To many, Electric Forest is much more than a music festival. Within 10 minutes of arriving to the camp grounds, you will find festival-goers meeting for the first time, hugging, and beginning a friendship that very well might end on Monday morning when you’re packing up to go home. This is just part of the beauty of Electric Forest.
For the second year in a row, Electric Forest called Sherwood Forest home for two weekends in a row. Just like last year, the lineups were mostly similar with each weekend having their own set of unique acts.
Unlike last year, Weekend 2 sold more tickets than weekend 1. During the day weekend 2 had to deal with temperatures close to 95 degrees but that didn’t stop music hungry fans from celebrating at their favorite music festival. The weather finally changed sunday afternoon when a storm caused an evacuation of the venue. Festival goers were instructed to go to their cars for the time being 0 but just as the storm came fast, it left fast and people were ready to party.
Electric Forest MVPs
There is no clear definition for my Electric Forest MVP. It can come from a variety of different aspects. context, sets played, and did they live the forest motto?
Louis The Child
It was almost impossible keeping track of how many sets Louis The Child actually played across the two weekends. When they weren’t playing Sherwood Court or Ranch Arena, these two young producers were constantly looking for renegade sets to play throughout campsites, VIP sets and even the This Song is Sick secret set weekend 1. It was like a wonderful game of “Where in the world is Louis The Child” and if you won, you got to see an awesome set.
After a certain incident that led to an artist being taken off the lineup, everyone was wondering who would be taking his spot. With pretty big shoes to fill, Jauz was up to the challenge. When he was first announced, people were worried that he wouldn’t be able to match the heaviness of the artist he was replacing…and oh boy were they wrong. Jauz performed on the bass rush stage both weekends and left fans hungry for more at the end of his set. It’s never easy replacing an artist on a lineup, but Jauz proved why he was the perfect artist to do it. Not to mention a couple of renegade sets and a “Jauz and Friends” off the deep-end set in VIP weekend 2. Well done, Jauz.
The Set That Fed Off The Crowd’s Energy The Best
(I know, that’s a mouthful)
I wasn’t sure how Marian Hill’s pop forward sound would translate to an environment like Electric Forest – but to my satisfaction, it worked perfectly. For the first few songs of their second weekend set it felt like they were just performing songs – as they got comfortable with the crowd an pulled the crowd into the performance – the energy inside Jubilee Tent could be felt from Indiana. They had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand, and if you didn’t know the words you wish you did by the end of this set.
Best Late Night Sets In The Forest
Every stage at Electric Forest has something special about it – but there is a certain magic to witnessing sets at The Forest Stage or The Observatory. You are surrounded by trees, and the forest lights up with beautiful production and a certain all-inclusive magic that is only found deep within the forest.
DROELOE were tasked with closing The Forest Stage on Friday night of weekend 2 and what a fantastic way to end the night it was. They played through their collection of songs from The Bitbird imprint while injecting absolute heaters that could be found at any self-respecting house party. It was sweaty, it was fun, and DROELOE was thriving up on that tiny stage.
Medasin was one of my most anticipated acts of the weekend. His originals and track selection are the perfect soundtrack to a place like Electric Forest and I am so glad I was right. His closing set at The Observatory on Saturday night was absolutely packed from front to back. Everyone had the same vibe, and were frothing at the mouth for more songs from Medasin when his set ended a bit after 3 am. He sat on the edge of beats and bangers throughout the entirety of his set – a perfect combination for a set at 2 am.
The Best Set You Probably Weren’t at
ZHU (Blacklizt Set)
Sunday Night’s schedule featured a ‘Special Guest’ at the Grand Antique Trading Post, a small stage deep within the forest at 11:30 pm. Around Saturday afternoon I caught wind that it was going to be a special ‘Blacklizt’ set from Zhu, just shortly after his main set at The Ranch Arena. If you don’t know what Blacklizt sets are, it gives Zhu a chance to flex his DJ skills and show a deeper side of house music – and it was incredible. The small, intimate crowd were there from start to finish even after Zhu came on stage a half hour late. The small house-hungry crowd was on the same wave length for the entire 90 minute set and gave Zhu a chance to showw off his deeper side. What a forest memory.
The Best Weather Assists
I want to preface by saying that these sets would have been just as incredible without the help of the weather, but these circumstances helped make their sets that much more special.
Lane 8 was definitely in a position to succeed. He had a full two hours to showcase his beautiful take on melodic, progressive house from 11 pm – 1 am. His set was more than a collection of songs, it was a journey. If you turned away from the stage and looked up you were greeted by an incredible display from mother nature. Heat lightning lit up the sky and rivaled the stage production. The crowd was split – half in tranced by Lane 8’s theatrics on stage and the other half glued to the sky’s supplementary light show.
Because of the storm and evacuation later in the day, Manic Focus’s set was changed from 6pm at The Ranch Arena to a 1 am set at Sherwood Court – across the forest from Bassnectar’s set. In all my years of going to Electric Forest, I have never seen a crowd that big at Sherwood Court that into the music. The later it got, the more the crowd grew as they journeyed on over from Bassnectar’s set. Manic Focus could not be more appreciative of the crowd and blasted through a set with his band worthy of the new set time. What an incredible turn of events.
It was hard for me to find a category for Elohim – but I just knew I had to highlight her performance. I had no idea what to expect from an Elohim set. The singer/songwriter fresh off her second album took to the pitch black stage and took the crowd on a musical experience completely different from anything else. Think Sleigh Bells combined with Tune Yards combined with Purity Ring. Her solo set featured all of her incredible songs, along with exclusive remixes. People danced, people sang along, and more importantly, people connected. Elohim’s sound was a perfect fit for Electric Forest, and I can’t wait for her to come back.