Originally posted on Undercover Clubber on Saturday July 7, 2012
Enchanted from 6/28/12 till 7/2/12
So for those who actually follow this blog you know that I drove up to Rothbury Michigan over the weekend for the second annual Electric Forest Music Festival while most of Chicago was partying on Montrose beach for Chicago’s first annual Wavefront Music Festival. Words almost cannot describe the vibe that permeates everyone and everything at this festival but I’ll try my best to share this epic experience with you.
Given that this was only my second music festival ever (never been to North Coast or Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening was my first) I came in with pretty much a clean palette of expectations; which were blown away. Not only is this 4 day music festival filled with amazing bands (many of which I’ve never heard before) the DJ line up was great as well. Add to that camping which is half of the fun since you are meeting and partying with new friends till the sun comes up and a forest that was transformed into a crazy laser filled wonderland with surprises and artwork around every corner. Even if you weren’t trippin, you were trippin when you walked into that magical forest. Everyone here was friendly and just happy to be there to experience everything. I did not have a bad interaction with anyone that I met. The music fit the atmosphere well too; many bands were dub, dub electronica, jam bands or just a mix of electronica with some instruments (Big Gigantic) as one example, which worked very well. String Cheese Incident had 3 3-4 hour shows and they were great too, especially if you needed to get away from some bass drops for a while.
The festival held different events in order to get people engaged with a food drive (Roy Price Memorial Food Drive) from which you were rewarded a free limited edition poster if you brought 20 non perishable food items to donate. Add to that Electrocology, or in normal terms a recycling competition where every time you brought a bag of recycled material (beer cans, plastic bottles, paper) to a specific location you received an “eco point” which then could be redeemed at the vendors for merchandise. Each trash can location was split up into compost recyclables and trash to promote keeping the grounds clean and to make it easier to drop off recyclables for the competition. There was also the ultimate camp competition which encouraged people to get creative with their campsites. A winner was chosen on Saturday of the festival. The winning camp received 4 free tickets for next year and I believe a very special VIP show by some artists. During the entire weekend you also had performers walking around the different venues. From jugglers to magicians to people walking on stilts and even “statues” just added to the wonder of the forest and event.
The festival had vendors by the campsite and inside the festival grounds by each stage where you can anything from the typical “MDMAzing” hats to hammocks to led lights to hula hoops and even some decent food (ranging from breakfast to fast food) and of course water and beer n so forth. Each stage had a water bottle refill station next to it and thank god because it was super hot all 4 days. There was a good amount of porta-potties by each stage as well. First aid stations were plentiful just in case you couldn’t deal with the heat or god forbid something else happened. There was a general store near the campgrounds where you could buy anything from ice to toilet paper to 12packs of coke. Prices were decent on items you would need but slightly steep on things you could consider a luxury (12 pack of coke $10/ bag of ice $5) showers were available but for $10/shower so if you wanted to shower all weekend you’d pay $40 for just a shower a day. You also had plenty of security guards walking around or riding around on golf carts and horses. Over the weekend when more people showed up with weekend tickets you could also see state police patrolling the grounds.
Originally I chose to come to this festival because of the DJ lineup which was fantastic. I’ve never been to Lollapalooza or other festivals because if I’m paying a few hundred dollars I want to make sure it is worth it to me. The DJ lineup alone at Electric Forest seemed worth it to me, but I was pleasantly surprised with other acts. Ghostland Observatory, Reggie Watts, String Cheese Incident and Big Gigantic are only a few that stood out and blew my mind all weekend.
With 25,000+ amazingly fun happy and nice people all weekend and amazing musical line up Electric Forest in Rothbury Michigan is something everyone should experience at least once. But be sure to come prepared for bare bones camping if you don’t pay extra for the good life packages or VIP. Come with an open mind and let your inner child run free through the magical forest and its interactive art displays.
It’s a good change of scenery from the typical club heads you see in Chicago (even at the Spring Awakening music festival) no one here wants to prove anything they’re just here to enjoy themselves whether on chemicals or not.
I know I’m going back next year and I’m taking part in more festival activities, are you coming? You definitely should.
Did you travel to Rothbury or maybe know someone who did, leave a comment down below and let’s hear your story.