With large scale music festivals continually growing and expanding, festival families are beginning to see an interesting cultural shift that’s taking shape in the form of collaboration. One of the more commercial events where that ethos still shines is the Madison House and Insomniac co-run event, Electric Forest. Enhanced through notions of participation, philanthropic essence, permaculture, and educational expansions, both attendees and artists inside Double JJ Ranch share a bond for deepened connection with every passing year. This outlook, embedded into the cultural fabric of Rothsbury, Michigan, brings forth a deeper awareness in its attendees as they leave every year with an outpouring of love spanning far beyond the festival grounds.
From the fresh smell of tall standing, deeply rooted white pine trees, to the intricate design of lights and elaborate psychedelia installations that dazzled through the night, Sherwood Forest is enchanting. However, our dear readership already knows that. The dozens of hammocks wrapped in the trees. The maze layout, expansive and immersive, allowing for attendees to freely explore the dreamland. The forest performers and painters. It’s a magical world, to be sure. But how does one magical weeklong experience translate into anything worthwhile?
Our team deeply cherished five moments at Electric Forest that opened up important reminders that triggered inspirational growth. Moments at the Tripolee, Sherwood Forest, The Honeycomb, The Brainery, and the Renegade’s brought forth a sense of powerful messages, frequencies, and connectivity. Here are five impactful moments from Electric Forest 2019 that made the place feel like a home and movement.
1) Tripolee was completely re-imagined.
The music at Tripolee never ceases to be inspiring, phenomenal, and breathtaking. Artists always bring their very best to this infamous stage, that itself feels very much like a mainstage all its own. While Tripolee has long been evolving over the years, with side balloon expansions, new shaded mushroom installations in the crowd, and new on stage decor, this year signaled a full-on Tripolee makeover. With a futuristic aeronautic theme, the towering feminine icons peered off in either direction, north and south, the newly revamped stage signaled on of Electric Forest’s biggest changes in 2019.
Curated showcases from Bass Rush, Gud Vibrations, and official Tripolee artists brought an eclectic array of originality and throwbacks. To feel bass frequencies, whether in electronic bass, house, or live music, is a reminder that we are energy and the potential of healing through music. Multi-genre bass soundscapes on this stage mainly consisted of deep dubstep and jungle straight out of the UK, future bass, trap, experimental, west-coast bass, house, and hypnotic hip-hop beats. With the energy being fully felt across the area, the crowd was full of smiles, dance, & presence through each artist’s creative input.
During early hours upon opening into the grounds, the Tripolee area was focused on reconnecting with the Earth through yogic practices. Fused with minimal & soothing beats, this necessary journey of breath took participants into transcendental states.
2) Sherwood Forest, a place to get lost and be found.
The Sherwood Forest is magical. Inspirational messages were blended into nature and nothing short of awe-inspiring. Everything from the entrance installations/portals (some of which were created by Carey Thompson), to the heart-shaped floral decor deeper in the woods, to the large scaled and medium sized structures of finely crafted intricacy of elephants and wizards. made for lasting impressions and effective fairy-tale like feels. The freedom to be and discover was a playful and memorable adventure.
Costumes synced up with interactive surprises. Weird and detailed fabrications worn by geisha’s, mystical beings, and funny creatures was cool to witness. Getting to interact with them was also a chance to discover secret portals focused on poetic parties through gifted tokens. Whether you were with your friends or wandering around by yourself, there was chance for both self-exploration & befriending people of diverse backgrounds.
3) The Forest’s newest addition, the Honeycomb.
Further into the path, The Honeycomb stage (created by the Mindful Massive crew out of Lake Tahoe, CA) was of a luminous, unique, and flowing vibe. Living through the lens of the bees made for sweet filled adventures of all kinds. Human connection through hugs, smiles, and laughter was experienced everywhere.
From The Plug In and Do More program’s continued establishment at Electric Forest’s 9th annual gathering, immersive projects such the Her Forest initiative, which held eventful circles and meets ups at the Honeycomb, is a necessary approach to raising knowledge.
These imaginative and participatory fulfillments are a prime example of elaborative contributions outside of the music. Through optimism and trustworthy energy, the fluidity and opening of new doors rises and elevates feminist cultivation.
4) GA camping’s The Brainery was a constant source of information and enlightenment.
The Brainery provided breath and sound healing workshops, learning/advice panels from musicians and industry professionals, and on the spot how-to-create and design ancient art classes. One stand out panel experience was the “LEARN: How to Gain and Retain Inspiration with Paper Diamond, Lane from Pnuma, and Special Guests.”
Paper Diamond, and Lane from Pnuma discussed on how to gain inspiration and push through the process of learning something new to become a master of your craft. They shared personal stories and experiences on everything from touring to releasing music to the music itself. A very genuine conversation, they also shared and recommended resources that have helped to identify new perspectives that allow creative flow.
5) GA camping renegade bus sets
After hour renegade’s revealed secret sets from both official and unofficial EF artists, and there was also a chance to discover more underground innovation. Occurring late in the evening into early hours of the morning, music was happening at every angle and every second of the weekend.
On the third day, there were about 25+ renegade’s that turned the entire GA camping into a festival of its own. The vibe was clear and reflective as each artist honed into their artistic dreams and transferred energetic pulsations.
Rave culture has always been built on the foundation of community focused on PLUR values and acceptance, mainly held in warehouses. Seen as deviant through the lens of structured societal folks and a place of freedom and love to the youth, these gatherings found their way into the norm and the outdoors overtime. What seemed as faulty then is now a pivotal emergence of new possibilities through newly produced environments.
These five impactful moments are reflective of a deeper connection with nature and shared experiences. A plethora of humans from all over the world came together to experience an energetic uplift that took place each day of this growing transformation. This bonding through art continues to capture interest through intentional & creative ways. A shift takes place through synergetic mindfulness, music, shared perspectives, & immersive art.
Photo Credit: Bridgette Mitchell.