To be honest, I don’t think I even really need to recap Electric Forest. I think everyone knows by now that if EF were a person I would marry it; that’s how much I love it. But just in case you don’t fully understand that yet, you can read my “experience” post from 2 years ago, or the recap I just did for Mix 247 EDM, or the post I wrote solely about how freaking magical this festival is. Otherwise, let’s carry on with the deets.
Approaching the festival, my friends and I were a little worried. We knew how crazy the lines could get for having your car searched and getting through to camping and after driving for 15 hours we didn’t exactly want to spend more time in the car. We arrived at around 4pm, 4 hours after the gates opened on Wednesday (which was only for VIPs and those who had purchased early arrival). As we turned into the Good Life (what Forest calls VIP) check-in, I laughed maniacally because there were no cars there. THERE WERE NO CARS THERE. We were parked within 10 minutes. It was a great start to a great festival.
As anyone who has attended a camping festival knows, there are 2 security checkpoints – when you first enter a festival in your car, and when you go from camping into the actual festival grounds. I wrote 2 years ago about how on the first day of Electric Forest it took us 2 hours of waiting in line to get inside the festival grounds. Good Life, on the other hand, does not ever have a line. EVER. There are 3 separate Good Life entrances and far fewer people, so all you have to do is pick your entrance and go. Anyone who tells you that Electric Forest is the best festival for upgrading to VIP is not lying. Buy Good Life tickets. Seriously. Don’t do general admission. If you ever see me doing GA at Electric Forest I urge you to slap me in the face because what was future me thinking?
To be honest, this crowd was a little bro-ier than I remembered. But there were still so many amazing, down to earth people and everyone is just looking to connect with everyone else. My friends and I splurged on these amazing bungalow tents, which were in rows of maybe 10 that faced each other. I came back after the music ended one night and someone in our row had hung light-up foam bats from the entry of every bungalow so our whole little avenue was aglow. He did this just to be nice. This is Electric Forest for you.
I’m just going to copy what I wrote in my Mix recap (which you should read in full):
“True to its name, Electric Forest contains a giant wooded area on the festival grounds that is home to seemingly anything and everything you can think of. There are large and small music stages, a silent disco, a ton of art installations, decorative places to sit, a rainbow of lights illuminating the area at night, and other wonders to discover. You can sit inside a giant bird’s nest, or pick up a random phone and talk to the people who are on the other phones throughout the forest. There’s a trading post for bartering with random items, and a western style storefront complete with saloon doors that, even though they don’t lead anywhere except to continue on in the forest, are fun to make a huge display out of bursting them open every time you walk through. There were light-up orbs suspended from the sky, a robot half-buried in the ground with coded messages displayed throughout its body, and an art bar to make stick figure people, write postcards, and other crafty activities. Does this sound like the weirdest and most magical place ever? It is, truly.”
Water is one area where Forest could do better, I think. So many festivals have adopted those high speed spouts that fill up a bottle in seconds, whereas EF is still rocking some slow faucets. Thankfully, being in VIP meant that I was able to go back and forth between my bungalow and the festival pretty frequently, so I did a lot of my water drinking in my tent. But the few times I did fill up a water bottle on the grounds, the wait was a little long for the amount of people ahead of me.
I mean…there are a bunch of stages with a forest o’ fun in the middle. It’s the best layout pretty much ever. EF’s grounds are pretty large, but the addition of activities and art and other wonders smack in the middle of it make it less painful to walk back and forth because you aren’t just walking; you’re exploring. The downside of this is that it’s very easy to get distracted by shiny things and end up late to see music. (Is that a real downside? Debatable.)
While in line for the ferris wheel we met some people who live 20 minutes from Rothbury and I am jealous of those people. Getting to Michigan is a pain in the butt and with the travel time plus the festival’s 4 days (instead of 3 like most others) I had to use 5 vacation days for this trip. FIVE DAYS. There are lots of options to get there and EF is great about providing shuttles from local airports and buses from major cities, but the fact remains that getting there still sucks. But it’s worth it.
See above. WORTH IT. A ticket to EF ticket costs about the same as it does to attend any of NYC’s music festivals (Gov Ball, Panorama, Meadows, Electric Zoo) and none of those festivals offer camping or any of the things that make Electric Forest the top notch festival that it is.
Forest is the best. You should go. Trust me.