A collection of photos from Electric Forest 2019. See my blog post about it here.
If you're wondering what Electric Forest is, then you may want to see my 2018 Electric Forest photos where the captions are more informative.
Here’s all of our luggage. We fit everything into two checked bags, two carry on bags, and two personal item bags. There were only a few non-food things that we needed to pick up from Walmart after landing in Michigan.
We arrived at the grounds on Wednesday around 3:00. The festival didn’t officially start until Thursday afternoon, but the large “Main Street” area in the campground was as alive as ever on Wednesday night. Main Street is a nice area, with lots of vendors, food, and entertainment.
We camped with our friends Abby and Phil. They were great festival buds. This picture shows our campsite. For rental cars, we both reserved midsize SUVs, but the rental car companies were out of stock. So, they were forced to give us a giant Suburban and a Land Rover (eye roll).
Phil and Jess had an Old Maid showdown at our campsite on Wednesday night. It was intense. Under-rated card game, in my opinion. After this, we briefly wandered through a few RV parties. The RVs put on impressive shows, they were like mini stages, with the performers standing on top of the RV.
Jess sewed together one-eyed monster pins (in reference to T-Pain, google it). The crew wore them on their backpacks. They came out great and went well with the overall aesthetic of the festival (which ranged from hippie to raver and everywhere in between). In this picture, we were walking from the campground towards the security line for the music festival venue on Thursday afternoon. On Thursday, that line stretched for about a mile and took around two hours of waiting. Luckily, this wasn’t a reoccurring problem.
Inside of the venue, there were eight stages and the very large “forest” area, which was filled with art, entertainment, and spectacles. The forest during the daytime and nighttime are completely different. Here’s Jess and I in the forest during the day. It was quite hot in the afternoon, and going shirtless wasn’t uncommon - so I went for it. It felt great!
We took a group selfie in a reflective dome in the forest each day.
Jess posing next to an old truck outside of the back entrance to The Hanger, which contained many interactive experiences. There were a lot of actors in the Hanger that perform specific jobs; there was a hair salon, a (fake) tattoo parlor, an apothecary, a massage parlor, and much more. They do a good job at making interactions with the actors very intimate; it wasn't unusual to be one-on-one with an actor (or several). Sometimes the interactions could get very unusual, but the actors were well trained and never made us feel uncomfortable.
Inside The Hanger is The Carousel Club stage. I loved how this stage looked, but it got a little over-crowded at night during popular sets.
This stage is called Sherwood Court. The festival seems to schedule a great show at dusk at this stage every night. I think Jess and I have seen the sun set at this stage more than anywhere else at the festival over the last two years. Plus, this stage is nicely tucked behind the forest, so it has a cool ambiance to it.
Here is Sherwood Court at night. It’s usually much more crowded at night, but this picture was taken when a headliner was playing at another stage, so it was pretty quiet here. On Saturday night, Claude VonStroke put on a bumpin show here and our whole crew danced it out. Therapeutic grooves. Even the bathroom lines were a dance party for Claude.
Jessica taking a break from dancing to pose with Abby's foam Gameboy. It was a fashion accessory.
For me, Electric Forest is all about night time. The whole venue transforms, the forest becomes painted in colorful lights, attendees don their light-clad outfits and totems, and the artists put their best light shows on display. They even pump smoke into the forest to enhance the lights.
This is The Ranch stage during Odesza. The crowd was very colorful. It's impossible to have a bad time at Odesza.
Here’s a picture of The Observatory stage at night. The electronica duo Bob Moses played a special DJ set here after they concluded their concert at one of the larger stages. Also at this stage was a very aesthetic show by The Midnight, who played at midnight on Sunday.
Last year, Jess and I didn’t know that there is a very special treat at dusk on Saturday night. The band The String Cheese Incident puts on a legendary performance during this time slot every year, and we were careful not to miss it this time. There were lasers, drones, dancers, confetti, and fireworks - all at the same time, and to the soundtrack of a jam version of The Who and Pink Floyd. Shortly before the show started, someone in the crowd shouted “My Cheese is about to be melted!” He was right. A photo can’t capture the scale of this spectacle.
Since going last year, one of the things I missed the most was watching the glow of the forest from just outside. You can sense all the fun that’s happening inside, all the people being kind to each other, all the discoveries that being made, and all the music and dancing that’s going on.
On Sunday evening, Jess and I were feeling melancholy about the festival ending. So, we cheered ourselves up by putting on the skeleton costumes that we wore when we got engaged last year. Even on Sunday night, there were still tons of new things for us to discover in the forest and the hanger. We soaked it all in, and then left the forest for the last time - until next year, I suppose.
We had a great time at the festival. On Monday morning, we woke up in our tent at 5:45 AM and packed up our site. Since it was so early, we were able to drive right out of the campground without any traffic. Then we took a car ferry to Wisconsin to visit Jess's brother. It was a fun visit, even though it had to be short due to our flight the next day. We stayed up until 2am on Monday night driving back to Chicago and then repacking all of our bags in a hotel room so that everything could fit. Our sleep schedules had to take a little time to adjust after all those late nights.
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