Electric Forest Festival overcomes wet start

June 24, 2016

EF 3


By Mark Lewis. Contributing Writer.

GRANT TOWNSHIP – One might think that Thursday’s raining-morning start to the sixth annual Electric Forest Festival, held on the grounds of Double JJ Ranch, might dampen some of the spirits of the estimated 40,000-plus attendees.

The solution? Start herding in the crowd a day early.

Contrary to past years, Madison House Productions decided to lessen the opening-day crush by allowing returning revelers a chance to find their camping spots starting Wednesday. Thus, when Thursday morning’s rains hit, most were comfortably tucked into their sleeping bags.

“Honestly,” said Sven Harris, whom hails from Virginia, “I barely even noticed (the rain). I thought I heard rain hitting my fly, but I just turned over and went back to sleep. We hit it pretty hard last night.”

Indeed, by the time the gates officially opened, most festival-goers already had gotten the party started, giving the event a well lived-in feel right from the start.

“I feel like we’ve been here a lifetime already,” said Cassidy, a Florida resident who’s been in Michigan for almost a week now. “We came up early and we’re going to be here for another week. I’m thinking I love it here.”

“Here” includes the actual festival, which again includes three nights of headliner String Cheese Incident (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights), along with Major Lazer (Thursday night), STS9 (Friday night), The Floozies (Sunday night), and the newly endowed official ‘Festival DJ,’ Bassnectar (Saturday night). It all adds up to a four-day, multi-genre music extravaganza.

“If this is your thing, this is your place,” said Daniel, a metro-Detroit resident, pointing down at his official festival guide. “I’ve been to lots of festies, and this one is the one I keep coming back to.”

The difference, it seems, is the way the festival seamlessly mixes music and art to create more than just an opportunity to see your favorite musician and party with your friends; it’s often a life-changing place.

“I dare you to spend time at this festival, meet the people, take in Sherwood Forest (the unofficial center of the festival) at 2 a.m., and really ponder what all this art is trying to tell you…” said ‘U’, a collegiate from “out west” who’s been to Electric Forest for three-straight years, his voice trailing off. “Well, you go into this one way, and you come out the other end changed forever.”

Alas, life returns to normal with Monday’s en masse clearing of the festival grounds – hence, the sense of urgency some revelers seem to have trying to soak up everything before the conclusion of another EF festival.

“No time to talk, hon,” said a group of festival-goers jogging toward the festival gates. “We’ve got things to do and people to see!”

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