Electric Forest -Day 1 -The Day it Came Alive

Electric Forest -Day 1 -The Day it Came Alive

Electric Forest day one was definitely an experience. It had plenty of ups and downs, but mostly ups. Our journey began in Chicago where we caught a ride with some randoms from Wisconsin via Craigslist ride share. We left late Wednesday night to tackle the three and half hour drive to Rothbury, Michigan. Just getting here was quite the ride, as we dealt with drunkies playing grabass in the car, getting lost several times,  and talkative people the whole way. We arrived at the venue around 4 a.m. Thursday morning. We were led to a field that was a staging area for early arrivals, and suddenly were surrounded by thousands of idle vehicles eagerly awaiting entry. Gates were supposed to open at 10, but since there was so many people piling up, festival coordinators decided by 5 a.m. to start letting people in since it was growing out of control. When it was our turn to enter the gate our media credentials were not on file, but we were allowed to proceed until that was figured out later.

The entry process was a bit chaotic, but nothing out of the ordinary for a festival of this magnitude.  The camping areas are huge open fields, and all the early arrivals were stuffed in like sardines and placed far from the venue entrance. After a few hours of feeling claustrophobic, we decided to move campsites and went with our friends from Charlotte to a much better spot (probably the best spot of the whole festival). The music venue entrance opened at 5 p.m. and it was time to explore the grounds that staffers have been working on for more than four weeks.

Photo Courtesy of Emily Stout/Docufest

The venue is absolutely spectacular. It boasts five stages, top notch sound and lights and some of the coolest art installations I’ve ever seen. At night, the forest absolutely came alive. As advertised, it was electric, with almost every tree backlit, with glowing neon tapestries hanging between the trees. There is plenty to look at in the forest, it’s pretty much the centerpiece to this beautiful venue. The only downside is it’s been raining off and on for the last 24 hours, so it is quite muddy along pathways. But who wears nice shoes to a festival ? (Or shoes at all.)

Emancipator! Photo courtesy of Emily Stout/Docufest

The music the first night was on point and a great way to kick off the weekend. Excision gave the crowd plenty to womp on, with a blend of dubstep, drumstep, and even some Drum-n-Bass sprinkled in. Emancipator had everyone vibing off his unique blend of ambient and hip hop beats, and kept everyone dry since his stage is the only indoor stage at the venue.  I’m not a  huge Kaskade fan, but I give the man super props last night for dropping banger after banger. The 50-foot tall LED screens behind him gave off some of the best visuals of the festival so far.  I also caught the beginning of Lotus with their super smooth blend of disco with a touch of breaks and jaminess.

If Day 1 was any indication of what is to come the rest of the weekend, then I (and by proxy, you) are in for a real treat. The music gets even better today with artists such as Break Science, Chiddy Bang, Feed Me, Hood Internet, Tiesto and Dieselboy to name few. Festival coordinators are getting a huge thumbs up from me, since this is the first Electric Forest, and it has gone smoothly even though there have a been a few hiccups with weather, entry, and camping. They have kept everything going, and people are really enjoying themselves, maybe too much. Stay tuned tomorrow for a wrap up of Day 2 shenanigans. Over and out.

aka Joel Richard Kienitz, is the co-founder of Fresh Wet Paint. He currently lives in Chicago and works in marketing and music. Soundcloud page

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