In the end, it turned out to be a welcoming, resplendent and joyful reunion of the Forest family.
Electric Forest’s much-delayed return to Rothbury, Oceana County in late June was greeted by more than 45,000 vibrant and often light-decorated festival-goers who strolled from stage to stage amid the woods and meadows of the Double JJ Resort.
They reveled in sets from internationally revered artists GRiZ, Louis the Child, Sylvan Esso, Cannons and The String Cheese Incident, as well as guest appearances from regional favorites which included Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, The Accidentals (from Traverse City) , Chirp, Michigander, Tom Wall and others.
Although attendees were clearly exhausted after the four-day affair, many were delighted with the unprecedented, friendly atmosphere of the festival, which returned for the first time after a two-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID.
“Electric Forest is a magical place,” said participant and photographer Derek Ketchum, of Kalamazoo.
“Two years ago we thought the days of gatherings like this were over. This weekend has been a huge exclamation that nothing can stop people from coming together en masse to celebrate summer, celebrate love and gather in the forest and forget about the outside world, even if only for a weekend.
Some musical highlights of the weekend in the Forest:
- Sylvan Esso gave one of the most energetic performances at the weekend festival (on the Sherwood Court stage), especially for a two-person band. Amelia Meath’s swirling energy and Nick Sanborn’s compound synths and beats created a luxurious sonic palette.
- One of the craziest sets came courtesy of electronic music hero GRiZ on stage at the Ranch Arena during a very late Friday night set, complete with towering flames and laser beam bliss. On the final night of the festival, he joined electronic duo Louis the Child to perform a saxophone solo in front of a large audience that filled Ranch Arena.
- Rainbow Kitten Surprise performed the band’s trademark indie rock to an overflowing crowd at the Carousel Club early Saturday morning as a fleet of hot air balloons prepared to take off on the horizon.
Even the Michigan State Police’s Hart Post reported that things went relatively smoothly during the four-day festival. An initial tally showed only seven arrests for assault and other offences, although a final report has yet to be released. No deaths have been reported.
“Electric Forest is a magical place. Derek Ketchum, photographer in Kalamazoo