Electric Forest has come and gone again, and it couldn't have been better! This year Electric Forest did something new and split the festival into 2 weekends. Not many festivals could do this and has both weekends be successful, but Electric forest totally pulled it off. We had the pleasure of attending the second weekend and it was fantastic! Usually the line to get into the campgrounds at Forest can be long, like hours of waiting to get your car checked long, but this year we pulled up and had to wait maybe 15-20 minutes to get our car checked and we were on our way. Since they split the festival in to 2 weekends, they only had a portion of the campgrounds open, which was fine since there weren't as many people. Our only complaint about the camping is that they had us packed in super tight. We literally had the width and length of our car for our camping space. I think they could have given us each at least a few more inches of space each and it would have been a little more comfortable. This is really the only complaint that we had about the whole weekend so I call that a win.
After we got set up we decided to head into the festival. I have to admit-knowing that we were there second weekend-I totally expected the festival grounds to still be somewhat wrecked from the first weekend. I am happy to say I was completely wrong! Aside from the mud puddles that the rain had left behind(which is obviously nothing anyone can do about-its just mother nature), the cleaning crew did a phenomenal job at making sure everything was in tip top shape for second weekenders, just like it was for the people from the first weekend. It felt refreshing to walk back into the forest.
This year we decided to focus more on the environment around us, the art, the people, the atmosphere and the music as a whole, instead of focusing mostly one acts individually. Yes the music and the artist, individually, are important, but Forest is so much more than that. It's an atmosphere of family and love. I lost track of how many times a day we would walk by a group of people and we would hear “happy Forest!” And we would say it in return. It may seem silly to some, but when you are there, this is how you check on people, this is how you show people you care and that you are there for them even if you don't know them. It’s our community.
There are so many aspects of Forest but I think one of my favorite things is seeing how much the Forest Family gives back, not just to the local community of Rothbury, but to multiple charities. Every year they hold a canned food drive to help supply the local food bank for families in need. Forest family is abundant in giving back-that tent is always overflowing. Electric Family had a tent where they sell bracelets that the artist have designed with them, the designated artist picks a charity and proceeds from each bracelet sold goes back to whichever charity the artist has chosen. My family has seriously probably donated to 50 charities this way because its a things for our family to collect these bracelets. There is To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization that helps those are suffering from depression, addiction, selfinjury and suicide. This organization is so important because they are helping to address mental health issues that affect many of us and our loved ones. And last but certainly not least-Electric Forest gives back to all the local music programs in the schools in the surrounding areas of Rothbury. Because of the Forest Family these kids are able to have music in their lives every day because we gave back.
Electric Forest is known for the amazing artwork, lights and sculptures they have every year. This year it felt like they added a lot more art pieces and land space features and it was incredible. There were several peace gardens, flower gardens, blessing sanctuaries and meditation gardens through out the forest. There was a whole section dedicated to having artist set up and creating beautiful things right in front of your eyes. It was like watching magic before your very eyes. They had some amazingly beautiful sculptures through out the forest and in each stage area. These artist are truly gifted. Forest has this awesome thing where they have artist make fairy houses around the base of random trees through out the entire festival grounds and it sends everyone on a wild goose chase to find these houses while your at the festival(we looked all 4 days and only found 8 out of 24-we are determined to find them all next
The most important piece of artwork this year was the beautiful tribute piece made in honor of Wally Wojack. Wally Wojack is the whole reason that Electric Forest exists. In 1952 Wally purchased the land that now holds Electric Forest every year(the Double JJ Ranch). After a devastating harvest in 1955 Wally repopulated the land with 6’ tall white pine trees that are now known as Sherwood Forest. For 65 year Wally took care of the land and attended every Electric Forest. Unfortunately this past April Wally passed away. Thank you Wally-we are forever grateful for everything you did for the Forest family.
When I say that Forest is like a family, I don't use that term lightly. I mean it in the most sincere and loving way possible. This year at Forest they had an area inside the forest that was used for what they call Her Forest. It was place for anyone who identifies as female to come and share, listen and participate in female only workshops and panels. It was a safe place for womankind to come and bond and lift each other up in a time where its hard to find that on the “outside.” Everyone walks around giving free hugs and complimenting each other on their festival wear of the day. Electric Forest has always been blessed to have the support of the amazing police department in Rothbury and these guys are truly amazing! They were always smiling and laughing, enjoying themselves and the atmosphere, even though they were working. A lot of the officers had arm fulls of candy and were often seen exchanging candy with festival goers. Along with Forest family being Forest family…..there were actually a lot of actual families this year. In years past we would see the occasional younger kid there with their mom and dad, but this year there were lots of families with kids of all ages(some families were even grandparents with adult kids with grandkids there). It was so awesome to see that the love of the forest is starting to be shared and passed on to the next generation of festival goers.
Music is the tie that binds is all together. The music inspires all the art and creativity, it brings us all together to become the family that we love. We got to see some amazing artist do some incredible things. Break Science is a great collaboration between Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee that is pretty magical to see live. Shiba San is always amazing. Big Gigantic left all that they had on the stage plus some…they were amazing! Zeke Beats went back to back with EPROM and it was epic! Sub Focus had everyone moving at the Tripolee stage. 12th Planet is just a beast! Not only did he play his spot on Friday night and killed it, he covered a back to back spots for 2 artist that were unable to make it on Saturday too. Poor guy lost his voice by the time it was all said and done but he in no way let that slow him down. We stumble upon the Grand Antique stage by accident and it was such a happy accident because we got to see Vokab Kompany and they were utterly amazing. A-Trak played at the Forest stage to round out his curated Turntablist stage and it was unbelievable. A-Trak played in a way I had never seen him play before-definitely the best set We have ever seen him do. Alison Wonderland never disappoints. Flume brought the feels for everyone. Dillion Francis closed out the festival on Friday night and it couldn't have been more perfect. Autograf brought their fun loving selves and kept the crowd dancing. We chilled for a little bit and sat back to listen to the almighty String Cheese Incident(you can't go to Forest and not see them!). Lido was the highlight of the entire festival for me(and I'm pretty sure a lot of others are with me on this). He was just simply amazing. I wish I had better words to describe it but it was just a flawless set. Illenium closed out Saturday night and he blew everyone away. Sunday we got to experience Tom Misch, lets just say if you haven't ever experienced him, you should(like now), you will not be disappointed. Minnesota kept the people dancing like he always does. Rezz was unbelievably good. Forest knew what they were doing when they stacked 3 heavy hitters on the last night of the festival. R.L Grimes set was crazy good! Bassnectar played the most badass set-favorite nectar set ever! And Closing out the festival they had the ever loving and amazing Claude Von Stroke who never disappoints his crowd. It was a great way to close the festival out.
If you have never been to Forest I really urge you to try and make it there one day. It is worth the trip and worth every penny you spend. It will be a life changing experience.