Electric Forest Experience

Electric Forest

After coming off a flight from Vegas into Denver, all I wanted to do was stretch across my bed and sleep. But I had no longer than 8 hours to prepare for a road trip to my first camping festival: Electric Forest. Laundry, picking up last minute gear, marinading steaks, packing snacks; all of this had to be done before my departure. It was a long road ahead… 18 hours to Chicago to pick up a couple friends, and 4 more hours to Rothbury from there. That was plenty of time to break up my post-Vegas daze.

Once finally at the venue, it was clear we would have to be patient. Getting to the campsite was no easy task, and the lines of cars stretched long. I drifted in and out of sleep, eager to just set up camp. When we finally got in, we were lead all the way to the last camping zone, furthest from the forest. That’s when we knew we were in for lots of walking throughout the weekend. Exhausted as we were, we set up the tents and canopies right away, and then the beers came flowing. We had a few hours to rest and refuel our minds and bodies before making the trek to the forest.  As we walked the campgrounds, I could see tents and camps for miles all waiving their hometown banners. There were groups hailing  from Colorado (we saw quite a few!) all the way to Canada. As we continued toward the forest, the music got louder and louder and our anticipation was getting higher. Most of the crew was going to experience electric forest for the 1st time, and though we had barely slept, it was impossible to feel tired.

Upon walking in you notice the very first big stage called the Tripolee Stage. It rose out of the trees like a strange, abandoned alien spaceship. Here we would see new and rising electronic acts like Illenium and Snails to as well as scene vets such as Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold. As we approached the central part of the venue, we saw all sorts of vendors selling everything from mesmerizing LED hula hoops to the famous spicy pie pizza that I found myself indulging in many times over the course of the weekend . The main stage was situated nearby: where we would witness Skrillex and Bassnectar throw some of the most defining sets of their careers. Later on that weekend, I actually spotted Lorin walking out of the artist village before his set. He covered his face, and slipped into the massive crown incognito. I had a feeling he was feeling out the energy of the crowd before throwing down our forest soundtrack.

I have never been much into the jam band scene, but I went into this festival with an open mind as I knew it’s a huge part of the experience. I caught some legendary acts that were new to me like String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band. I was so surprised how hard they rock out. It was impossible not to dance and love how wild the crowds were for these sets, it truly matched the energy of the festival. It was also a huge treat to see Skrillex on the guitar with String Cheese. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that he got his start in an emo band, but he blew us all away with his guitar skills. I could tell he was feeling it and absolutely loving this performance, and wrecked the crowd for over an hour.

Friday night featured a variety of dubstep heavy hitters, and had to be one of my favorites. Having artists like Crizzly, Snails, Datsik and Skrillex playing b2b all together was certainly one for the books. Snails played some of the filthiest sets I have heard in a very long time: it brings to light the meaning of “vomit step.” Datsik came on after and had another killer performance with a lot of crowd pleasing drops. To close out the main stage was, of course, the man himself: Skrillex. Everyone at the end of the night all agreed they have never seen a Skrillex set like that before. As the crowd exited, many were drawn back to the Tripolee stage where Flux Pavilion was closed out the epic night.

Though we didnt get much sleep, I pushed myself to wake up early enough to catch some yoga with the famous Hannah Muse and prepare for an epic Saturday. It was amazing seeing so many people of all shapes and sizes gather for yoga… Though I am not very good, it was fun and refreshing to get some exercise with my Forest Family. After yoga, we started up the day with amazing Minnesota. The atmosphere was so welcoming and relaxing.. everyone was all about having a good time under the sun. After this set, we assembled our crew and headed out to the silent disco where we caught some underground techno. After all, we were just a few hours outside of Detroit: when in Rome. The groovy techno beats got us pumped up deep in the trees, and before we knew it we realized, “the ceremony is about to begin.” Nectar. As we got to The Ranch stage there were already tens of thousands eagerly waiting for him to play. We all got situated under the clear night sky and waited. His 12:30 set time came and went.. The crowd was getting a bit anxious and the air hung heavy as we all waited. Finally by 1:00 he took the stage started playing a very mellow chilled set that everyone could groove to. By the end of the set our moods were so elevated, and we headed towards the exit. and as well tired from dancing all day. Though we were exhausted from dancing, the Tripolee stage drew us in like a magnet. Who better to end the night than DirtyBird founder Claude VonStroke. He threw down an amazing set with very chill basslines and lots of soul. His beats lifted me out of the forest and it felt like we were dancing out hearts out in a big city. What a set.

The final day crept up on me; I couldn’t believe the weekend was almost over. I was very eager to see acts like Alison Wonderland and Wiwek. Since we were pretty tired, a good portion of the day was spent mostly just relaxing exploring the forest, and we made memories that we will cherish for a long time. We caught the live set of Goldfish to start the evening off right, before heading back to the camp to relax with some beers and grill up the remaining. After refueling, we headed back in.

The highlight of the night once again was at the Tripolee stage for the legendary Paul Oakenfold. My favorite moment of the weekend was his mix of the famous Sandstorm by Darude. We have all heard this song thousands of times but this 10 minute remix is something I can never forget. He closed by yelling out into the crowd, “Yes you know who I am!”

The weekend in the forest was full of adventurous and was indeed very tiring. Everything about it was totally worth it, and very special. Everything from waking up sweating in that Michigan humidity, to the smiles of the crowd, to the after parties…This magical experience in the forest is something I will definitely seek out again next year.

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