Published on July 8th, 2012 | by Amanda Stamelos2
Event Review: The Electric Forest 2012 Experience
Having been to over 10 different music festivals, I guess you can say that I am on my way to becoming a music festival connoisseur. I suppose if I wanted to make my self-proclaimed title a bit more credible, I would have to add a camping festival to the mix. I always heard that camping was how you get the most out of the festival experience, because you are immersed in it. You actually live it instead of retreating back to your nice hotel room, or even better, your own bed. I’ve heard from other festie goers that Electric Forest is a great festival to camp. Given it’s location in Michigan, it may be hot, but it isn’t Coachella or Bonaroo hot. That heat is killer, making you wonder why haven’t they invented air conditioned tents yet? So when my friend asked if I wanted to go, I didn’t think twice and committed.
I didn’t really know what to expect when we entered Double JJ Ranch to set up camp. It was refreshing to leave the city and be in new surroundings. Everyone seemed to have stepped out of the roles they play at home. It was a place where a bunch of unlikely people with like-minded interests meshed together to listen to great music and live the forest experience.
Thursday night started off right with a dub heavy performance by Borgore. Then came a killer set put on by Wolfgang that got everyone dancing and reminded us “We Own the Night.” EOTO’s fusion of live instrumentation with dance heavy sound was baffling, but was a great reminder of how much music theory goes into making electronic music. Finally Ghostland Observatory’s set provided an insane laser light show that may have put Skrillex’s Spring Awakening performance to shame.
Friday started off with some recovery time, complete with an hour of outdoor yoga in the sun. My group spent a couple of hours exploring and getting lost in Sherwood Forest. During the day, many sought refuge there and napped in the hammocks scattered among the trees, considering it was easily 10 degrees cooler underneath the shade exuding treetops. The art installations carefully dispersed throughout the forest were so well thought out that they made you want to stop in your tracks to observe their unique beauty.
Now for the music. The Tripolee stage was stacked with must see EDM acts. Alvin Risk, Felix Cartal, and Zeds Dead hit their decks hard. Datsik impressed me the most with his intense bangers that never left a lull in the crowd during his one-hour set. The night closed with an always entertaining set by Steve Aoki, complete with him raft-surfing into the crowd (again). Still awaiting conformation if there was any repeat of the cake-in-the face debacle, although I didn’t see it first hand.
Hands down, Saturday’s highlight (besides the first shower I’ve taken in three days) was Nobody Beats the Drum’s set in the forest. I don’t know if it was the setting or their undoubtedly musical talents, but these boys moved me, both physically and mentally. Their set was a reminder that in terms of electronic music, the Dutch definitely know what they are doing. Then came an expected crowd-pleasing performance by Dada Life followed by a dancehall performance by Major Lazer. Diplo even threw in some crowd interaction and rolled out onto the hands of the crowd in a big plastic hamster ball.
Sunday was another day spent at Tripolee stage with some first class EDM acts. Adventure Club rocked it like they only know how to do. That DJ duo mastered the art of making harsh, clashing reverberations sound simply beautiful. Then we stuck around to see The M Machine, an up and coming DJ trio that is quickly shedding their “mysterious” reputation. After that, I slowed down the pace and experienced a little “Digital Freedom” with Gramatik. His soulful vibe creates an impulsive instinct that makes it almost second nature to groove to the music.
My Electric Forest experience came to an end at the Ranch Area stage where Bassnectar played a tremendous set. Just like many others in the crowd were doing, I learned the perfect technique to cascade handfuls of glow sticks into the dark sky every time Lorin Ashton’s pulsing wobbles exploded into the bass heavy drops. There seemed to be no shortage of glow sticks and the effect that it created was absolutely mesmerizing.
Apart from above, for me, the greatest outcome from this experience are the friendships formed as a result. It’s outstandingly crazy how close I felt to people I vaguely knew 4 days prior. I guess that’s what happens when you eat together, lounge together, rage together, then come back to converse and reflect with one another. So I would like this post to go out to my Electric Forest Fam. Here’s to next year’s adventure.
Article by: Amanda Stamelos