When you walk into your favorite place, it isn’t hard to be amazed at the pure magic surrounding you. For me, that place is Electric Forest. Taking place in Rothbury, Michigan, Electric Forest is a massive festival that offers music and art from all over the world and spans over two weekends. Sadly, the eight days of this awe-inspiring festival has come to a close for this year. But the memories that I'll take away are priceless.
I attended Weekend Two this year and overall, the weekend was rich in good tunes, good vibes, and some crazy weather. Paying attention and putting care into your body and to your friends when you’re all going through four straight days of dancing was key. The highlights of my Forest experience this year? I missed my favorite artist (thanks mother nature!), found some new favorite artists, and changed my whole perspective on each day by starting it off with a transformative yoga session (big shoutout to Hannah Muse). I felt a paradigm shift within myself between my first Forest experience and this year and with that came new insights.
During Electric Forest, it’s so important to be present in the experience, because there is so much going on explicitly and implicitly. Look down and you’ll see where the fairies are. Look around you and you’ll see radiant beauty. Open your ears and you’ll hear something new. Walk down a different path and you’ll see there’s so more to explore.
Electric Forest is so intricate, so full of detail and beauty, and has so many hidden secrets. And they’re good - I promise. You can ask questions, solve riddles, talk and get to know folks from across the world.
The Hangar (one of the many stages at Electric Forest) was where a lot of the mystery started for me. Not only is this a stage designed to look like a 1940s aircraft hangar, but the Hangar is a full-on interactive area for attendees. Between the hair and tattoo salon, the milkshake and brownie bar, the auto shop, the arcade, and the antique shop, I was intrigued, to say the least. When you walk into the Hangar the sign on the entrance says, “Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” How true! There were glamorous flight attendants selling candy for pennies with pastel, coiffed hair and colorful glittery lipstick. I loved their look and I loved how they spoke with such poise and humor.
I had a very memorable experience during my time spent at the Hangar when a mysterious man in the Hangar approached me. He told me that there are many times in life when you’ll have to wait and there are many lines to stand in, but it’s more important that you don’t have the attitude of waiting, of impatience, of expectations, but that you enjoy what you’re experiencing now. He was playing with a clear glass ball and catching my eye with his handlebar mustache and elaborate tricks and rhymes.
At festivals, you’re given this incredible opportunity to be around people that are all there to make the most of every moment, see their favorite artists, and hopefully change their life for the better. At Electric Forest, there are designated areas, like the Giving Tree and the Trading Post, where people can exchange gifts, letters, and symbols of something meaningful to them, that they’ve wanted someone else to experience. Whether you’re a kandi kid and trading bracelets, or if you’re into collecting pins or crystals, there’s somebody out there that wants to share a beautiful moment with you. This all retraces back to the principal of PLUR - peace, love, unity, and respect.
Every morning, it was super fun starting my day with some yoga to get my head in the right place and my body limber. Afterward, I would run back to my campsite to smear glitter all over my friend's faces, carefully applying gemstones, and figuring out what bodysuit would best coordinate with the artists or genres that I was seeing that day. I like to wear rainbow pastels when I’m catching sets that are more future bass or chillwave (like Louis the Child or Rufus Du Sol) and I like to wear darker colors on days that were more bass-heavy or dubstep heavy (like for Bassnectar or Jauz). There were a lot of outfit changes and that’s part of the fun. Weekend Two was HOT this year, but that just meant I had to wear less. I saw a guy in the lost and found line that was butt ass naked... I think he lost everything. I don’t blame him.
The last day at Electric Forest, I stayed up dancing my heart out at the RV sets until the sun rose, just to make up for the lost time we spent in our tents during the thunderstorms. Cherub dressed up as Daft Punk and had me fooled until about a week later that they reunited at 3 am in the parking lot. It seemed pretty real to me.
No matter where I was - at the Hangar, or waiting at the gate, a security line, a food or shopping line, there was always something to experience at Electric Forest. Whether it was music to listen to or someone interesting to meet and share a beautiful moment with, this festival provided infinite opportunities
Until next year, Happy Forest!
All photos were taken by me. Add me on Instagram - @ciara.michele