On the morning of June 23rd, you could hear the quiet purr of EDM in the distance. Cars lined up miles long to reach the gates of the famous Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan. The party started even before they entered; beers were opened and music blasted as people left their cars to set off the vibe of the festival. From Canada to California, people have traveled hundreds of miles for this 4 day celebration of all things eccentric and strange. It’s more than the music at Electric Forest; it’s the people, the energy, and the ever enchanting forest! Electric Forest is one of it’s own being located in an actual forest filled with lasers, lanterns, and 7 stages to be filled at all hours of the night. An array of personalities and ages came together to enjoy what is considered to be the one time to set free and be yourself. Hippies, hip hoppers, millennials, and misfits all joined forces in the glittery, flamboyant, neon stained, Electric Forest!
The festival started off with a bang as always! Eager bodies filed into the venue entrance early afternoon, with DJs and ferris wheel already spinning. The bass and happiness so powerful that you can feel it in your soul. Prof, Major Lazer, and DJ Jazzy Jeff were among some of the headliners that night. With each stage having it’s own vibe and theme, it was like a different party at every corner of forest!
Sherwood Court was home to star hip hop and DJ acts such as Futuristic, Porter Robinson, and Hippie Sabotage. Hippie Sabotage was definitely a crowd favorite! The two brothers came out with a dedication to make it an otherworldly experience for us. Crowd interaction was a must with these two! They actually dove into the crowd and had conversations with the concertgoers!
Returning favorite, The String Cheese Incident, was a three day act that jammed on stage at the Ranch Area for hours! Other Ranch Area acts consisted of Major Lazer and Bassnectar. The famous Diplo lead Major Lazer in making it one of the most memorable performances of the night! Walshy Fire, another member of the EDM group, hopped into a larger than life plastic ball and ran into the crowd! If you weren’t into EDM before, Major Lazer definitely converted you!
Jubilee was the stage to be at for the R&B, Pop-Rock, and Hip Hop lovers. Acts such as LANY, Tei Shi, Raury, GZA, and Talib Kweli graced our eyes! After a late cancellation of rapper Fetty Wap, hip hop legends GZA and Talib Kweli graced the stage with lyrics I’m not even old enough to remember! Raury hit the stage on the final day of the festival, leaving the crowd full of joy and unity. The rapper/singer had a way of feeding our souls while also giving life to our carefree wild side that brought us to the forest. Raury was definitely an act to catch this year!
All in all, Electric Forest was one the best festivals I’ve ever been to! The forest is a character of it’s own in this world of curiosity. Whether you’re in the forest the entire day role playing, on a scavenger hunt for a secret party, or even just lounging in the campgrounds, there is always something new to discover. This forest carries some of the happiest, most accepting people in the country and everyone who attends, know that. The musical acts appealed to the likes of everyone simply because of the energy everyone brought. Friendships formed, questions were popped, and lives were changed. Electric Forest 2016 was a journey that can only be experienced to understand. It was an experience we will never forget.
Photos by Pierre Ware
Words by Maya Clark