Electric Forest Wraps A Hugely Successful Year


Submitted by -LiveLoud Thu, 07/02/2015 - 4:33 pm

The 5th annual Electric Forest (EF) festival returned to the scenic woods of Rothbury, Michigan this past weekend hosting epic live music, stunning art installations and enchanted experiences around every turn. Throughout the long weekend, which offered near perfect weather, 45,000 attendees enjoyed over 125 live music performances on 7 stages, 20+ larger-than-life creative installations and gathering spaces, 250+ colorful roaming characters, 22 disco balls, and endless memories. Electric Forest 2015 once again raised the bar for U.S. festival experiences, reconfirming why it has been hailed as one of the "20 legendary world festivals to see in your lifetime," (Distractify)
On Thursday, June 25, heavy hitters Flume, Kaskade, Odesza, Carl Cox and others kicked off the four-day music and camping festival.  Attendees eagerly poured in through the brand new Front Gate entryway and into the beloved Sherwood Forest, where they were quickly reminded that this festival is always evolving. New installations including The Centerpiece, The Dragon Lounge, and Domo Arigato, Mr. Reflecto (EF 15’s Plug In Program Art Installation Grant Winner) were on display among totally evolved versions of fan favorites such as the SolLun, Reincarnation, and the Grand Artique. Two brand new EF venues opened their doors for the first time on Thursday. The Hangar (a post-war America inspired gathering space complete with a barbershop, tattoo parlor, Poetry Brothel, and more) and Jubilee (which hosted many of the festival’s jazz and funk sets throughout the weekend, including Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Galactic with Macy Gray, and many others) both welcomed their first visitors.
On Friday, The String Cheese Incident performed the first of their three full, two-set shows scheduled at EF’s Ranch Arena.  During SCI’s encore, Skrillex joined the band, guitar in hand, for a rocking version of “Break on Through (To the Other Side) > LA Woman.”  Skrillex hit the Ranch Arena solo shortly after – his first return to EF since 2008. Meanwhile, on Tripolee, EF’s Curated Event Series with Bassrush hosted Snails, Datsik, Carnage, and Flux Pavillion.
By Saturday, the flow and vibe that can only come from a camping festival had settled in.  Still buzzing from the previous day, fans explored the many experiences EF15 had to offer.  The Electric Glen, hosted by The Untz, hosted Electric Forest’s first ever Her Forest gathering, where hundreds of EF attendees gathered to hear a panel of women – including artists Lindsey Stirling and Natalie Rize and representatives from Electric Forest - discuss the brand new EF initiative that will explore, as it grows, ways that women can contribute to festival culture and help shape the EF experience. In other parts of the festival site, attendees enjoyed a flash mob by Shelby High School’s Marching Band (EF donates money to local area public schools each year as part of its Music in Schools program), stopped by The Giving Tree to leave or take a cherished item, or lounged in one of the over 400 ENO hammocks strung throughout the approximately 14 acres of the Sherwood Forest.
Woman-on-violin Lindsey Stirling wowed at the Jubilee.  The Forest Stage, an art installation all in itself, hosted the LowTemp Curated Event Series. Then, what seemed like the entire audience descended on The Ranch Arena for The String Cheese Incident’s famed second set Saturday night extravaganza. The EF tradition – this year with a moon floating over the crowd carrying an aerialist, several huge remote controlled blips zipping around overhead, and of course, fireworks – did not disappoint.   Shortly after the end of the SCI set, the Ranch Arena raged on with an epic performance by BASSNECTAR. Having headlined the first Electric Forest five years ago, this EF15 set felt like a sort of homecoming for EF Forest Family, who packed into the Ranch Arena bowl to witness the show.  Midway through the set, SCI’s Michael Kang brought his violin onto the stage – dishing out another example of how Electric Forest bravely and seamlessly collides jam music culture with EDM.
Sunday provided a final opportunity for fans to explore all that EF15 had to offer. US military veterans (many of whom were hired by EF to help with the build of The Hangar) and EF patrons bonded over shared experiences at the Electric Forces gathering space. EF’s Roy Price Memorial Food Drive collected the last of its food donated by EF15 patrons to be delivered to be delivered to local communities in need. Not-for-profit HeadCount, who was hosting a booth in the Ranch Lobby, broke their record for most voter registrations at an event during a non-Federal election year.  At the Electricology Store, fans cashed in tokens earned for doing “green” acts throughout the weekend for prizes.
And all the while the music kept playing. Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass feat. The Infamous Stringdusters and special guests from SCI eased the crowd into the afternoon. The collaboration continued into the first set of SCI, which featured sit-ins from that day’s Ranch Arena’s artists, including members of Yonder Mountain String Band.  Acts like Dopapod, Goldroom Live, and Gramatik powered the Sherwood Court stage into a massive closing set by Big Gigantic featuring The Motet.  Then, in EF tradition, Tripolee gave its nod to the forefathers of EDM music with a hugely received set by Paul Oakenfold.   
To stay up to date on all Electric Forest news, please visit www.electricforestfestival.com and the official Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages.
Electric Forest is produced by Madison House Presents and Insomniac.