8 Days of Electric Forest: A Look Back At The Beautiful Madness

“Through 8 days of beautiful madness, through sun and stars
and even patches of rain, the #ForestFamily shone bigger
and brighter than ever before.”

Electric Forest

Electric Forest 2017 was one for the books,
stretching a total of 8 official days if you were lucky enough
to experience both weekend 1 and weekend 2 of the enchanting
music festival in Rothbury, Michigan.

An insanely diverse electronic lineup (with literally every
sub-grenre you can imagine, plus jam, indie rock, and more), is
just one way Electric Forest leads the pack in an
over-saturated age of music events. Not to mention the
elaborate costumes, storylines, and adventures spread across
acres worth of psychedelic art and discovery in Sherwood
Forest, which one could easily invest all of their time in and
still somehow leave satisfied. And, most importantly, the
connections made with all the amazing forest creatures — the
people — without which, Electric Forest would be meaningless.

This year, the lineup, the adventures, and the people were to
be expected… but the unique 8-day trip, as the music festival
took over 2 back-to-back weekends for the first time ever, was
unlike anything I’ve ever experienced!



Weekend 1, Day 1

My first day of Electric Forest was spent roaming around from
stage to stage, soaking in a little bit of everything and
getting my bearings… No matter how many times you go to
Electric Forest, it takes some time to adjust.

There wasn’t too much time to plan out the night because Space
Jesus was soon to take the stage at The Hangar. Going in — and
I say this as a term of endearment, really — I knew his set was
about to be a “shit show.” Throwing a beloved act like Space
Jesus on the smallest enclosed stage EF has to offer, mixed
with mud, mixed with pure day 1 chaos, mixed with Space Jesus
fans made for a interesting time to say the least. While the
overflow of people and sticky heat it emitted was too much for
some to handle, persistence was key. By the middle of the set I
had a dope spot in the center of the crowd as he threw the fuck
down, giving out unreleased tracks like candy. What an awesome
start to the weekend.

Next up, I was able to breathe and vibe to the beautiful vocal
stylings of Banks. Just, ugh. Then, I made some ample time to
play in the psychedelic playground as Sherwood Forest came to
life for the first time in 2017. (No words can really 
describe the magic of the actual forest at EF, you’ve just got
to experience it for yourself.)

Speaking of magic… Above & Beyond at Ranch Arena was
incredibly refreshing, pure musical bliss. They’re one of those
acts that you have to see at least once in your life if you
love electronic music, and they perfectly rounded out a solid
first day at EF.

Weekend 1, Day 2

It makes me sick to say I didn’t even attempt to trudge through
the mud to get my Pendulum DJ set fix (or later, my Nero fix),
which I seriously needed. But, in my defense, it was really
hard to move around at Tripolee at that point, as some parts of
the land were puddles that resembled lakes, and the outskirts
had resorted to single file lines around the mess. But, I do
love me some TroyBoi, so whatever. Trap banger after trap
banger after trap banger, he straight up gave the people of EF
what they wanted. But, he was a little lax on dropping much of
his own productions, unfortunately.

Holding down the spot at Sherwood Court, Tycho was undeniably
beautiful and a perfect lead in to Odesza back at Ranch Arena,
the heart of Electric Forest. Since the duo’s last set at
forest, much has changed — the freshness of Odesza’s new
material, mixed with remixes and edits of older fan favorites
made the set extra special. I don’t know if there’s anything
that goes better together than Electric Forest and Odesza.

Since I’m being real, I gotta say we left Odesza early to get a
prime spot for Barclay Crenshaw aka Claude VonStroke aka alien
abductor extraordinaire. And, goddamn, was I happy with that
choice as people crowded around on each side, in the back, and
on the above ground structures at The Observatory. As the
master stepped behind the decks, things immediately got weird…
and loud… and so perfect. It was mind-blowing how much he
changed up his set from Movement Detroit, but still delivered
that raw, underground hip hop underlying factor, mixed with
material from his self-titled debut album Barclay
and seamlessly manipulated sounds that I
didn’t know humans were capable of hearing. Bravo, dude.

Weekend 1, Day 3

The forest gods dried up the mess at Tripolee so AC Slater was
a total dance party — it was time to put our shuffle shoes on
and get to work. It was kind of like my, “Ah, finally, some
really good house music!” moment that I needed and it
absolutely recharged me like a battery.

Next up, it was Ganja White Night, one of my absolute favorite
acts to see. And, now that I’m thinking of it… The only thing
that goes together better than Electric Forest and Odesza, is
Electric Forest and Ganja White Night. These guys were all over
the place at EF, and their utter joy on stage was infectious
every single time.

*spent undetermined amount of time in Sherwood Forest*

REZZ… omg… so… crazy. The darkest, most unrelenting bass, mixed
with pure bliss; Space Mom knew just what we wanted and went
HAM. Mind control. Hypnotization. Whatever she was doing up
there, we were completely at her mercy. For a moment, I found
myself looking for an escape like perhaps a dancing unicorn
circle?! But, no. Mad respect for REZZ, who has taken her DJ
production to the next level, ultimately making her the most
talked about set both weekends.

What is there to even say about EF resident Bassnectar?! He has
completely morphed from a DJ/producer into some kind of musical
shapeshifter that can’t even be defined. During his set there
was no certainty of time and space, no genres, and no limits.
While half the time I spent wondering what I was even listening
to, the other half I spent letting go. Bassnectar proved once
again he’s a true legend at EF.

Weekend 1, Day 4

My weekend 1, day 4 consisted of soaking in the forest one last
time, then a bass heavy run at Jubilee with Minnesota into
Ganja White Night into 12th Planet.

One of the best parts about EF, in my opinion, is the annual
12th Planet set(s). Whether he’s on the lineup or not, he
comes, he conquers, and fills in wherever he can. If an artist
can’t make it, or if there’s an opportunity for a secret set,
12th Planet is usually there to save the day! As always, he
blasted us out of this world.

Big Gigantic closed out weekend 1 for us at Sherwood Court,
with the perfect balance of “feel good” and “go hard” as the
Forest Family gathered around and got down one last time. What
felt like a bittersweet end was really only the end of the

Weekend 2, Day 1

“Wait, what? I’m back? Did I ever even leave?” My brain was
racing and my body was in shock as I hit the Electric Forest
campgrounds again for round 2. Spending a few days back in
“real life” in a complete daze wasn’t ideal but I was so happy
to be back that the in-between weirdness was already a distant

Looking around, something seemed a little off, though. Then,
upon entering the venue it was clear, there was hardly any
people compared to the sold out weekend 1. In the first 24 – 48
hours of weekend 2 especially, there was a drastic difference
in crowd size at every show, and it was a breeze to walk
through Sherwood Forest — a feat not so easily done through
mass amount of people weekend 1. What my friend group called
“Diet Forest” was a treat for the diehards who were dedicated
to attending all 8 days, who were able to navigate quickly from
stage to stage with unobstructed views galore.

A little Yahtzel, a little Chris Lake, a LOT of SNBRN b2b Dr.
Fresch, and I was back in it, feeling my Electric Forest stride
again. But, I also couldn’t help feeling like something
was missing… “Is EF even EF without all of the people?!”

That mindset quickly changed as I b-lined for Sherwood Court’s
stage right for the most intimate Cashmere Cat festival set
I’ve ever seen. “Screw the people, this is an awesome view,
right?!” Just kidding. But, I’m being real when I say that set
was something extraordinary. Cashy went “full Kanye” with a
simple setup, no visuals, minimal lighting, and just the right
amount of smoke to set the scene. His intricate, moody
transitions and unrelenting bass had me in awe and gasping for
air the entire set.

HI-LO (Oliver Heldens) brought the energy back at Tripolee for
another ridiculously awesome show. Honestly, I don’t remember
the details of that one because I was having too much damn fun.

Weekend 2, Day 1

Zeke Beats’ scratch set at the Forest Stage and Delta Heavy’s
bassy productions kicked day 2 off in a crazy way! Then, it got
even crazier during 12th Planet’s prime slot at Tripolee. He
blasted us back to outer space per usual, which led into an
energetic, pumped up set from Valentino Khan, then into my most
favorite artist in the world… Alison Wonderland.

The newly familiar notes of AW’s “Is It Good Enough” ID rang
out across the most massive crowd I had seen at weekend 2, and
everyone completely lost their shit (including myself). Alison
Wonderland destroyed Tripolee at Electric Forest 2 years ago,
and she was back to destroy it again. With her impeccable song
selection and mixing abilities to die for, Alison once again
took us to Wonderland and proved she’s an unstoppable force in
electronic dance music. AW made for my favorite set over both
weekends, but I’m also unapologetically biased, so feel free to
take that in stride.

Flume took over Ranch Arena and the forest fell silent, with
moments of audible bliss that erupted from the audience.
Powering through a slew of his old hits, newer masterpieces,
and even a ground-shaking ID, this guy’s set was pure,
imaginative butter. Ok, that sounded weird but words are hard
at this point trying to even describe how magical it truly was.
Flume and EF complimented each other in the most breathtaking
way ever.

Weekend 2, Day 3

Whew. I felt this “8 Days of Forest” thing starting to kick my
ass. It was hard to be upset about a ridiculously late start to
the day… And, by that I mean the first full set I caught was
Illenium at 2:00 am, technically day 4, but it still counts as
day 3.

Illenium though, every ounce of energy I saved up during that
day came in great use for his set — which completely took me
out of reality and straight into the beautiful soundscape of
the melodic producer. Dancing was unavoidable, with some hard,
straight up grimey moments and plenty on the softer side, but
equally as moveable. It should be mentioned that Illenium’s
intentional, impressive set featured about 90% of his own
music, which played out perfectly to the vibes of Electric

Weekend 2, Day 4

Intricate hanging baskets of exotic flowers that must have been
imported from God-knows-where, live art displays, scavenger
hunt secrets, portals to other dimensions, impromptu piano
performances, and so much more… The last day of EF 2017 was
dedicated to time well spent in the forest. I was finally able
to more thoroughly check out the memorial of Wally Wojack, the
man who planted the seeds of Sherwood Forest. To light a candle
for a loved one (RIP Uncle Marv). To barter with the dude at
the Trading Post, and trade a mysterious golden egg for the
Game of Thrones Khaleesi action figure I’d been eyeballing
all weekend.

“Space Mom” REZZ came out to abduct the EF earthlings one last
time, completely shredding Tripolee, and again completely
hypnotizing everyone in the process. The mud decided to make a
surprise guest appearance again, so that, mixed with a shining
moonrise, a mass of spiderwebs, and REZZ’s trippy production
made for arguably the most insane set of the entire weekend. We
were all possessed or something (in a good way), completely
fixated on the stage, and literally, stuck in the mud.

RL Grime saved my life that night. So many trap bangers have
never been played out so creatively and with such precision
within a single set. It was the type of show you rage to, and
cry to — you dance to, but it also brings you to your knees.
Just as he gave his all, I attempted to reciprocate through
probably the worst dance moves ever, rocking my “Because of U”
tee like a true fangirl. I left the show dead. RIP me.

Bassnectar didn’t hold back in his closing set at Ranch Arena,
in fact he brought it even harder than week 1. The intimacy was
on point due to the smaller crowd. While people normally have
to camp out for a good spot, maybe grill a steak in the
process, we were able to walk right up for a stellar view just
5 minutes before the set. Bassnectar expressed his gratitude
and compassion for Electric Forest through both his wilder, and
more reflective works of art — the love could be felt in the
air, and through the purring of the subs.

With that, Bassnectar officially closed out “8 Days of Forest”
for us like a bassy cherry on top of the “beautiful madness” of
Electric Forest!

8 Days of Electric Forest: A Look Back At The Beautiful Madness