With Mother Nature telling us it was summer time, she didn’t show it. As she open up the floodgates of rain on the week of June 22-25 2017, that didn’t stop the prep work for the biggest event in Michigan. In the little town of Rothbury Michigan hold a little secret every year.
As thousand flock from all over the world on June 22-25 2017 to Rothbury Michigan to join in on the fun of what is the Electric Forest Music Festival. This year festival took place on two different weekends the first of which started on June 22 2017. This year will be the 7th annual start of the music festival that take place on the Double JJ horse ranch in the town of Rothbury Michigan. With the rain looming over the event and fans coming in to camp for the 4-day weekend. The festival say the show much go on.
For those of you that might ask or never hear of the Electric Forest here is a little bit about what the event is all about. Each summer, just as anticipation for Electric Forest reaches fever pitch, tens of thousands of fans – traveling from all parts of the country, and the world, gather at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan for the music & camping adventure of a lifetime. Excitement for Electric Forest has never been greater. With the 2016 festival selling out a mere two weeks after tickets went on sale, in 2017 Electric Forest expands to two distinct, back-to-back weekends.
Entering its seventh year, Electric Forest is known for bringing together a passionate group of fans whose shared community spirit makes the festival a truly unique experience. The festival incorporates the natural beauty of the venue into carefully crafted art pieces and creatively themed environments, while colorful interactive characters and storylines blend with eclectic performing artists and musicians.
With its astonishing and unparalleled integration of music, art and community, Electric Forest delivers “The ultimate festival experience.” From the carefully curated musical lineup, to the jaw-dropping Sherwood Forest, to the festival’s unprecedented participatory spirit, to the site’s incomparable features and amenities – Electric Forest creates a vibe so thick with “camaraderie and freedom…it must be experienced to be appreciated.”
Known for fully embracing the possibilities of an engaged festival community, Electric Forest’s Plug In Program deliberately blurs the line between event organizers and attendees. With this truly unique “open source” fan engagement platform, Electric Forest harnesses the creativity and passion of its community members, offering real and tangible ways for fans to participate in and ultimately help shape the Electric Forest experience. This is a big deal, since for Electric Forest – experience trumps all.
Hailed as “an amazing example of how music and festivals can change one’s outlook on life,” it’s widely understood that “one of the most important lessons [to be] learned in the Forest is that we are all together,” and this sense of community is truly “cherished [within the community] like the incredibly rare find it is.”
Each weekend offered it own style of music and fun for the crowd that cam out to enjoy the festival. As the rain stop and everyone began to come out of their campsite you had to wonder that if the festival would go on. So the festival did everything it could to dry up the water that was left in the after math of the down pour for the first two days that cause havack on most of state. The festival went on as plan, as people started filing in from the main gate. Which from this stand point reminded everyone of the old photos from the wood stock days as the fan flock to there first stage to start dancing. As much as the organizer try to do what they could to move or soak up the water it still was little much special by the front stage, but that didn’t stop the fans as they dance and pound the ground, splashing mud and water every where. Even at one point you could hear one person say hey let be like Woodstock. Yes that it happens, as thousand be slide, dance and play around like a little kid in the mud.
So with the festival was underway with the first acts on Thursday June 22 2017 that would continue on till Sunday night June 25 2017. The music act would play on 7 different stage of the event for both weekend.
Map By Electric Forest
The first thing you see as you enter the ground is the entire campsite where people from all over the world will be calling home. Please note there are a few different type of section in the camping area (some of which was just for tents only, RVs and campers). For those that spend a little more on there ticket was a special area call the Good Life (this was like the vip camping site along with that there was section by each stage just for them as well)
As you walk threw the ground of Electric Forest. You start by walking in the main gate area where fans where line up by noon to get in this would take you by the first stage call the Tripolee Stage (Note each stage it deck out in it very own Electric Forest style, this is the first of the three biggest stage at the event). As you follow the path of the crowd you have one of two option which if you never been there this is a chance to stop and take something in that you don’t see very often at festival. It was everyone told us to stop at while we were there it call the sharing tree.
Photo by Electric Forest
This old tree that stand at a bottom of a hill as you just about enter what they call the ranch area. Here you will find fans standing around leaving small items from note to little gifts for other to day and maybe even leave something for the next person to take home. This is always how people shared memories with other weather you were new or old to the event on how much fun it can be. We find that with what happen at this tree you can see what happen when people come together for one cause.
From there you then enter the first of two vendor areas and start you trek once again in the Electric Forest. Here is your chance to check out some great gift option to take home. It was also where you could stop in an buy your favorite Electric Forest t-shirt, hate, jacket and other items. This first vendor area is at the start of the section they call the Ranch Area. Here you find the Ranch stage (this is 2nd of the 3 big stages at the event). At the Ranch area you could take in the music and buy something to eat or drink. The food would range from anything from vegetarian to meat eaters. They had BBQ, pizza, crêpes, sandwiches, gourmet food and more. You could even get your self a beer or soda if you wish. But you could event get your self a bottle of water if you wish how ever the festival promoters had in stalled free water filling station around the ground so you could help keep the environment more friendly. Also to point out they event made it so you could make more of a in pack on the environment by using three different recycles bins each of which was labeled so you know where to put stuff for compost, trace and recyclables.
Photo by: Joe Currie, Michigan Event Magazine
As you move from the ranch area, you come to a big arch way that would take you back in time to a small wood area they called Sherwood Forest. Here you would find now only a few small stage but a lot of the art instillation that was made just for the festival (each year they have a contest for art to be in this section). There are many things to due in this area beside take in music. Here you could take a trip to the chapel to get married if you wish (Yes there is ordained Minster on site to help with that).
In the forest you could even check out the observatory, reincarnation village, along with the silent disco area. This is also where a lot of the art was to see. But if you got over whelmed then this was a great place to throw up what was call a sling hammock and relax in the tree and just listen to of the sound of the forest as many of them pick out spot to even listen to the music and the stages. There is also a small vendor area in this section as well big tower you could come that would over look one of the stages.
Forest is also where you would see many fans dress up in costume and having a blast interacting with other fans. Some of which even took the change to take their picture with some of the costume fans.
Photo By Joe Currie, Michigan Event Magazine
So as you moved out of the wood this was your chance to see the 3rd biggest stage of the event that was call Sherwood Court (Note at this point we haven’t told you that the whole venue spans about 25000 acres). As this point if you wish you could stop and get your self a cold beer at specialty beer craft tent). Also in this area were vendors and more food some of which including stir-fry made right in front of your eyes.
This is where you then would turn if you wish to go into the Jubilee section of Electric Forest. In this section now only did you get a main stage section under a tent area but this was a chance to be thrown back in time by walking into what has been call the Hanger.
The Hanger is a throw back day to early life from WWI and WWI days. It offers up many different things to do. Here the first thing you might see is the old style pin up ladies selling gum and candies for you to enjoy. Depend on which side you walk first there were many things to see. We will walk you down the way we took for the event.
Photo by: Joe Currie, Michigan Event Magazine
We start our trip down the left hand side of the hanger. Here the first thing you came to is what called the Recharge station. No it not for recharging your batteries on your phone or other electronic devices there was special area for that. This place was decked out like and old school auto part repair shop, but as you walk in you find 4 different station where you could lay down get your own internal batteries recharge by getting a massage. By taking of the massage bed the ladies who where dress up in pin up hair and coveralls would then began to buff and massage the tight muscle you may have by walking the event. They did this by using car-buffing machine like you would for putting wax on a car.
Photo by: Joe Currie, Michigan Event Magazine
From the recharge station we move into the old school barber. Here is where you would find men and women getting there hair cut done by old world school barber that was deck out like in the old probation days. From there you move next to a small old school dinner and then on to something for the ladies where you could get your self made up in the bedroom style Briad Maid Parlor that it self was deck out in the old pinup style bedroom with vanity mirror and so on. Here the ladies were even in dress up in old school pin-up bedroom attire.
From that you come to the main stage in the hanger that would play music from all different type of area. As you move around to the other side of the hanger you came to the selfie station where you could go in and get your picture taken by many different type of old world items. Then move from that you come to the Game Hall where you could sit down at a old school Soda fountain station and buy some candy, take in a game of pool or even try your hand at bowling that was so old school that the pin had to be set up by hand and special performs that even act like they was back in the old days. The last top on this side of the hanger you was thrown back in time to old military days where if you wish you could get your self a new tattoo and both men and women dress up in military style clothing draw and get you that special tattoo.
This would pretty much sum up the grounds of Electric Forest as we now turn our self to what it was like at the event and to other thing that the Electric Forest dose to help out the community.
First off you find that all the people at the event are very friendly. You walk around everyone would say hi, slap your hand or give you a hug, as you if they could take your picture or if you want to take theirs. The mood of the event was very relax no one was pushy and everyone was willing to help everyone out if they need it. Fans walk around in many different style of attired from normal clothing to costume, even a few brave soles walk around with not much on other then underwear and pasties, along with body paints. Before you ask this event was open to everyone from all ages.
It also to point out that the venue not only hire private security but also had the help of state troopers and under cover cop to keep the peace at the event. The officer would tell you we aren’t there to put a damper on the fun that is the Electric Forest, we are there to just keep the peace and make sure everyone had a good time and not bad happens. The venue also had a lot of medical tents and staff just in case for injuries and medical need as well. So there is always someone around if you need help at the event
Music style at the event is a mix verity that arrange from DJ’s, rap, electronic to country with a bit of rock and roll. So there was a wide array of musical talent on hand for people to enjoy and dance to. Some of the act performed both weekend while there was only a few select artist that only preformed on one weekend to give the festival more talent each weekend. A full list of act can be found at the bottom of the article.
As each other took to the stage they each brought their own style of music for people to enjoy. Some of the act like String Cheese even made the night of many fans buy not only doing there own set but when they came back on they brought extra artist that was at the event on stage to perform with them. But with the wide array of music this wasn’t the only band to bring special surprises to there awaiting fans and guest.
With music electric forest doesn’t only take the time to plan their act. But they also help out the community with their Music and art programs. Electric Forest is committed to supporting and expanding music education in the local Electric Forest communities with the Music In Schools program. Since inception, Music in Schools has donated over $51,000 to local school and not-for-profit music programs, including Shelby High School, Montague High School, Arts Council of White Lake and others. The schools use it to purchase new uniforms and instruments and to fund music teacher salaries along with student competition trips and camps, and more.
Electric forest also help out the communities with another program as well that they call the ROY PRICE MEMORIAL FOOD DRIVE.
Since Electric Forest’s inception in 2011, the festival’s “Roy Price Memorial Food Drive” has donated over 76,000 pounds of food to local food banks and churches. Each year, Electric Forest’s annual Food Drive encourages patrons to donate non-perishable food items in exchange for a limited edition Electric Forest Food Drive Poster. The EF Food Drive was renamed the “Roy Price Memorial Food Drive” in 2012 to honor cherished Electric Forest neighbor and huge Food Drive supporter, the late Mr. Roy Price. Today, as the program continues to thrive and grow, Electric Forest Organizers remain ever grateful to Mr. Price, and to his wife Dolores, who continues his legacy as an invaluable Food Drive supporter.
Electric Forest takes it time to give back to the communities that have support them through out the year. So giving back was a way to show the love for what they have done for them. The fans support this in every way possible.
Photo by: Joe Currie, Michigan Event Magazine
However this year was a sad year for Electric Forest as they lost one of there biggest fans that was always there and support them. It was there dearest Forest Family member Wally Wojack passed on this past April. Please take a few moments to view this video, posted on EF Social Media platforms yesterday, in memory of Wally. This year a memorial incorporating the video has been constructed in Sherwood Forest; find it on the North Side of Wally Wojack Lane. Electric Forest looks forward to creating a permanent installation for EF2018.
In 1952, Wolly Wojack purchased the 2300-acre horse ranch that is now the Double JJ. For 65 years, he tended to the land, the animals and the community in and around the property. He of course tended to, and attended, every Electric Forest. His cowboy hat framing his always-smiling face, and almost always on or at least near his favorite ATV.
Wally planted the seeds of Electric Forest, literally, when in 1955 he and a small group of fellow locals led an effort to repopulate an area of the Double JJ Ranch that had been devastated by harvesting. They planted 6’ tall white pine seedlings that – now over 70 feet tall – today make up EF’s beloved Sherwood Forest.
RIP dear Wally. Your spirit lives on with us, in so many ways.
Even with the passing of their beloved friend. The show must go one. So the Electric Forest lined up fun thing for everyone.
Some of the thing you could do at the event if you want to take out time out from the music. You could take a walk on what is call slack line. That is where you take and depend on how brace you are, is you take and stretch out a small belt material on whatever height you want. Then you walk on it like a balance beam and see if you can stay on it with out falling. They had a few of these up that was only about a foot off the ground for safety purposes.
You could even take time to ride the big ferries wheel at the main gate and see most of the festival ground when your at the time. They also event have a hot air balloon that you could take ride up and done with.
One of the new things this year was Monarch Rachel and Their Royal Drag Court. They where on hand to give people drag make over and change them into totally different people.
Fan could even take in some of the art and installation art that was there. This is best to not only take in during the day but was even more fun at night with the light shot that was put on all through the forest area.
So if you never been to the festival this is something that you should due once in your life. With the outrageous fans and artistes, music and other thing happening will either shock you or make you a fan.
We find here that it is most outrages event ever that we been to. Its fans are the most friendly and wild characters you will ever meet. But just don’t take our word for it. Take a look at some of the photo below from our time there.
Check out gallery below for more photo of the event (more photo can be seen at Michigan Event Magazine Additional Site Click Here) . Also watch for our special 2018 preview in our printed Magazine as well when.
|Ganja White Night
Lynx & The Servants of Song
The Hip Abduction
Tom Misch (DJ Set)
Win and Woo
Eric Krasno Band
Fury + MC Dino
Pendulum DJ Set
Walker & Royce