The 7th annual Electric Forest (EF) festival wrapped its second of two magical weekends in the beautiful forest of Rothbury, Michigan, welcoming fans for an additional four days and nights of camping, live music, incredible art installations and the magic of the enchanted Sherwood Forest.
As gates opened on Thursday, June 29, Electric Forest welcomed back many returning fans from Weekend One as well as brand new festivalgoers who experienced the wonders of the world for the first time. Incredible performances from Thursday included headliners Big Gigantic plus performances by Papadosio, Jai Wolf, Big Wild, Cashmere Cat and EOTO. Kicking off the first EF2017 Curated Event of the Second Weekend was HI-LO Presents HELDEEP, with performances by HI-LO, Shiba San, a special B2B with SNBRN and Dr. Fresch, Chris Lake, Wax Motif, Brohug and Afsheen.
Eager fans flooded the infinite Sherwood Forest to explore EF’s many art installations — including the epic Caravan Elephant centerpiece, Mechan9 Robot, this year’s Art Installation Sponsorship winners The Night Lily and Pisces Pool, the Book Nook and more.
As festival gates opened on Friday afternoon, the Bassrush Curated Event kicked off on the Tripolee stage with performances from GTA, Allison Wonderland, Valentino Khan, 12th Planet, Sub Focus, Delta Heavy, and others, including headliner Dillion Francis. The Future Classic Curated Event took over the Jubilee stage with dynamic performances from Bob Moses, Snakehips, Vince Staples and more. Meanwhile, the Turntablists Curated Event brought the Forest Stage alive with sets from Thriftworks, A-Trak, DJ EZ, Shiba San, EPROM and Zeke Beats. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band kicked off the first of their three shows of the weekend at The Hangar stage, where fans danced the night away to their classic New Orleans brass band grooves. Electric Forest’s reigning headliners The String Cheese Incident returned with three sets on Friday evening at the Ranch Arena, inviting Big Gigantic to join them for a special second set collaboration. Flume brought the festival to a fever pitch with his late-night headlining set.
By Saturday, the festival was alive withsunshine and the vibrant energy of the Forest Family. Beginning the day with yoga at the Tripolee stage, a nap in the many hammocks spread throughout the forest, or brunch at the Woodland Grill, EF’s pop-up restaurant, fans prepared for a day full of music, dancing and exploration. EF’s Her Forest program, which also hosted a Group Camp, Her Forest Circles, and a Her Forest Curated stage during Weekend 1, hosted an artist panel in Reincarnation Village in Sherwood Forest. The theme for this year’s panel was “Allies.” Panel speakers Savannah Bust & Katie Larson of The Accidentals, Bay Li, Kaya Nico & Daisy Spencer of The Skins, Darcy Schneider – Director of Branding, Partnerships and Marketing at Madison House Presents, and Edith Johnson, the Festival Girl led a lively, funny and touching discussion on the topic of being an Ally – and how we can support each other creatively, and nurture each other culturally. After the panel, Her Forest hosted a Meet & Greet with the Production Women of EF. Fans had the opportunity to meet the women who work behind the scenes to make Electric Forest happen – from Artist Hospitality to Catering to Security and everything in between.
As the sun set on the picture-perfect Michigan summer evening, The String Cheese Incident presented their infamous Saturday night shebang. An artistic extravaganza truly unlike anything else, the shebang did not disappoint. Delivering a poignant, politically and culturally relevant show, which followed the theme of “Lead with Love,” the shebang included spray-painting protesters on trampolines, a neon SWAT team turned drumline, a search helicopter that showered the crowd with heart confetti, and a flying Lady Justice. Topped with a stunning fireworks display, the massive crowd unified in celebration of the show’s message – to resist oppression and overcome with love.
Following the shebang, The String Cheese Incident paid tribute to Wally Wojack, the man who planted the Sherwood Forest when he purchased the Double JJ Ranch in 1952. Wally Wojack passed on this past April and a memorial for Wally was on display in Sherwood Forest. Throughout both weekends, Forest Family left trinkets and messages atop the installation – which displayed Wally’s favorite ATV, his cowboy hat and boots, and this touching video celebrating the life of Wally. A permanent installation will be installed in the Forest for EF2018.
Sunday provided a final opportunity for EF17 attendees to experience all that Electric Forest has to offer. Music from Con Brio, TheBluegrass Generals and The Infamous Stringdusters welcomed fans in the afternoon, while Thievery Corporation brought an eclectic, stunning performance to the Ranch Arena as the sun set. Bassnectar delivered the closing set on the mainstage of EF17, with Nahko and Medicine for the People serenading the Jubilee tent into the night, as RL Grime, Claude VonStroke and Vourteque provided fans one last dance party at Sherwood Court, Tripolee and The Hanger stages, respectively.
Electric Forest is produced by Madison House Presents and Insomniac