Electric Forest 2016 Review
Every year, Double JJ Ranch comes alive with vibrancy and a signature neon glow. It's Electric Forest in Rothbury, Michigan, and this year did not disappoint. Over 40,000 people from all over the country and surrounding areas came to experience Forest this year. Electric Forest is a four-day camping festival that puts even the most hardened party veterans to the test in a display of electric madness.
The sprawling campgrounds completely surround Sherwood Forest. You camp right next to your car for added convenience. There are street names and roving bicyclist chariots ready to cart you off. Set up camp, and get ready to enjoy your new home for the next four days.
Half the fun is hanging out around camp, meeting awesome people camping by you, and passerby's on the many roads. This is truly home. There were times we'd miss some of our planned artists just hanging around camp too long. Impromptu guitar sets and jam sessions were commonplace; where my Forest Road and Abbey Lane residents at?
Our painted faces emulated ancient mythical figures that prepped to take the Electric Forest in full force. The stumbling trek out of camp proved to be another amazing part of the journey, nomadic camping grounds faded out of sight that opened up to something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
The magic of the entire fest made itself clear as everyone entered into the forest. A long line of smiling faces seamlessly glided under the Electric Forest banners, readying themselves to be greeted by countless works of art installations and incredible music.
The stages were spread out through the entire area. There were a few stages that could be considered main stages, including the Ranch Area and Sherwood Court. Secret sets popped up in random places through the night. Phone alerts were sent through the Electric Forest app, which proved to be vital.
All types of EDM acts were there, mixed in with jam bands, psychedelic rock, folk hip-hop and anything electric you could think of.
Raury dazzled us with anthems like 'God's Whisper' before ending with his call to darkness of the "Devil's Whisper' he played the possessed part all too well with superior acts of showmanship and theatrics that kept all of us crying out for more.
I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of these great artists through the weekend. Right before catching Hermitude's set, I talked with them about some future and past collaborations. Bright Light Social Hour put on a high energy set that had the whole crowd dancing, while Le Youth channeled all his 'Cool' style into a set reminiscent of some underground 90's club scene.
Even if you weren't at a set, just watching the trippy lights unfold and bounce off the tall trees was a show in itself. Porter Robinson unveiled new music in his famed and sought out Worlds Live show. His Divinity chords brought us to a place of nostalgic longing that kept everyone dancing through the whole show. Visuals of tormented Anime characters played out behind Porter as each drum machine hit seemed to unleash everything in his soul.
In between sets you could had to be wary of the wandering GriZ. He played the most amount of impromptu shows throughout the entire fest at all times of the day and night. If you were hungry or thirsty there were local Michigan vendors that kept everyone fed and energized, drinks and festivities were flowing from dusk till dawn. You never knew where you could end up at Electric Forest. Sure there were times when you lost your whole crew, but simply reach out in the darkness and you may find a friend.
The Happiest Place on Earth
Electric Forest is one of the most visually intense festivals throughout the whole country. It's four days of getting to know yourself and Foresters around you. The spiritual and sonic journey is unprecedented. There's a reason this is touted as one of the best camping festivals
There is art in every direction, literally painters working on their work as thousands of smiling faces pass by. These four days there was never a dull moment. The festival has been crafted so that no matter what hour of the day or night it is, there's something to do. It's truly a people's festival. If there wasn't a show or event going on, then someone would simply make one.
Looking Forward to Next Year
There's only so much that's humanely possible to accomplish and experience within your 4 days at a camping festival, especially Electric Forest. Try to hit up each stage at least one time and see your favorite artists. But don't forget to seek out the little things hidden in plain sight. Happy Post-Forest, we hope to see everyone next year and ready for more foresting fun.
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