A Look Back at an Epic Weekend @ 2012 Electric Forest Festival

Article Contributed by June Reedy | Published on Thursday, July 26, 2012

Electric Forest is a place where you can be anything you want to be.  I wanted to be Ben Franklin so I built myself a big ol Kite like totem and trotted off into the old Rothbury woods for four days and nights of frivolity, fantasy, and purple lasers majesty. Of thee I sing.  As American as Ben Franklin himself, Electric Forest is filled with promiscuous idealism that lifted the old Rothbury to the moon and back.

The energy of nature provided by the life giving sun and the veins of motivation given by the water park and squirt guns of the crowd made the beat of the forest complete.  Insomniac and Madison House Publicity have given more than a sophomore effort; they have given a second helping to all who could make it there.  They seemed to consider every step as though seasoned festival veterans had desired more varieties of food, drink, vendors, and more causes to consider in the real world outside the gates of the Double JJ Ranch.  Multiple locations for all were easily accessible.  To capture this weekend’s experience was humbling at best.  The first Americans long before Ben Franklin, Native Americans, believed that to take someone’s picture was to capture a bit of their soul.  If you capture that, you are responsible for it.  Its tough work to be responsible with the camera, but it’s a task I do believe I can be qualified for.  After serious consideration, I believe this energy can be created through the captures more than harnessed through the captures.  Perhaps while I was not able to fully capture the sounds sights and sensations of EFF myself, the production companies responsible for Electric Forest certainly did.

With that being said, I’d like to give a shout out to my support team.  Grateful Web is an organization as diverse as the guys we're named for. As such, we also believe that the experiences, photos, stories and the music belong to you.  Electric Forest only offers umbrellas for sun shade.  There are no umbrellas of political or economical values.  The unique individuals that congregate at a festival like EFF are a sort of cousin to those at Burning Man, and in the same family tree as those at corporate Bonnaroo.  The uniqueness is an individual experience that I will attempt to put into words like this.

My unique contribution to EFF was to be like Ben Franklin.  I was inspired when I read, “Franklin was a prodigious inventor. Among his many creations were the lightning rodglass armonica (a glass instrument, not to be confused with the metal harmonica), Franklin stovebifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter. Franklin never patented his inventions; in his autobiography he wrote, ‘... as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.’ He was credited as the first to coin his pay-it-forward social movement." (Wikipedia)  What better inspiration for Electric Forest than an American icon that first learned to harness electricity from the sky with an entertaining past time like a kite?

Scanned bracelets brought festivarians in and out of the main gates that were often overcrowded like cows being herded in and out of pasture.  No alcohol or outside drinks were allowed inside the festival grounds so searches occurred on the regular.  Many a reference was made to the satellites scanning us from above.  Were these bracelets another tracking device so that companies could better personalize their marketing techniques?  Would they continue to follow us beyond the weekend to see what other festivals we attend?

Personal values triumph here.  People don’t like their privacy invaded.  We can all unite in the mutual distrust of imperialistic propaganda.  Yet it feels like it is harder and harder to express your point of view in a world of politics politeness and PC.  Here people use their inner tesla coils to register the whomp and the vibration of truth.  For in the end, truth will be shown in the light because you cannot disprove truth.  Criticism is everywhere. Only truth will remain.

My editor and I were discussing interview questions and things that we would like to accomplish with the write up of the festival.  I had my ideas of Ben Franklin and he asked for political opinions.  It is an election year, he wanted me to ask artists who they would be voting for and how involved in the political process they were.  That is tough for me.  Being all up in a stranger’s business is more difficult than it seems and I was always taught to never discuss politics or religion with strangers. 

Then I entered the festival grounds.  Politics were electrified, highlighted and hollered from Reggie Watts’ microphone.  “OCCUPY!

I looked around at the vendor’s booths and noticed these were purposefully planted choice vendors.  They were not your average hemp necklace booths, although those were also available.  Illuminated Jewelry, The Super Rad Cape Company, Third Eye Pinecones, Guided Visonworks, and Outer Spaceways Apparel were some of the Back to the Future style booths available for your shopping and viewing pleasure. 

As I made my way through the Ranch Arena, I passed by the street performer I recognize from his regular gig on Pearl St in Boulder.  He was juggling while balancing on an inflatable ball and chatting with passers-by.  “Sex sells! What you think about that?” I wish more people would have answered that question and let their voices be heard if indeed they did.  It would have been a nice forum for discussion where my political curiosities could have been met as such, mutual curiosity, without hostility.  Is there such thing as hostility in the land of Electric Forest?

I met up with mixcloud contest winners Michael and Colby, aka Prymativ.  They won themselves a set here at EFF.  As we sat down to discuss their joy and determination to bring their style to the crowd, we discussed the notion of politics.  We all agreed that the grounds were political from the first step in.  As synergy or coincidence or serendipity or whatever you call that magical moment would have it, HeadCount approached us just as their names left our lips. 

I would consider myself a proactive person.  I was embarrassed when I realized that I had not re-registered my new address and therefore was not technically registered to vote.  As I filled out my form, the Prymativ boys asked the volunteer how many people were with them this weekend.  When he responded only 8 we all took that moment to relish in the Margaret Mead quote,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it the only thing that ever has.”

Prymativ shares well.  They almost seem to share a brainwave as they never talked over each other, offered each other the chance to talk, and in their set… The collaboration was evident.  Not only did they collaborate well in person and on stage but the aerial silk dancer seemed right on beat with them as well.  Their spirit of alliance is easily conveyed to the audience.  That is the audience that well exceeded the 60 people that came just to share Prymativ’s victory set. 

When asked about the mixcloud contest Prymativ had a funny story about it.  On April 26th, they misread the contest’s deadline as April 28th.  They pulled together over the next 2 days in order to enter 9 tracks.  Turns out, the deadline was actually May 28th. Over the course of the next month they watched as friends bonded together sharing and   playing their tracks, insuring their victory over the competition.  They were incredibly grateful and gracious about the friends as their source of accomplishment.  They talked of their goals in the future, the first being to give the best set they possibly could to the fans that had given them their time to shine.  Turns out, the pressure turned Prymativ into diamonds, not a complete basket case like the rest of us mere mortals.

From here, I awaited my first taste of Quixotic.  I have been watching them from afar for awhile and nothing does justice to this performing troupe like seeing a live show.  They were on the forest stage and the layout of props was only amplifying me up for what was to come.  Voltage, wattage, too much energy pulsing from the crowd quickly whispering about what was to come was a feeling unlike any.  The word quixotic means “unrealistically ideal.”  Don Quixote, The Man of La Mancha, went traveling to fulfill his dream.  This traveling troupe was kind enough to let me talk to them as they prepared for their first of many performances throughout the weekend.

Quixotic is like a fairytale with no words.  You are free to decide how to feel and with so much to look at it’s almost like a “choose your own adventure” fairy tale.  Backstage the dancers were warming up and stretching in ways that bring to mind images of cirque du soleil.  I spoke with Shane the violinist; he was so down to Earth and easy to talk to.  He is a Suzuki player, a type of method that enables musicians to hear the music and imitate it on their instrument.  Another Suzuki violinist I have been lucky enough to enjoy over the years is Miss Allie Kral

I asked Artistic Director Anthony Magliano which came first?  In the style of the chicken or the egg, was it the art or the music?  He responded with no hesitation, the music.  With the tribal beats and beautiful strings of Shane playing on stage, the Quixotic crew stretched out over the entire forest.  They were in the audience, on the sidelines, above, and front n center.  The lighting and the effects were nothing compared to the raw talent exhibited from the dancers and musicians. 

I was lost in the lights and aerial delights of Quixotic when I was lifted into an illuminated lotus encapsulating EOTO.  The Sherwood Court was lookin’ at them now. “Look at me now fresher than a muthafuggah” That went from hip hop right into a fresh take on an old favorite, Electric Avenue.  It was a moving walkway of shine and radiance.

“Let’s Get Weird!” shouted the Beats Antique crowd as they chanted the band to stage.  The Sherwood Court lives far back from the campsites and through the mysterious forest.  If you have come this far, you will be rewarded.  It was the final fling of my first night at EFF and indeed the reward was Beats Antique.  The world vibe with Zoe Jakes front and center shaking her style was filled with beautiful belly muscles and long hair that wraps around your throat and pulls you closer to the sound in full stereo blast.  The 2 fellas, Sidecar Tommy and David Satori, to each side of Miss Zoe were pumping out beats that keep the feet tapping as if the ground bounced back.  Was Beats Antique in cahoots with Mother Nature?  Or was Mother Nature just enjoying the show too?

Bright and early Friday morning, it was time to see all the daylight sights of this magical mystery.  After the confusion and set up of the first day, this was the uninhibited time to explore and look further into all EFF had to offer.  I was particularly excited for the beach party at Wagon Wheel.  We did some people watching, aka open-eyed dreaming and first settled in for some Gary Clark Jr.  He has been talked about extensively and for a solo performer he lives up to the hype.  His soul projected to the back of the sun sweltered crowd and left me very thirsty.  I had pushed past the striking shiny set of Cherub with Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic sitting in at the Tripolee stage to get to the center of the map at the Ranch Arena.  It’s so hard to choose to leave but Gary Clark Jr. was blazing a solo to call in the spirits.  EFF was just over 50% electronica. Gary Clark Jr. was the antidote.  No big band, no in-your-face eccentricities, he was simple song styling and a blues aficionado with Bright Lights to blind the glow stick glare for an afternoon.

To continue the retreat and silk smooth like water feeling it was getting close to 5 o’clock, so I headed over to the beach party at Wildcat Lake.  It was a sad lil party because no one was allowed to go into the water.  The security fella, who had a tough job, explained to each and every person that attempted to go into the water that someone had died in the water a few nights ago so they weren’t allowing folks to go swimming without a lifeguard.  Bless his heart; I’m sure that wasn’t fun.  But then again, it wasn’t fun being able to look at the water and not touch it. Two Fresh was spitting his hot hip hop and there was just no good way to survive it.

I like to get wet! I like to jump both feet in and never look back.  That is why I crave some String Cheese Incident at least once a year.  After the disappointing lack of a natural swim, I headed back to camp to change and get ready for the freak fest that is itching for an Incident.  My highlight was Mr. Kyle Hollingsworth playing his new tune, Can’t Wait Another Day, written for the birth of his baby girl this past October.  The Thievery Corp. horns’ section joined them on stage for Valley of the Jig.  When they grew closer to the end of their set and played Way Back Home, I felt a twinge of sadness. Colorado is on fire while we live it up here in the forest.  The best I could do was pray for rain.  I didn’t necessarily feel sympathy because this is no situation to feel bad for these people.  When you’ve reached a phase in life where you manifest your destiny, you must not feel bad for things for that will send a bad feeling.  It is a realization that others manifest right alongside you.  Perhaps it’s time to reach out to those neighbors dancing beside me and hope that they feel the love and healing of raining down positivity.  Perhaps it’s time to plant more trees and believe in the sustainability of us and the planet we love so much.  If we can all leave here and share the love x 40,000, there’s no telling what we could collectively achieve.  We shall invoke the Creator to bring a cleansing and renewal to the land.  That, and more squirt guns in the crowd would be excellent.

The secret shows in the forest were advertised on the mobile app and by word of mouth, if you actually left the secret sets to get the word out.  It gives another life to the old throw back rave days when you had to give an egg to the gas station attendant who then gave you a phone number, which then you would have to find a PAY PHONE, which took money to use. Call a number that gave you an address that gave you a slip of paper with a map on it.  Something about working for it makes the party that much more worth it.

This was SCI’s first of 3 sets and they took home the largest crowd category, although not by much.  It was a rough night of competition for the 8pm - midnight slot.  The forest stage held more Quixotic for all those who had only heard about the raging opening night performance.   The Sherwood Court should you happen to wander beyond the beauty of Quixotic held some throw down Paper Diamond.  Griz, who worked magic with 4 sets over the course of the weekend, was doing his regularly scheduled slot over at the intimate Wagon Wheel with lights that beamed beautifully off the still water.  The Tripolee Stage closest to the camping was bragging DIM MAK Music all night that brought the ravers to their knees.  While I say SCI had the largest crowd, believe that it wasn’t by much. 

If these bracelets did scan the whereabouts of all of us I wish they would reveal the findings.  I’m not so much concerned about the invasion of privacy as the scientific findings of where it is we wander to.  SCI is the multi-ethnic gel of this festival.  They are the glue that keeps us coming together and keeps us coming back year by year.  I’d like to tell you the story of Elliott.  I met him last year when he was 18 and I was 31.  He oooh’s and awe’s at my show going history.  He asks adorable questions like “what was Phish pre-hiatus like?”  He even listens when I get long winded about Page McConnell.  He seems truly interested in what I have to say.  When I saw him at EFF this year, he mentioned Phish Alpine & Deer Creek that was concurrently happening.  His response?  “My girl wants to see some Cheese and she’s never been to EFF before so I had to introduce her to the family.”  He was genuine and accounting for all the other good music out there.  I get this impression that most come for the reasons that it is popular and that perhaps nothing else matters besides where the popular producers are playing this year.  I want to know scientifically, how many of us go to see Phish or Yonder or Furthur after a festival like this?  I would venture to say a minority.  This is a festival of its own breed.  String Cheese is a band of its own standing because of it.  When they closed their Friday night set with some Dubstep, the crowd went nuts.  What other jam band could pull that off?  With that I ask for more of the Elliotts out there to ask questions, learn about the past and get some fresh blood in the taper community.  Let’s preserve some of the good things of the past while we continue the American tradition of Back to the Future and Star Wars.  We’re good at it!

Sound Tribe Sector Nine or as I heard them more popularly referred to this weekend, STS9, was at the Sherwood Court, far away from my bed and far away from the snacks I was beginning to crave.  There were delicious options everywhere, but my budget is still pretty old school.  Grilled Cheese at camp with maybe a lil garlic has my heart.  Besides that my head was at odds.  I had seen STS9 with Thievery Corporation in 2009 at Red Rocks.  To be honest, I preferred Thievery’s set to STS9.  Now I have seen and very much enjoyed STS9 since then but with Thievery on stage at the Ranch Arena, I was more apt to head towards my camp and the set that I haven’t seen since 09. (Feeling old, I should have you pronounce that in your head as ‘ought nine)

Thievery opened with the luxurious favorite Lebanese Blonde and then when the white suited Toots looking twins were offering up timbales as twin stars touching the ground, I knew I had made the right choice.  Besides, Sound Tribe would play again Saturday night.  Thievery had the Rasta rhythm that gave respect to Chuck Brown when they dedicated the Numbers Game to him.  The swinging guitar gave the crowd just enough motivation to sway along with the ultimate fusion jazz.  While I wouldn’t say that the crowd was giving it their all, it was the end of a long hot Friday and with the sounds of the Caribbean crashing at you, the energy coming off stage didn’t seem dwindled. Richest Man in Babylon was the pinnacle of my delight so off to bed I went.

You say you want a revolution, Well, you know, We all want to change the world… You say you’ll change the Constitution, Well, you know, We all want to change your head.  You tell me it’s the institution, Well, you know, You better free your mind instead.”  -The Beatles

What crazy dreams! Only sleeping for a few hours with all this vibing energy abounding and a whole other festival just next door made me a little loopy.  In my dream I was at a red carpeted event that turned out to be here.  I was dressed in my best with all sorts of socialites around me as we gazed at a rock band in the distance.  We scoffed at the little people that were actually the big people but the power in this dream made me feel like this was reality.  I guess it could be.  I felt like a whole new person free from the confines of my childhood.  Each person here in my waking reality was so very important.  This guest list would not be complete without each and every one of them here.  The agenda of speakers, complete with sights and sounds was replacing any college professor or parental advice of the past. 

We live in a world where I do believe the most important priorities are being local.  Taking a stance wherever you may be presently located, live in the now and do what you can for a local issue you have compassion and concern for is the antithesis for apathy.  Representing Ben Franklin with my kite totem I walked into the festival grounds to support the Electric Forest Hoop Troupe Showcase.  These ladies work hard to create innovative original dance pieces to excite the audience.  The least I could do was show up.

From there, I wandered over to the Sherwood Court to support my local rockers, The Coop.  They have been playing all over the Midwest with a heavy touring schedule for at least the past year.  In so many ways I want to compare them to a mini STS9, or a mini Thievery Corp, but in so many ways I can’t imagine what box they will jump out of when labeled and defined.  They have a firm following of sequined glammed girls and a sound that shows their willingness to create original music.  They are one part electronic and one part jam band.  They have that young feeling of one part party.  With local influences of Jazz teachers and the will of the future in their youthful hands, it’s exciting to see them connect with the audience.  The scoop on the Coop is that their stage presence will grow if they keep on giving the gig they gave the Sherwood Court on that hot Saturday afternoon. 

Shane from Quixotic told me he was most looking forward to catching Santigold’s set so I took his advice and got myself back through the cool forest for a minute of breeze before the beautiful set of Santigold unfolded.  The kite totem was getting heavy and the work of harnessing electricity took over the joy of being Ben Franklin.  I needed to get back to basics and finding Santigold’s precision of a flawless performance was just the inspiration to inspire more perspiration that I needed.  I held that kite up high and twirled around to the soothing soul of this woman’s dark yet sassy style.  I even made a little dirty pole action outta that kite to the sound so sweet from the stage.  Hawt!

Santigold has the beauty of a raven, majestic yet magical and scary to some.  She had back up dancers dressed in black short school girl style dresses while her musicians were dressed in white almost Devo looking costumes.  The spectacle was ever changing with each song, first dancing with frilly black umbrellas then onto lassoing the horse on stage.  Her music is part pop, part 80’s, part dub reggae, and part hip hop.  Not knowing much about her, I was able to dig up her associations with Beastie Boys, M.I.A., and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Since her 2012 release, Master of My Make-Believe she has been on fire, perfecting her own art.  The lyrics that stick with me still as I write this are included in the song from our EFF video, “But if we go, we go together.  Our hands are tied here if we stay.  Oh we said our dreams would carry us and if they don’t fly we will run.  Now we push right past to find out how to win what they all lost. Oh-ah oh-ah we know now we want more.  Oh-ah oh-ah. A life worth fighting for.”

Sounds to me like a great chorus to bond us together, maybe this could even be a new generational rally cry.  If we go, we go together!  We want more! We want a life worth fighting for! That’s sounds American.  Ben Franklin was also the innovator of not only the mail service but the first library.  He wanted more, more ways to communicate and more reading to share.  Santigold’s set was shooting arrows straight to my heart and core and I was struck with remembering the first piece I ever wrote for Grateful Web back in 2008.  It was an election year and I was talking about voting with my dollars.  That is still as important as ever.  If we go we go together.  We will prove what is deemed good and just in this country by holding arm and arm and making our voice heard.  Supply and demand in a free enterprise is only one part of the equation.  If we vote with our dollars we will demand that our supply reflect our values and philosophies.

As I left the festival grounds to snack and prepare for the evening shows, I was told I would not be allowed to bring my totem back in.

But… I thought I had voted with my dollar.  I thought I paid good money for EFF and I should be able to carry my heavy homage to Ben Franklin if I wanted to!  Is this how my inspiration for a new national anthem just went from “if we go, we go together!” to, “aw fuck this shit… Whatever!”?  I was truly uninspired at that moment.  All this work on a piece of art that is such a part of me and now I can’t even represent?  How was my G-Web family going to find me inside without our 10 ft kite?!  I was outraged and honestly a little hurt that security or the powers-that-be would deny our self expression like this.  What could possibly have been the purpose of this?

Disgruntled and prissy, I put away my big ol’ kite totem for the evening.  There are rules to EFF. I am here representing more than myself so I decided it best to respect those rules.  It definitely freed up my hands for other things and the weight was off my shoulders so to speak so I began to smile again when I realized these things weren’t all bad.  To my delight and reward was a super huge octopus spread out over the SCI set.  There were Quixotic dancers in giant plastic bubbles over the top of the crowd.  I guess I needed my hands after all.  When I reflect back on the way this all unfolded, I realized that it was time to move beyond the branches on my family tree.  It was time to not worry about the G-Web fans finding my totem.  It was truly time to practice what I preached and talk to people without the aid of a big advertisement for who I am and what I am doing here.  There was simply no room for more totems than were already inside the venue.  I can understand that.  As Jason Hann (EOTO, SCI, and Prophet Massive) pointed out, “we love em, but I know our projection guy gets a lil stressed out when they get in the way of the light show he is putting on for everyone.”  Fair enough.  I was free of my heavy sweaty totem and feeling better than ever.  String Cheese elated me with a Naïve Melody that Kyle Hollingsworth put his own spin to.  I was free to do the hippy swirl with my magical energy orb dance.  They even closed out with a personal favorite, Johnny Cash.  The night was on FIRE. 

How could it get any better?  With Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, of course.  His humble and totally unique approach to mixing the hits is one of my favorite all out bashes of a party.  Fire the lasers, fill in the front row, you’re about to get hit with toilet paper and confetti.  If that’s not enough your eyes are assaulted with led board magic of all your favorite symbols mixed with full on firework pyro-technique.  I was eagle eyed for all the totems that still remained after the dancers and the huge dancing octopus had gone away and my favorite by far was the American flag.

I smirked and mused to myself as the sexy sweaty dance pits carried on around me.  I wonder what kind of sex appeal Martha had to Mr. George Washington.  I wonder if she didn’t stop, as my heart thumped along to “don’t stop git it git it!”  Music spanning from The Guess Who to Jay-Z, I felt the time honored tradition of music and freedom.  I fucking love Girl Talk.  As if it couldn’t get any better, he revived my spirit when he jumped on top of his table and shouted, “Believe in your Country!"

The choice of his words BELIEVE IN YOUR COUNTRY were impeccable.  He didn’t say obey.  He didn’t say your government.  He said just the right thing at the right time and then off went the cannons of color.  I will check out Girl Talk anytime I possibly can, be it live, in print, or on the internet.  This guy inspires me.

I was willing to work for it when I woke up Sunday.  I am sad to say I missed Elephant Revival.  I was actually able to sleep till almost 4 in the afternoon, right through the blazing hot sun. I was rested relaxed and ready to rage.  Everyone was talking about staying up late way after the surge of Girl Talk electrified the festival grounds.  My neighbors from Florida talked about the raging festival next door where you could go into the lake and I remembered one of my favorite quotes, “The bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you refuse to take the turn.”  Richelle, my Florida peacock feathered friend gave me a candy bracelet.  It was pretty with florescent colors to bring me back to my raver days and it contained the words, “free will.”  It was just the perfect reminder of how to approach my last day at EFF

I found the Underground Railroad to smuggle my kite back in.  If I disclosed this information, it wouldn’t be the American Tradition.  It’s underground for a reason.  Word of mouth gave it to me; I hope it will find its way to your ears too.  I twirled the heavy handed totem to the front of the stage for Keller Williams and the Travelin' McCourysEFF couldn’t have found a finer, more appropriate Sunday gospel act than this kind hearted and virtuoso group of musicians.  Keller has the innocence of a kid that just makes you smile along back at him, give him the stinky guitar face, and giggle at the dirty words.  Of course his dirty words are made by mouth trumpet.  They opened with the sweet sounds of the 70’s done in his best (blue) grass skirt.  Hot Stuff, I Feel Love, and Funky town, revised with the lyrics, “gotta make a move a move to a forest that’s right for me, town to keep me moving keep me grooving with some electricity.”  He brings such joy to my heart.

Do you believe in rock n roll?  Can music save your mortal soul?  Can you teach me how to dance real slow?”  American Pie

Listening to Keller, I think back on Buddy Holly and the reason that song was written 40 years ago in 1972.  We already have a life worth fighting for.  We have EFF, a beautiful festival in a beautiful part of the nation.  Yet here I see a kid running and being accosted by 4 police officers.  Here I see the beautiful art installation of a liberty bell that is broken because someone ripped it off its gentle hinges.  What do we have to do? Should we make signs and have lists of rules and regulations that interrupt these beautiful art installations?  Can’t we use a bit of common sense?  I guess the key phrase there is common sense.  This is America.  There is no common religion, no common values, and no common moral grounds it seems.  Nothing is common anymore.  Things must be built to be broken it seems.  If this continues as a bad habit does, we must expect to preserve nothing.

Change is the only constant, and with that arrived Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk on stage at the Sherwood Court.  The long standing career of Ivan Neville has morphed into this young N’Awlins funk jam band.  They started late but played hard & opened with Why Can’t I Get Love.  They even answered my philosophic questions about the broken bell with their tune, Everybody Wants Some Fame.  I guess that means even negative exposure is fame enough for some. That’s such a shame.

As the final hours of Electric Forest whirl pooled into a distant memory, I knew this would not be an easy story to tell.  It was a mesh of mixed flavors and ideas that creates the beauty of pluralism.  I behaved like Ben Franklin although I aspire to be more like the true First Americans, the Native peoples of this land.  There were fashion gestures of headdresses, badges, beaconing totems, logos, and banners leaping from the sold out crowd’s lips.  There was so much to take in and so many styles to slip into.  I knew leaving this festival that I would not be the same person that entered.

The final SCI set collaborated with Dominc Lalli from Big GiganticBilly Nershi, the unwavering string band guitar player introduced him on stage saying, “He started playing saxophone waaaaaay before he started playing on a computer.”  You could tell there was a great sense of humor and respect for each other’s work.  You could see that what needs to happen is more tolerance for that which is different from yourself and eventually, you will come to accept that difference.  Here was beautiful music coming from stage where not only did they accept each other’s unique differences but together they combined the styles together and did it like it’s never been done before. 

I gave a wink and a smile as I gave all my energy to manifesting together the person I want to be.  Imagine if Ben Franklin and the Natives were the only dynamic of that time and place.  What would our nation have been founded on if the red man and white man could have gotten along better?  Would we have been a society with the reverence for nature that made great achievements in technology WHILE considering the after effects?  Could the Red Man have tempered our impatience with admiration?  Could we have given them the tools to better harvest and feed the people?  Could we have become all one tribe if I was to manifest myself as a Red Ben Franklin?  Okay, I’d prefer to remain female – how about a Red Betty Franklin, filled with promiscuous idealism? 

Bassnectar then Big Gigantic closed out the last of the EFF 2012EFF was taking the best of the new school to the next level and beyond.  With zero competition for the crowd’s attention, the last 2 sets of the night were all the beauty that is a sea of smiling faces from sea to shining sea filled with the Laughter Crescendo from mass amounts of bouncing glow sticks.

Michigan! I love you! Thank you for hanging with me tonight!” – Lorin Ashton

As I heard Bassnectar say, “Someone needs to explain ‘Rave Etiquette’ to this guy with the squirt gun” My heart sank.  I forget just how powerful this manifesting stuff can be.  I never meant for the extra squirt guns in the audience to squirt the performer on stage, especially not the guy with extremely expensive equipment!  Be Careful What You Wish For.  Another quote to keep in mind, “Do the best you can with what you’ve got where you’re at.” Theodore Roosevelt.  And! When you wish upon a star… makes no difference who you are… your Electric Forest Dreams will come true :)

See loads more photos from Electric Forest on our facebook page, facebook.com/gratefulweb.