This is my second year attending Electric Forest. This festival is so much more than just music — in fact, I only caught a few shows while I was there. Ask anyone who’s ever been: it’s very easy to get lost in the forest.
On Thursday afternoon, shortly after the festival venue opened, my friends and I headed towards the entrance. The line was long. It stretched further back than we could see, and for a moment we considered just cutting through, but in the spirit of being at Electric Forest, we decided not to. We walked to the back of the line, and we prepared to wait. About half hour in, we started to feel irritated, but we refused to let this situation bring down our vibes. That started to happen around hour two. Our brains had been cooking in the sun, and we could genuinely feel ourselves going mad. After three hours of waiting on line, we finally entered the festival. Sets had begun and ended, and the sun was going down. Not the best way to start the festival, but the rest of the weekend made up for it. After the backlash from foresters about the line, festival organizers fixed whatever it was that caused the hold up, and everything moved fast and consistently during the following days.
Later that night, after exploring some of the forest, we headed towards the stages to listen to music. What I love most about the crowds is everyone is dancing. No ones just standing there taking a Snapchat, and if they are they’re shaking their asses while doing it. Everyone’s dressed to impress, or just not dressed at all. It’s one big fucking party. And sometimes you party too hard and lose your wallet. That’s what happened to me. Imagine this: I’m getting down to Flume’s set, when all of a sudden I think to myself, “Did I ever put my wallet back in my bag after buying that ridiculously expensive slice of pizza?” And I hadn’t. Devastated, we left Flume’s set, and I began cursing and asking myself how I could be so foolish. You know how annoying it is to get all those IDs and cards again? I don’t have time for the DMV. It was Thursday night and now I would be broke the entire weekend. We headed towards the lost & found and hopelessly I asked the man if anyone had returned a pink wallet. He asked me my name, tapped a few keys on the computer, and walked to the back of the tent. He then walked forward with – you won’t believe it – my fucking wallet. And not only did I get my wallet back, but almost all of my money was still there. It was a Christmas miracle in June.
We found ourselves at the Jive Joint several times that weekend. The Jive Joint is a small outdoor stage with a janky house connected to the back, where you could always find interactive music and comedy. You could either listen to some tunes or venture into the house. One of the many times we were there, I stayed outside jamming to a banjo cover of “No Diggity” while a friend of mine explored the house. Moments later, Rossome, of the Ross & Paul Show held at the Jive Joint, burst out the front door of the house onto the stage with my friend held in his arms. She smiled and posed like she had planned this. Blown away, the audience and myself clapped, cheered, and hollered. Now that was an exit. She later explained to me that he had just picked her up and walked right out, and she just went with it. At the Jive Joint, you are a part of the show.
One of my favorite places at Electric Forest is the giving tree. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a tree where you can acquire random stuff that you need and don’t, and in return you place something of your own for someone else to take. It’s usually stuff like candy, condoms, and fun little toys, but occasionally you’ll find something special. Like a joint on the day you forgot to bring weed. Thank you, mystery weed man.
On Sunday night, we dug up a time capsule at the JenkStar’s Illuminarium. There was no map but only a picture of where it had been buried the year before. The workers began lifting up the wooden dance floor, uncovering the dirt the time capsule was buried under. For about an hour we forced the shovel into the dirt looking for it. There was a moment when we thought we might not find it, but surely enough, we heard the shovel hit something metal, and everyone burst into cheers because we knew that that was it. We dusted the top and opened the rusting metal box. There was all kinds of shit in there — glasses, bracelets, money, weed, sage, fireworks (I have no idea how someone snuck that in), and so much more. A lot of it had been ruined with the rain that had seeped into it, but it was still so exciting. The workers explained to us that all of the stuff was cursed and could not be taken. So after looking around, we placed everything back into the time capsule, and added a few new things of our own to be dug up again next year (if we can find it).
Electric Forest has a lot to offer. Impromptu freestyling puppet shows, special performances by DJs on top of RVs after hours, failed attempts to break the world record for world’s largest group hug. Whoever you are, there is something for you at Electric Forest. It’s not like any other festival I’ve been too. People are genuinely happy to be there.
Check out the rest of my photos below!