The 6th annual Electric Forest (EF) kicked off Thursday, June 23, welcoming 45,000 Forest Family to Rothbury, Michigan for a music and camping experience of a lifetime. The beloved festival sold out in record time again this year – a mere two weeks after tickets went on sale and prior to any lineup announcement.
As Festival gates opened on Thursday afternoon, fans flooded into the festival site to hit one of EF’s seven stages for the first music sets of 2016, roam the wondrous Sherwood Forest and reunite with Family.
Opening up the weekend was Dixon, of Dixon’s Violin, at the Observatory Stage – a Forest tradition. “It is an amazing honor to open this event and to be part of the beginning of a weekend of many possibilities,” Dixon said. Performing at EF annually since 2012, Dixon believes every year is full of new surprises. “I love surprises, I’m releasing my expectations and enjoying every moment,” Dixon said. A calm, magical vibe was felt by the Forest Family during his set. “I’m all about empowerment and I want anyone to feel they can do anything they set their mind to,” Dixon said.
The Disco Biscuits, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and EOTO were among the musical acts that launched Day 1 of EF2016. Kamasi Washington sat in as a special guest with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the Hangar.
London-based label imprint Anjunadeep hosted the first of EF’s 2016 Curation Series, bringing the deep house sounds of Yotto, Cubicolor, Way Out West, Moon Boots, Lane 8, Dusky and Bonobo (DJ set) to EF’s adeptly-named Tripolee Stage.
Major Lazer, one of the nights’ headliners, closed out the Ranch Arena with a set filled with original tracks and remixes. During the set, Diplo, a member of Major Lazer, told the Forest Family that EF is his favorite festival in the United States because of its’ constant changes and expansion.
EF is loved as much for what happens off the stage as on. Beyond the music, Sherwood Forest comes to life with the help of the many art installations and various performers roaming the Forest. Sherwood Forest is ever-evolving and changing each day of the festival. New surprises and additions are unveiled to mesmerize the Forest Family.
Emily Sugrue, 23, from Gurnee, IL., was exploring one of the many art installations scattered throughout the Sherwood Forest when she happened upon a tiny door, which belongs to the ‘Fairies’ installation, one of three Art Installation Grant winners for EF 2016. “The quote inside the door was really funny and clever,” Sugrue said.
As things wound down for the night, the Forest Family left the festival site with expressions of happiness and wonderment at the joy of being able to return home to Electric Forest.