the Sherwood stage this past weekend. Each set was beautiful, and some of them were even more magical as attendees watched the sun set on the Forest over the trees.
6. Carousel Club
Located in the very back of The Hanger, the Carousel Club was a blast from the past and entry to a whole new world. Walking into the club was like leaving Forest and going back to a the Disco era. A notable surprise set of the weekend was Louis The Child, and attendees flocked to see them as expected. As well, those attendees that were part of the six in the Forest got an exclusive celebration in the Carousel Club.
7. The Honeycomb
Within the Forest, The Honeycomb offered much for attendees. Not only was there a swanky cocktail bar for anyone to get their drink on, but this was also a stage. That meant scheduled artists such as Datura, LYNX, and Sorne. As well, attendees were able to hang up their hammocks while listening.
This is truly where the magic happened at Forest this year. Located inside of the Forest are all of the interactive artist installations and experiences. This is where attendees found repreive from the sun during the day, escaped into a new world at night, and discovered new artists and secrets around every turn. Not to mention that it is a Forest tradition to leave your own goodies, surprises, and gifts throughout the grounds.
One cannot miss experience in the Forest was the Silent Disco. Nestled into the heart of the forest, walking by people would be bobbing, flowing and even headbanging. The Honeycomb was also located on the far side of the Forest. This was the home to tons of secret sets, as well had an awesome cocktail bar that served up special drinks for the attendees.
Another highly notable feature of Sherwood Forest was The Chapel. There were tons of bona fide, ordained ministers running around with attendees this weekend enjoying the festivities. Forest is the home of many weddings each year, all of them boasting their own individual and unique experience.
The Giving Tree
This is an iconic location for Forest goers to visit while at Electric Forest. The Giving Tree is where attendees leave gifts and goodies for others to find. Many people used this as a place to leave some promotional matrials, whether that be buttons (which you can order here), cards, kandis and perlers. In previous years, festival-goers were able to climb the tree and hide gifts within the branches. This year, however, it seems like security was consistently pulling people out of the branches. By the end of the weekend though, the tree was scattered with a variation of trash and goodies.
Navigating the artists conflicts this year was exceptionally difficult. With such a stacked lineup, trying to decide who to skip, who to split and who is a cannot miss. This year, Forest stacked the 2019 schedule with artists that blew everyone’s minds. For those that were not able to attend Forest this year, Insomniac also offered EF radio, which was a live stream of the shows going on over the weekend.
The main headliner on Thursday: Odesza. The main headliner on Friday: Kygo. As for Saturday: Bassnectar. Last but not least, Sunday: Zeds Dead. Here is the full lineup as well.
For House lovers, EF brought in some popping artists such as Gorgon City and Bob Moses. As well, there was an amazing secret House set by Seven Lions and Dimimbo over at The Observatory.
For heavy bass music lovers Alison Wonderland, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Subtronics and Ivy Lab were all present at Electric Forest 2019 as well. After seeing Alison Wonderland for the fifth time this year, this was arguably the best set she has played thus far.
Alternative EDM lovers were also given some choices between amazing artists such as CVBS, Dixon’s Violin and Cosmo’s Midnight. These artist really blew it away with such an intimate stage setting. Once the music started, Forest dwellers would come running.
Other stand out artists for the weekend included Whethan who played at the Ranch with a stand out performance. His set was an insane mixture of fan favorites and other artists like Rezz. The Ganja boys also brought down the house at the Sherwood Court stage. As always, their set was lively with insane mixes of their own, and friends, music.
Overall, Electric Forest 2019 was one for the books. Aside from the minor bathroom issue, there were very few complaints for the weekend. The weather was beautiful, the people were positivity and happiness everywhere, and the music was outstanding. We are already anxiously awaiting for EF 2020. Click here to learn more about it.