WHAT IS ELECTRIC FOREST?
Electric Forest is an Electronic Dance Music and Live Jam Band festival based out of Double JJ Resort in Rothbury Michigan. The festival lasts 5 days and usually features a multi-genre lineup of artists and performers, many which are nationally renowned. Electric Forest originally started in 2011. The festival is organized and managed by Insomniac Events which is an EDM music event promotion company founded by Pasquale Rotella. It is similar to other music festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Moonrise, and Coachella.
Electric Forest is distinctive from these events though because of its unique forest setting and because of its featured curated events. Electric Forest is known for being a special type of music festival with mesmerizing performances, insanely weird activities, and an odd immersive experience! It is not just a concert or a rave, but a theatrical absurdist vacation that will intrigue, puzzle, and captivate the mind! It is these characteristics that make Electric Forest so popular among millennials.
Personally, I think Millennials are in a rut! We have been babied and expected that with the invention of technology that we would just figure out the meaning of life and understand the Universe on our own. However, the truth is that Millennials crave for a true mentor! Electric Forest fills that void and I think is the perfect place and setting for discovering oneself and the meaning of life as well as the higher secrets of the Universe. These are bold claims, but let me walk you through why I believe this by first telling you more about the festival!
WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC IS AT ELECTRIC FOREST?
Electric Forest is known for its diverse and eclectic lineup of EDM, Jam-band, Hip-Hop, and other artists, musicians, and performers. The lineup changes each year but always includes famous and popular acts spanning across a multitude of genres ranging from alternative electronic dance music to electrifying trance, to spooky eerie dub-step, to the soothing melodies of progressive rock. You can find jam bands as well as unique, eclectic acts like Dixon’s Violin at Electric Forest (which you need to definitely look up on YouTube! Here’s a video below...)
There is quite literally music for everyone at Electric Forest! Personally having been to both Electric Daisy Carnival and Electric Forest, I would say that the sound quality at EDC was better than Electric Forest. At EDC the sound quality of the sets and performances is definitely louder, clearer, and deeper. At Electric Forest the sound quality can be described as being more “Conservative”… I am not sure if other festival goers have noticed this difference, but for the average festival goer, it can be a little bit of a letdown, especially if you are used to a more deafening audio experience at the sets.
While Electric Forest features plenty of music that will excite and entice the ears, but it’s also quite the visual experience! One of the most memorable aspects of my time at Electric Forest was the fantastical set designs that are so clever and creatively intertwined with the natural surroundings. There are both day and night time sets at Electric Forest, with each having its own unique qualities. Daytime is magical at Electric Forest, as the Sun shines down and warms your soul. You are walking around surrounded by so many happy and loving people. The smells of food vendors, essential oils, and incense waft through the air, mixed with the smell of tobacco and cannabis. At Electric Forest it’s easy for you to feel at one with nature and the setting. Everything comes to life in the Forest, and no it’s not because of all the psychedelics… it’s because of the community and culture!
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VIBES AT ELECTRIC FOREST!
WHAT ARE CURATED EVENTS AT ELECTRIC FOREST?
When I am in any new environment, I try and absorb my surroundings and analyze every detail. I close my self-off and just listen and watch and feel. Every word, every movement, every action, and every sound are cataloged and registered. When you take the time to just observe and watch, you will often discover many surprising details. It is this tendency of mine that made me really intrigued by one of Electric Forest’s other peculiar activities.
One of the more unique elements of Electric Forest as a festival is its curated events. What are curated events at Electric Forest?
So when I visited Electric Forest I spent the better majority of the 4-day festival on a quest. While my friends were at the stages listing to music…. I was literally on an adventure!
I had eaten a tab of some double dipped blotter and decided to go at it alone into the wild of the woods...
I always wanted to do a vision quest, like what you would hear with Native American societies when their adolescents would come into manhood. I wanted to see how far I could go alone, and what I could achieve when I was reduced down to just my bare self. This was a self-test and journey into the spiritual world, one where I was seeking healing and wisdom.
It was very difficult for me personally. I always keep myself shrouded behind a mask of seriousness. I like to be “the man” when I am in a room. I like to be confident, tough, and assertive because I understood that to be strength. However, when I was at Electric Forest I was surrounded by the opposite of that normal emotional wavelength. I was surrounded by love, passion, and good vibes EVERYWHERE! While I wanted to embrace the vibes of love, I also could feel my ego pushing back and telling me to hold onto my tough and serious persona. I had to learn that my ego was holding me back from my true potential!
So, when I could have connected and interacted with people all around me, I closed myself off and wandered and observed. I didn't know what I was looking for or where I was going... and that was the problem! As I wandered I eventually found myself in a tent that was operating as a travel agency. I was standing in line... and I had no clue what for!
I just know I wasn’t alone, and there were other people waiting in line with me for something and no one knew what …. We all stood there for some time trying to talk to the one woman manning the tent. The lady stood in front of a door and just kept repeating the same lines from what sounded like a script. It took me 3 tries and the whole time I had anxiety and suspense from waiting (also because the acid was REALLY hitting by this point).
I literally felt like everything was a test and the truth was it was! Every door had a checkpoint and a riddle. Every time I would get to the door and try and talk to the so-called ‘stewardess’ from this ‘travel agency’ they would ask me where I was from. I, of course, would answer with the typical answers of my hometown, places I currently lived, Michigan, all types of responses, none which worked or elicited a response! I didn't know what to respond with, and I was frustrated because I just wanted to see what was behind the door…
We were in a pretend fantasy world of costumes, sounds, flashing lights, and bright colors and the question was so honest, it was confusing me and throwing me off. I think I felt this way because I wanted to be something different and something else than what I was amongst all these theatrics. I wanted to be powerful on my vibes and the question felt so weak, it was bringing me down.
I suddenly realized that I needed to get a team member to join me. My problem was I was trying to get through this mystery by myself, and there was no way that would work! I couldn’t do this alone and needed help from my peers. I saw this skinny white dude who was wearing a stylized lion pool float around his waist while walking around. As I tripped on the acid watching this man, I realized he was glowing with a yellow aura. So I walked up and asked him to help me on my quest! The crazy part of all of this was I was so focused on the goal of getting the passport that I don't remember how I convinced him to join up with me other than by me saying a simple “What’s up?”.
Both of us proceeded to walk back to the counter of the travel agency and try again. The stewardess gave me a cold stare and I could tell she didn't want to let me go on this journey and pass the test. She was playing gatekeeper hardcore.
I had to expose myself again… I couldn't just get the passport. She asked me a series of questions:
Where do you want to go in time?
What was your spirit animal?
Finally, I said the magic words and we were allowed to pass behind the counter through the door...
Moment likes these are what you experience participating in Electric Forest and its curated events, and for me, this was the most profound and distinguishing feature of the festival!
WHAT IS PRIZECART?
One of the coolest aspects of the Electric Forest festival experience is PRIZECART! This is a special mini-game that is played at the end of long sets. When you hear the prizecart song you know it is a go signal to help pick up trash and bring it to the prizecart! The more trash you bring, the more tickets you get. The collected tickets can be redeemed for prizes like tickets to next year’s festival or merchandise like t-shirts and hats.
The prize cart theme song is unique and recognizable! Lately, the festival has featured high energy level and intense remixes that really take the fun of the prizecart mini-game experience to the next level! Listen to one in the video below:
I think the organizers and managers of Electric Forest should consider incorporating the precious plastics initiative as part of the PRIZECART experience! The idea would be you take all the trash that’s collected as part of the PRIZECART and receive instant gratification when you take the trash to be recycled at a Plastic Recycling and 3D Printing Station!
IMAGINE THE PEOPLE BRING YOUR TRASH AND YOU PRINT THEM A CUSTOM KEY CHAIN OR CELL PHONE CASE!
This type of reward would really appeal to the crowds of millennials that swarm this festival especially because it plays on the principle of instant gratification.
DRUGS AND ELECTRIC FOREST:
Electric Forest is a mature festival scene, and it’s no secret that many festival goers enjoy themselves on a variety of substances while vibing to music and exploring curated events. In my experience never has there been a place where drugs were done out in the public eye without stigma or judgment and with so much open communication!
For me, I understood this acceptance and open tolerance of drugs and drug use as a safety net. Every hour at Electric Forest there is literally a plug walking by trying to offer and sell you something. If you do decide to do any type of substance at a festival, it’s actually wise to prepare beforehand and bring your own preferred recreational substance. There are many horror stories from the festival scene of people buying drugs off of dealers without knowing what exactly it is they are taking and then having extremely adverse reactions ranging from bad trips to death. Not only that, but there is also the occasional drug bust where the foolish festival goer accidentally buys illegal substances off of an undercover.
There are several sacred ‘festival rules’ that help provide the festival goer with a solid foundation of wisdom and common sense to help successfully and safely guide them through their experience. Perhaps one of the most important festival rules is to never do recreational psychedelics without a partner or totem! There are several reasons for this prime directive. One is so that you have a safety net. Psychedelics can take you places, physically and mentally, and not all these places can be positive! Having friends with you can ensure that in the worst-case scenario you have someone able to babysit, provide support, and administer first aid if necessary. Responsible psychedelic use like this ensures that you will truly be able to enjoy the trip and enjoy the festival!
The struggle is real and it can be hard to forget the beautiful nature of life. The world is one of imagination, creativity, love and good feelings! There is no shortage of people who genuinely care about one another. It can just be hard to see this at times and as a result, we forget. This is how we become selfish beings and negative, by only focusing on ourselves. The truth is that there is really love everywhere if we just know how to find it. At Electric Forest its everywhere, all the time, 24/7.
You have couples who go to Electric Forest and who end up getting married there, then you have individuals that find new friends. You never leave without build a connection with at least one person. One of the most popular attractions at Electric Forest is the Chapel, where a lot of these emotional energies come into play in spectacular results. There is a saying at the Chapel you will hear repeated a lot… “We honor and cherish love, masturbation, and drugs!” Needless to say, the “forest brings love” vibe and emotions can definitely get out of control sometimes.
DON'T BE LIKE THIS GUY....
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE GO TO ELECTRIC FOREST?
Electric Forest is a very popular music festival, and as a result, it attracts people from all kinds of backgrounds.
MY ELECTRIC FOREST 2018 CREW!
I pride myself on being able to read into people’s behavior. In fact, people watching is one of my favorite pastimes, and Electric Forest is perhaps one of the most unique places on the planet to dissect and analyze the basic human social condition.
Many who are familiar with the Festival and EDM Scene know that there are sub crowds in the EDM culture. Perhaps one of the more memorable ones is the Wooks! Wooks is a slang name for a crowd of festival goers that are basically white people with dreads who love dub-step and dirty bass. They also are very Eco-friendly and love the mother earth… usually only showering when it rains.
You have your hula-hoop girls and other performing artists that are walking around doing all types of insanely talented and cool tricks. There are people that spin and dance with sticks lighted on fire called Poi.
You have your old school Deadheads who kind of hang out on the sidelines of the festival and keep to themselves.
“Make sure the next generation gets it man” whatever it is...
(Photo Courtesy Google Images)
There are also a lot of trolls at Electric Forest. People who go there just to mess with other people because they know everyone is tripping balls. There are random actors and actresses that walk around doing random and weird things like the video below. There is even people that walk around dressed and pretending to be zombies!
At Electric Forest there is no short supply of vendors walking around selling all types of products, merchandise, and of course, drugs… Some of the most memorable were the ones with the cool custom lapel pins featuring funny designs and pop culture memes, colorful scarves and graphic design hoodies, as well as the one dude that sold me the Howlite necklace! He had a bunch of custom copper hand-wrapped gemstones and jewelry which was really cool. Electric Forest is full of vendors with products like this.
WHY THE DMV SHOULD HOST ITS OWN VERSION OF ELECTRIC FOREST:
Electric Forest sounds fun, right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had our OWN version of this type of festival right here in the DMV? THINK ABOUT IT!
We have a lot of existing resources and events that are similar to this.
Just a short drive from Washington D.C is a great local example of what we are trying to emulate… Wolf Trap! Wolf Trap is highly regarded amongst visitors because it has quality lodging. This is partially why the ill-fated famous festival from the Netflix documentary Fyre Festival got so much hype because they were promoting the idea of elegant and exquisite lodging and location for their festival!
The Wolf Trap Hotel in Vienna Virginia
(Photo Courtesy via Google Images)
The DMV has several beautiful locations for us to host our own fantastic festival full of theatrics and premier headline acts!
The closest example to a visionary festival of this scope, scale, and size would be the Moon Rise Festival. But what if we added more to the experience?
One of the most popular event activities trending in the DMV right now is the Escape Room. What is the Escape Room? Escape Room is basically a company where participants can pay to engage in interactive physical adventures at a location where the goal is to solve riddles and find clues to escape a themed decorated setting.
ESCAPE ROOM LIVE
(Photo Courtesy via Trip Advisor)
Remember my story from the curated events at Electric Forest? What if we combined a similar quest like experience with local DMV festivals. While Electric Forest and its curated events have their own little quirks and purpose, I feel designing a mystery quest like this for a festival with an actual plot or story would be an amazing immersive experience. What if there was some real wisdom at the end of the quest for the participant, something that truly changes their life and perspective?
That’s what we millennials need! We grew up with all this pop culture about heroes and epic adventures, and we absorbed it all but don’t actually have meaningful outlets for it in our OWN lives. We need to be able to live out our own real-life adventures! Perhaps designing a festival off of this theme would help…
The Maryland Renaissance Festival is another great example that demonstrates this concept. Maybe doing a festival of a themed historical or fantasy based theme with several quests would be the next big thing for the DMV!
THE MARYLAND RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL IS ALWAYS LIT!
(Photo Courtesy via Google Images)
Right now mind, body, and wellness are trending in popular culture. What if these elements were incorporated into the festival theme as well? There are many events going on with yoga, meditation, and psycho-therapeutic workshops designed to help individuals center themselves and find clarity. Millennials need mentorship, guidance, and adventure!
What if we combined all of these amazing events into one experience? An event that was part music festival, part escape room, part theatrical re-enactment, and more! Imagine a festival where the concept is you are going to an EDM show and a Renaissance fair, at the same time!
Not only that but when you get there to the festival you realize that there is a hidden secret quest with a real-life treasure and prize! In order to discover the prize, you have to complete the quest by solving a series of puzzles which represent different stations at the festival. This is my personal mission and life goal, to help bring a festival experience of this capacity to the residents of Washington D.C, Maryland, and Virginia!
Hosting a music festival here in the DMV would help with regional tourism. It would help support the community its hosted in because thousands of visitors would come to the area to participate in the festival, meaning they will shop, dine, and stay at local businesses, restaurants, and hotels. I think this is a great idea, and I will be writing about it more in future articles.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ELECTRIC FOREST?
DID WE HYPE YOU UP ABOUT ELECTRIC FOREST? It’s not too late to get tickets for this year’s event!
The upcoming Electric Forest Festival for 2019 is certainly gearing up to be a blast just like all the previous ones! The 2019 show features a solid roster of performing artists including Odesza, Kygo, Bassnectar, and Zeds Dead.
For more event information including lodging and parking details visit the website at https://electricforestfestival.com/
DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW ELECTRIC FOREST ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH EVENT INFORMATION, ARTISTS LINEUPS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND DOPE ASS VIDEOS AND PHOTOS FROM THE FESTIVAL!