Electric Forest returned to Rothbury, Michigan last weekend for four days of music, art, and magic. Excited campers descended onto the grounds starting as early as Tuesday (June 18th) to set up their sites and get the party started early. The forest officially welcomed festival-goers in on Thursday, at which point the ubiquitous greeting, ‘happy forest,’ began echoing through the trees.
It’s hard to describe the events that transpire in the forest each year, but read on for an attempt to review some of this year’s highlights.
There are few venues that top Electric Forest. Set among the trees in Rothbury, Michigan, the venue features several stages, including Tripolee, Ranch Arena, Sherwood Court, Carousel Club, The Honeycomb, The Observatory, and Grand Artique. Walking from stage to stage and getting lost in Sherwood Forest, festival-goers can view interactive art installations, partake in a bevy of hidden activities, enjoy food and beverages, relax in hammocks, and so much more.
With a lineup featuring artists like Odesza, Illenium, Zeds Dead, Above & Beyond, Rezz, and more, it’s almost impossible to narrow down the top sets of the weekend. Some of the best sets I personally saw were Odesza and Above & Beyond, both of which brought the feels to match the energy in the forest. Zeds Dead also delivered one a top tier set, playing crowd favorites like ‘Gassed Up’ as well as oldies like their ‘Woods’ remix. In the forest, the best sets are always the ones you didn’t plan to see. For me, this included BLOND:ISH at The Observatory, Levity at The Honeycomb, and Chromeo at Carousel Club.
This year’s biggest addition was the Dream Emporium, which replaced the Hangar from previous years. Featuring several rooms to explore, each very different from the last, the Dream Emporium feels like a fever dream, leaving festival-goers wondering if any of it really happened… With a wrestling arena, a roller rink, a trampoline, a car wash, and so many more mysterious finds, it was easy to spend hours in the Dream Emporium.
The Chapel was also another fun place to visit, with a variety of parties and activities going on throughout the weekend. At one point I witnessed an actual wedding in The Chapel, and another day I saw a drag show. Other highlights of the festival included a silent disco, The Library with secret poetry readings, and Brainery workshops with meditation, yoga, lectures, and more.
There is so much to do, see, and explore in the forest, it feels like you can only scratch the surface in four days. While 2023’s event came and went in a blur, I’m already counting down the days until next year.