Bass thumps at Electric Forest

June 26, 2015

electric_forest_festival_2015_065Electric Forest Festival coverage is sponsored by Springstead Law Offices, with locations in Hart and Fremont, 231-873-4022;

By Mark Lewis. Contributing OCP Writer.

GRANT TWP. —  For the fifth-straight year, festival goers came from all around, flooding the normally sleepy village of Rothbury with good cheer, wallets full of cash, and thumping bass – lots and lots of thumping bass.

License plates from as far away California, Texas, and Alaska – yes, that is Alaska – graced cars as far as the eye could see, as an expected 40,000 revelers poured into the festival site on the property of Double JJ Resort Thursday morning, entering the festival proper from a large field just north of Winston Road. Cars started to queue Wednesday, hoping to get the choicest camping spots, while latecomers were relegated to far-flung locales across the festival’s multiple campgrounds – which double as a horse pasture the rest of year.

“This is amazing, incredible,” said a nearly speechless Alan Browner, 19, as he sat atop a friend’s truck while waiting in line for a vehicle search. “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” someone yelled a couple rows away. Indeed, it is Browner’s first large music festival, so all he had to go on where the tales of friends and various Internet accounts. “I’m just going to go wild,” exclaimed the Ohio native. “But I’m going to pace myself, too. I don’t want to wear myself out the first night. Don’t want to be some kind of an amateur.”

Though known primarily for a lineup that boasts some of the top names (Skrillex, Bassnectar, and Flux Pavilion, to name a few) in Electronic Dance Music (EDM), the festival, which was birthed from the earlier, much larger ROTHBURY Festival – held at the site in 2008 and 2009, and included a wider variety of music than the current incarnation of the festival – still has ties to its jam band roots.

For several years now, the String Cheese Incident has dominated the festival’s main stage for three out of the four nights, bringing with them a crazy quilt of musical styles and a mind-blowing stage show to help Electric Forest bridge the “real music”/electronic music divide.

The still-diverse lineup is helping to bring the two tribes together. “I don’t care if they play a drum set, a drum machine, or on a coffee can,” said Sophie Chandler, 23, of the Chicago area. “I just want them to play all night, if they can. And I know they can, because they wouldn’t be here if they couldn’t.”  Sophie will get her wish, as the music got started Thursday afternoon and then will rarely stop until late-night Sunday. Between then, memories will be made, friendships will blossom, and yes, the bass shall thump.