Electric forest

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Liddy rocking a dragon staff in front of one of the stages

About Electric Forest

Electric Forest (E-Forest for short) is a four-day and one-weekend multi-genre event with a focus on electronic music and jam band genres. It is held in Rothbury, Michigan at the Double JJ Resort. The original event debuted in 2008, under the name Rothbury Festival, and focused on jam bands and rock bands, but has become increasingly electronic.


  • Website: electricforestfestival.com
  • Location: 7100 South Water Road, Rothbury, MI 49437 (map)
  • Dates: ... for 2022: Thur 23 June - Sun 26 June 2022


Child Pages

Related/Child Pages:


Here are some photos from 2022:

2022 eforest balcony 600w.jpg 2022 eforest concert rails 600w.jpg 2022 eforest dust mask 600w.jpg 2022 eforest hammock 600w.jpg 2022 eforest hotel room 600w.jpg 2022 eforest giving tree rubbish 600w.jpg 2022 eforest night forest effect 600w.jpg 2022 eforest night great concert pic 600w.jpg 2022 eforest parachute 600w.jpg 2022 eforest secret club 600w.jpg 2022 eforest with shannon 600w.jpg 2022 eforest liddy massage 600w.jpg 2022 eforest night gift 600w.jpg 2022 eforest observatory stage crowded 600w.jpg 2022 eforest jason leech 600w.jpg


My Experiences With E-Forest

Liddy and I getting ready in our tent before our first explore of the forest

Here I'm going to write about my experiences, including what I learned from each one.

E-Forest 2022

I went to E-forest for my first time in 2022 with my incredible ex-girlfriend Liddy. For Liddy it was her third, so she largely guided me with what to expect and picked out all the best bands for us to see. The 2022 lineup was amazing, especially for the first day.


My favorite artists the whole festival were:

2022 Electric Forest Map.... see full res.


2022 - Overall Impression

This was my first time, and it didn't disappoint. The forest was magical, some of the music was so moving I cried as I was dancing, and we made quite a few new friends. I feel like I saw and experienced everything I needed to.... while still leaving a few things to experience the next time I go. There were many moments I really felt the love, but I guess the two pieces I didn't like are that it was so very crowded everywhere. There were moments of feeling pretty surreal as you walk against hordes of incoming people, or stand in a dense crowd. It's 50,000 people in a pretty small area really, so it's very hard to find anyplace in the forest which is actually quiet. The best you can hope for is to set up a hammock in a hammock zone and put in earplugs, but even then there will be other people a couple of meters away in their own hammock, and loud music. The other part I really didn't like is that people were really bad with litter. After each set people had left a bunch of litter around, and by day two even the giving tree was surrounded by just as much rubbish (discarded candy wrappers etc) as actual gifts. The food is also very expensive ($20 per plate) and for the amount of money you pay you'd expect them to keep the toilets clean, but I guess they were understaffed, because on any given day in Good Life about 90% of the toilet stalls were overflowing. My hope is that the forest people fix these things next year, so people only have magical experiences to focus on!


2022 - What We Did Well

  • Good Life Tickets: Liddy and I were lucky enough to score "Good Life" (VIP) tickets for $900 each, and it really felt worth it, because the perks include early entry (on the Wednesday) a camping area much closer to the forest (a 10 minute walk instead of an hour), air conditioned toilets, free access to the waterpark and access to (mostly less crowded) VIP areas for most stages. The General Admission tickets are only $450, but the extra distance and long security lines means you experience less of the festival and your feet get much more tired.
  • Arriving relatively early: We arrived at camp Wednesday afternoon via the Grand Rapid Airport e-forest shuttle, giving us enough time to set up camp before dark, and we snagged a spot nestled pretty close to the restrooms, and forest entrance. We were nestled between other tents, which I liked (a little more privacy versus people walking past, and we befriended our neighbors pretty immediately. They were pretty awesome, and we traded gifts and food.
  • Picking Good Music: Liddy did an amazing job of pre-selecting epic sets on the first night via the mobile app - so it was just really amazing that she knew a lot of those artists, because I didn't recognize any artist names. Other nights she didn't know the artists, so we ran on recommendations which were very hit-or-miss. What we could have done even better would have been to have two printed/laminated copies of the schedule... or honestly just two hand-written cards of the sets we wanted to attend.
  • Good Packing: We also did pretty darn well with packing - we had a great 4 person tent and most of what we needed from my E-Forest packing list considering we took a plane and shuttle in (versus driving). For my first time I was pretty proud of my organization, and hopeful I can/will do an even better job next time I go!
  • Books / Cards: I brought a few of My Books to ask people fun questions, and a few I also gave away as gifts.... and that worked well! I also had some laminated cards that I would show people to ask for a dance or hug or a deep question ("What was your most wonderful goodbye?") and that was great for quick connection to.
  • Scouting: Instead of mindlessly standing in a long line, I would let Liddy and Emily stand in the line while I wandered around to find out what the line was for, and if there's something better we could all do! Some people loved the scavenger hunt, which gave you a special pin to access a couple of "secret sets" and a hidden bar..... But honestly, the line for it at the start was so huge it wouldn't have been worth 4 hours of invested time. Instead we waited until the lines were shorter and teamed up with others to get out pins.
  • Fun Accessories: My big white cape was a huge hit in terms of compliments, plus it provided extra warmth at night. I had a few other little accessories for dancing and prompting conversation that I was pretty proud of, but for all future festivals I'm always going to have a cape in my backpack. Pity the LED cape I ordered for Liddy didn't arrive in time, we would have had everyone attracted to us!


2022 - Lessons

  • Better Backpack: The thing I wish I had done is bring a better backpack - my pack was large enough, but only had two compartments, so I spent a lot of time searching and thinking I had lost stuff. I had some sandwiches confiscated the first day because I didn't hide them well enough (you're not allowed to bring food into the forest).
  • More Gifts: I also kind of wish I had more little gifts like glowing rings or necklaces or candy bracelets to give to people, as it's a quick way to build connection.
  • Better Food/Ice Game: I think we could have improved our food game quite a bit, but part of that was that was because one of our little expandable cooler bags fell off the back of the golf cart that took us from the main airport shuttle stop (outside GA) to good life. Nobody turned it into lost and found. We did get really lucky to make friends with Emily, who camped next to us and had a massive solid cooler that kept our stuff. We helped set up her tent and her shade structure was big enough for us to share.
  • Underestimating the Dust and the Cold: Two of the nights were freezing, my jeans and jacket were not thick enough and we shared one sleeping bag whereas we definitely needed one each. Liddy got a headache from the dust and we didn't bring any nasal spray.
  • Organize to Meet Wonderful People in the Morning: If you meet someone really quite wonderful that you want to hang out with another day, don't rely on just meeting them by chance, or at a crowded concert. Chances are you won't have cell reception, and the best time to meet them would be in the morning, when most people are slowly showering and eating breakfast. Maybe find out exactly where their camp is, or meet at a particular food stall at a given time.
  • Print The Schedule and Map: Printing the schedule and circling what you want to see is a lot easier than using the mobile app and won't cut into battery life.
  • Get Early to Sets by Wearing a Watch: Your phone has the time, but you might need to tuck it into your bag for safety. Even if you never wear a watch, find a playful cheap one for the festival so you can quickly do a check and work out when you need to leave to get to a set before it starts, instead of just before it ends. Liddy and I got to quite a few sets just before they ended, which isn't fun.


General Advice

Here is some good generic advice I have written to help you prepare for e-forest. For more official tips visit 2022 tips from the forest family.

Pull Your Resources to Get Tickets

Getting tickets to E-Forest has become really difficult - and sold out in 10 minutes in 2022. It's best to get a bunch of your friend to try login when tickets open, and all try to buy a ticket for you. In the unlikely case you get more tickets than you wanted, I believe it's not too hard to sell them. Liddy knows all about that actually, so you can email me to ask how and I'll refer you to her email.

Arrive Early to Get Your Space

Arriving early and picking a spot close to the forest entrance is critical... the further back you are the longer you have to walk each day. I enjoyed having a spot off the walkway, nestled between tents, for slightly better privacy. If you have enough blankets, tarps etc, you can also claim a little perimeter around your tent for some breathing space, because it would suck if the people next to you had their tent touching yours. Pay attention to who is around you - if they are college, drinking frat boys then pick another spot!

Be Organized

Seriously, you can never be too organized. The more "pre-work" you can do ahead of time, the more time you'll have to enjoy the festival. This could involved preparing your day pack (and maybe night pack), pre-rolling joints, labeling all your stuff (especially your phone) with your name and email, printing a copy of the map and schedule, packing plenty of ziplocks... and just making sure you go over the packing list several times so you don't arrive there and slap your forehead because you forgot something.

Marathon Not A Sprint

Some of the best advice I watched was that E Forest is a marathon and not a sprint. There is a culture where people use hammocks in the forest during the day to just chill. I danced pretty hard on the first night, and second night, so I definitely was feeling it on the third. Don't push yourself too hard early on. Listen to your body.

Hydrate and Be Smart with Refills and Restrooms

Keeping hydrated is a key to staying happy, and bringing lots, because sometimes the refill stations have long lines. Get a good map in your head of good restrooms, and slowly you'll learn the smartest times to get food and water in order to minimize walking. I hope you have comfortable shoes!

Get The Good View

I soon learned that there is a lot of strategy in getting a good spot for each music set. You have to arrive early and kind of claim an area anyway you can - which might be a picnic blanket, lights, a perimeter of glow sticks, inflatable couch or whatever, then if you stand just behind your area you can still probably see the stage over any tall people. If you don't have this strategy, stand just behind someone's picnic area. Obviously if you are way at the front, or hoping to "ride the rail", then this doesn't apply, and your picnic area will be trampled.

Let Your Creativity Flow!

If you have a brilliant idea for a costume, or gift to the forest, then throw yourself into it! It feels amazing to get sweet compliments about your outfit, or your terrific funny totem, or even the toy dog you are carrying. People notice and appreciate unique creations and outfits, and it's a great way to make friends as a conversation piece. If you just rock up in a t-shirt and shorts, people will find it harder to strike up conversation with you because your outfit doesn't show any personality.

Use Drugs Responsibly

I would never take mushrooms or weed at a concert.... whattt? But a San Francisco friend of mine, hypothetically, will, on rare social occasions, do drugs and had this advice: "The first time you see the forest at night is more magical if you're tripping!"... and "Bring lots of 5HTP to balance out seratonin" and "Don't try to trip every day, pace it out". Also, only take drugs that have been tested and have a buddy system to take care of each other so you never have a hard trip alone.

Be Kind to the Forest

Way too many people littered at E-Forest 2022, but honestly we all litter accidentally at some point, so hopefully it will make you feel good about yourself to pick up a few pieces. By contributing just a little to helping the first or helping others (such as offering to help your neighbors) you will actually feel like some of your DNA has gone into E-Forest and you are a giver - not just a taker. That is one reason Burning man is so magical honestly - you feel like you helped build part of it.

Be Friendly and Giving

Even if you're not naturally friendly, it really does feel wonderful to be generally giving people compliments and gifts. Give without expecting anything back, but know that it usually comes back to you. When you make someone else smile, you will smile, and that will give you the energy to make connections and just generally enjoy the festival more!


Conclusion

If you like this article, feel free to email me! Maybe you'll even recognize me at a future festival, and say hell. I'm very friendly. :)


Sincerely,

    Andrew Noske


More Photos

More photos from 2022:

Getting there:

2022 eforest 1 bus 600w.jpg 2022 eforest 2 cart 600w.jpg

Setting up:

2022 eforest 3 setup 600w.jpg 2022 eforest 5 tent setup 600w.jpg

More:

2022 eforest liddy face painted 600w.jpg 2022 eforest andrew butterfly 600w.jpg 2022 eforest crawl space 600w.jpg 2022 eforest forest view 600w.jpg 2022 eforest 4 explore 600w.jpg 2022 eforest frame 600w.jpg 2022 eforest garden 600w.jpg 2022 eforest liddy butt 600w.jpg 2022 eforest little bird 600w.jpg 2022 eforest love sign 600w.jpg 2022 eforest night forest entrance 600w.jpg 2022 eforest statue 600w.jpg 2022 eforest tv people 600w.jpg 2022 eforest wristband register 600w.jpg 2022 eforest night pig 600w.jpg

Links