Electric Forest 2017

I’ve sat down to write this blog post several different times and every single time I do, nothing comes out. It’s been three weeks since I got back from Electric Forest and I’m still trying to process everything that I witnessed and experienced there. Furthermore, what I have processed, I’m struggling to put into words that other people can understand. It’s extremely difficult for me to explain what exactly occurred at Electric Forest, but the best way I can think to describe my experience there is that it was pure magic.

I know I say this about every festival, that it was awesome and I had an amazing experience, but Electric Forest was on a whole other level. It was hands down the most insanely unreal and incredible festival I’ve ever been to. Going into the festival, I thought I knew what to expect. I’ve been to my fair share of festivals, and the Electric Forest website and social media accounts indicated that it would be pretty similar the other festivals I’ve been to, but I was wrong, and it was so much more.

What made Electric Forest so much more was the forest, officially called Sherwood Forest. The forest was the heart of the festival, with five stages located on either side of it and two in the actual forest. When going from stage to stage, attendees had to walk through the forest almost every time. This was the greatest part of Electric Forest, because the forest was where the magic originated from.

When walking into the forest for the first time, the first thing I noticed were the trees. Although I don’t know the specific species that they were, they were pine trees, and they were everywhere. Dispersed throughout these trees were art installations, which I spent hours of my time at Electric Forest exploring. There were so many of them that every time I entered into the forest, I discovered a new art installation, and that’s what the creators of the festival wanted. They wanted attendees to spend hours in the forest. They wanted us to get lost in the forest, to find and engage with art installations and with other attendees. The art installations ranged from little fairy homes hidden on certain trees to large figurines, such as a dragon made out of CDs, appropriately named the ‘CDragon’, to more interactive installations, such as a brightly painted church where attendees could participate in or watch fake wedding ceremonies. The art installations were designed and placed in the forest to be beautiful, random, entertaining, and funny and to get attendees to interact with them, be creative, think, and most importantly, feel.

The overall feeling that I experienced while at Electric Forest, and that I took away from my experience there, was that the forest was magic. Its magic wasn’t a tangible thing. It wasn’t something that I could see or touch, but a feeling that I had. It permeated the air and impacted everything around it. As a result, unexpected yet extraordinary things happened in the forest and surrounding festival grounds. I could give a hundred examples of these things, but I’ll stick with just one:

It was Saturday night and the location was the Ranch Arena stage. My friends and I were standing in the back under a tree listening to My Morning Jacket. My friend Davis, who is a huge My Morning Jacket fan and also an extremely talented glover, had his gloves on and was giving a light show to my friend Cory. By some miracle, he managed to see a small spider hanging on its thread from the tree above us, and gathering my friends and I around him, he then proceeded to give the spider a light show. Understandably, we all thought this was extremely bizarre yet hilarious, and couldn’t stop freaking out. After about a minute, the spider decided that it didn’t like the light show, and began to climb up its thread. My friends and I then left the Ranch Arena stage and journeyed across the festival grounds to see Illenium. During pretty much our entire walk through the forest, we talked and laughed about what had just happened and how strange it was, but it got weirder. About fifteen minutes into Illenium’s performance, his visuals featured a spider, and it wasn’t just any spider. I kid you not, it looked exactly like the spider we had just interacted with and was depicted doing the exact same thing that our spider had done, which was climb up its thread.

We lost our minds.

I’ve never been so shocked about something that has happened to me and my friends at a festival, or pretty much anywhere, in my entire life. I know it could be a coincidence, and that some of y’all reading this are thinking that it was, but the odds are against it. Furthermore, as I mentioned previously, there are many more examples I could give, which has lead me to believe that there’s no possible way that this example plus the other things I witnessed and experienced at Electric Forest could all be coincidences. If you know me, you know that I think realistically and logically, but I can’t rationally explain everything that occurred at Electric Forest. The only conclusion that I’ve been able to come up with is that the forest was magic, and attending Electric Forest this year allowed me to experience this magic, and to become a part of it.

4
Me, Nicole, and Davis right before we saw Illenium
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My absolute favorite of all of the art instillations I discovered

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