Happily Lost In The Woods at Electric Forest Festival 2015

*written by Lizzie Moore for Electronica Life
Electric Forest Festival, one of the United States’ most anticipated music events, celebrated another successful year in Rothbury from June 25th-June 28th. Nestled in an intimate patch of woods in Michigan, this festival is a trek to attend but definitely worth the journey.

Electric Forest is designed to be the ultimate music festival experience. The gorgeous natural beauty of the Michigan woods mixed with the effort put into top of the line stages and décor create possibly the most aesthetically pleasing big festival in the country. There are 7 stages throughout the venue that are illuminated with talent and entertainment from early afternoon until early morning. Expansive areas for vendors, workshops, and art installations create an atmosphere where the forest is always buzzing with activity.

When I first got to the festival, I was amazed at how much it had expanded since I had attended two years ago. Electric Forest 2013 had been one of the best experiences of my life and had stayed in my heart ever since. When my friends and I first entered the venue I realized this festival, regardless of it’s rising popularity, still managed to maintain the intimate atmosphere that makes it so wonderful.

As you enter the gate, you immediately see The Tripolee Stage your right. This stage was my favorite, as its design was captivatingly intentional. This is such an awesome stage for smaller artists to gain exposure, as everyone gets really excited as soon as they walk in the venue and gravitate immediately to whatever is playing. This is actually exactly how I discovered The Polish Ambassador in 2013, and that memory makes his music extra special to me to this day.
The magic of the forest lies within Sherwood Forest itself, a patch of woods in the middle of the venue that truly feels like home. The sun shines through the branches by day, with beautiful art installations and performers creating a whirlwind of color and fantasy. Music floats through the air from the two stages within the forest area and lanterns hang over the walkways.

After unloading the car and setting up camp on Thursday the night began with a beautiful set from Odesza, the perfect soundtrack to transport you into another state of mind. After listening to an artist like Odesza on Soundcloud in the car over and over again, it feels so good to finally hear them live and experience their melodies all around you. After catching a bit of Kaskade we walked through the forest to get to the main stage where Flume was shutting down the night. I feel as if you always know what you are going to get with a Flume performance, and you are never disappointed.

Friday evening, we were relaxing in Sherwood Forest when we overheard Autograf’s set which quickly seduced us to The Observatory stage nestled in the trees. The consensus of my group was that this was one of our favorite sets. If you haven’t heard of Autograf, they are definitely worth checking out. Later that evening, Skrillex put on a high energy performance with pyrotechnics that could put the Fourth of July to shame. Somehow, Skrillex always manages to stay impressively current and in tune with what his audience wants to hear.

On Saturday, every other given word spoken at Electric Forest seemed to be “Bassnectar”. The most scheduled artist on the list, his set was incredibly anticipated. Earlier in the day, we caught SNBRN’s set as the sun was going down, and I noticed that the crowd was practically glowing with good energy. This was probably my favorite moment of the entire festival, as I realized how happy everyone was around me. After the night had taken over, Bassnectar delivered a set that was less “bass head” and actually a lot deeper than I had expected. Afterwards, we caught dirtybird beat master Claude Vonstroke.
Last but not least, Sunday had finally arrived. While this in itself was upsetting, I was so happy that it was finally time for some funk. Low temp future funk collaboration Exmag played in the Jubilee tent, an area we hadn’t previously spent much time in. The perfect mix of jazzy electronic funk with just a hint of 70’s porno music, Exmag is seriously easy listening. Afterwards Gramatik and Big Gigantic closed out the festival each playing sets on Sherwood Court, the festival’s mainstage. These two sets back to back were everything someone looking to groove could have ever hoped for.

Overall, Electric Forest is the complete package for anyone looking to have an amazing experience. With an incredible and well rounded lineup year after year, increasingly innovative art installations, top of the line live artists and performers, every detail of Electric Forest is carefully woven together to create a technicolor forest playground.

One of my best friends put her experience into words so beautifully explaining that “The sense of safety and security was a big part of the experience for me. I felt more comfortable around those strangers than I do around a lot of people I see every day. It’s a great feeling knowing that no one is judging you for doing whatever you want or expressing how you feel. And how you could literally just turn and talk to anyone knowing that they would welcome you into conversation.”

It makes me so happy to see events like Electric Forest sell out, because that means so many people are going out of their way to have an experience of love and happiness. Once someone experiences that atmosphere where they feel comfortable, they can in turn create that in the real world. With so many people comfortable with themselves and radiating good energy, we can really start to change the world. Festivals like Electric Forest are affecting the world because they are affecting the festival-goer. I truly believe that if you create something that is extremely beautiful inside and out, genuine, and expressive, it will attract people that are beautiful, genuine, and expressive as well. That’s exactly what Electric Forest did.