EVENTS

Electric Forest Weekend One Recap

The 4-day music festival kicks off its first weekend

Electric Forest 2018

The Forest

Since becoming known as Electric Forest in 2011, the magical event has since taken place annually in rural Rothbury, Michigan. People from all over the country take the journey to experience the wonders of the forest and the music that comes with it. In 2017, due to its popularity, Electric Forest became a two-weekend event. The 4-day festival features a mix of jam bands, electronic music, art installations, and so much more.

Totum at Electric Forest. All photos by Davslens Photography.

The forest community continues to grow and thrive every summer. This year, Electric Forest outdid themselves for weekend one, which only brings more excitement for those attending weekend two at the event. The festival featured expanded activities and amenities for campers. Also, inside the festival, there was no shortage of things to do.

The Beauty of the Forest

Electric Forest thrives on the art within the forest to create the mystical escape for festival-goers. Each year, art installations are scattered throughout the festival. One may find themselves lost in the forest, but only for a moment until they stumble upon something like the Grand Artique; a trading post, a place to escape, and another spot to find music being played. These art installations are curated specifically for Electric Forest and add to the overall experience.

Umbrellas over the main walkway into the forest.

In between the two stages in the forest as well as a silent disco, these art installations take the creativity and beauty of the forest to another level. Electric Forest is not just another music festival, it is an experience, a place to find solace, and an oasis to find friends that can last a lifetime.

The Electric Forest Festival Setup

Electric Forest is huge as the grounds easily stretch over a mile, not including the camping areas. As one enters the festival, the Tripolee Stage is the first visible stage. The stage features two massive statues on each side. On top of that, during several performances, cannons shoot fire into the air.

Fire cannons on the Tripolee stage.

From there, a wide pathway leads to the rest of the festival. Along the way, vendors sell anything one may want or need. Continuing down the pathway is the Ranch Arena, a stage that sits to the back of a giant lawn.

Continuing through the festival grounds, the forest appears. Here, there are several stages hidden within the forest and many other hidden treasures. These stages include the Observatory, the Forest stage, the silent disco, and a hidden stage at the Trading Post. Additionally, there is a chapel, a mini-village, a giant maze, several art displays, a piano, and many areas to set up hammocks and relax.

The observatory stage in the forest area.

Back Stages

At the back end of the forest stand three more stages. Sherwood Court towers over another great lawn while featuring acts such as Louis the Child, G Jones, The Glitch Mob, among others.

On the other side is also the Jubilee Stage, set up in a circular tent. It features a roof made of upside-down umbrellas as strobe lights. lighting the crowd. Additionally, the words “Jubilee” hang from the entrance of the stage as well as the ceiling at the front of the stage.

Jubilee Stage.

Lastly, paying homage to the past is the Hanger. Designed like an airplane hanger, it is a tent with a giant walkway and a main street. Indeed, stepping into the hanger feels like stepping back into the 1940’s. To set the mood, Electro-swing music plays from the speakers. Featured storefronts include a barber, a candy shop, a recreation area with pool tables and bowling, a tattoo parlor, a garage, and a recharge station (where one could get massages).

Additionally, one storefront features a house, complete with a living room inside where one could sit down, surrounded by antique furniture, and watch cartoons from the past.

At the very back is also the Carousel Club, which has the appearance of a historic jazz club. It is complete with a dance floor, white cloths draping the walls, a band on the stage, disco balls, and tables with a candlelight seating area on each side.

The Carousel Club.

Camping

When the festival is over for the night, there is still plenty to do. In fact, the RV camping area has several stages playing music well into the morning. One stage, set up on a mack truck, features house and techno sets throughout the night.

In addition, there is a black bus set up by Panky Pang Productions. The bus features both local Michigan artists and national acts. Notably, some highlight performances on the bus included surprise sets by Griz, Buku, and Golf Clap. As a result, it kept the party going on until Sunrise.

Panky Pang Productions black bus.

Music of the Forest

Seven stages, a silent disco, and many more small stages were featured in the forest this year. There was no shortage of music inside the festival. Each day there was something for everyone; whether one wanted to listen to house, dubstep, jam bands, techno, or melodic sounds there was a stage for each. In addition to the plethora of options, curated events occurred daily at some stages featuring the best artists of a certain genre for the whole day.

This year, the lineup for weekend one was absolutely stellar. A staple in the Electric Forest lineup, The String Cheese Incident played two sets, one on Thursday and the other on Friday. For those that wanted to jam out on the lawn and relax, The String Cheese Incident was the place to be. Another amazing performance came from The Griz Live Band. The well-known DJ brought out his other side and played a fun set that included a complete live band.

Griz Live Band at Electric Forest.

Another staple in the Electric Forest lineup, Bassnectar played a downtempo but still heavy set. Bassnectar satisfied fans as well by dropping a new track, “Whiplash”. The popular DJ also played some of his more rare songs and overall played an awesome set.

Luzcid played one of the first sets on day one and he set the tone for the weekend. He played a high energy and unique set just like his music. For bass music lovers alike, all can agree his set was one for the books. Other performers that outdid themselves this year were G Jones, Eprom, Justin Jay, Golf Clap, Elohim, and Buku.

Curated Events

Electric Forest featured multiple curated events throughout the weekend. The events took place at different stages. Each event had stellar lineups of artists of different genres. The ‘This Ain’t Bristol’ curated event featured house artists such as Golf Clap and Mija. Another event presented by Green Velvet was the ‘La La Land’ stage which had heavy house and techno vibes. Artists such as Kill Frenzy and Seth Troxler took the stage for this event.

The Silent Disco at Electric Forest.

The Silent Disco was another exciting feature of the forest. A variety of DJs came to play silent sets in the forest surrounded by neon lights and artistic fixtures within the trees. A memorable performance by Mersiv was played on day two of the festival.

‘BassRush’ Curated Event

The BassRush curated event featured a lineup of stellar drum and bass and dubstep DJs. The lineup included artists such as, Um.., Cookie Monsta, Noisia, Herobust, Kayzo, and Jauz. Um.. played a deep bass set that mesmerized the crowd. Cookie Monsta threw down, performing heavy drops and high energy bass.

Cookie Monsta at Electric Forest.

Noisia had a stellar performance, playing the most impressive set of the BassRush event and perhaps the weekend. The trio of Dutch DJs played a mix of drum and bass and dubstep. The entire set was an experience and it had classic drum and bass sounds. On top of that, the dubstep they played was clean and had tons of heavy drops that got the crowd going.

Jauz finished off the night playing a mix of dubstep and house vibes. Overall, the set up of the stage was mesmerizing with artistic stage props and bass that could be felt throughout the festival.

Fan Response

Fans at the Jubilee State at Electric Forest.

Electric Forest was extremely well organized and it was clear that their primary goal was to keep festival goers safe, comfortable, and having fun. There was no shortage of water refill stations, the bathrooms were clean, there were plenty of vendors with healthy food options and so much more! On top of the wonderful music and art within the festival, Electric Forest completed the experience with such care. Below are what some fans had to say:

Photos via Twitter
Photos via Twitter

Overall, Electric Forest Weekend One was an absolute success! Weekend Two has already kicked off and fans are in for quite the experience.

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Madison Hooker
the authorMadison Hooker