Over the 4th of July weekend tens of thousands of music lovers descended upon the Double JJ Ranch in Western Michigan for the Electric Forest Music Festival. The festival rose from the ashes of the Rothbury Festival that was held on the same site in 2008 and 2009 and Electric Forest had a tough act to follow.
Those who attended the past Rothbury events deemed the venue one of the best festival settings and many were disappointed when last year’s Rothbury was not held. This year long-running jam band The String Cheese Incident recreated the festival as theirs and headlined the final three nights. The lineup featured many well-known acts in the laid back style of SCI, but at night the intensity was turned up a notch with a slew of young electronic acts such as Bassnectar, Skrillex, and Pretty Lights.
The praise of the Double JJ Ranch by past attendees was rooted in reality and not a hallucinogenic mushroom experience. The site is truly a gorgeous place for this gathering. Follow us as we take you through our second day at the forest with Bassnectar, Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Big Gigantic and a whole lot more. If you missed our previous day coverage, check the links out below. More after the jump!
Electric Forest 2011 – Day 1 Recap: Tiesto | Day 2 Recap: Bassnectar, Skrillex, Porter Robinson & Big Gigantic
Sunday was the final day for Electric Forest, so needless to say we cherished every second of it. We started out the day around 2:45. Follow us on our journey.
EUFORQUESTRA: 2:45-3:45, TRIPOLEE STAGE
Euforquestra put on a set for what was unfortunately one of the smallest crowds of the weekend. The band did not let this fact affect their energy though. The seven-piece band let it funk compositions break off into several other genres. A highlight was when the group formed a drum circle that had the few in attendance enthralled.
THAT 1 GUY: 3:30-4:30, FOREST STAGE
That 1 Guy is a very unique one-man band show. The most striking fact is that he is playing an instrument he himself has built, known mas The Magic Pipe. The Magic Pipe, along with vocals and beatboxing created the original music heard by those lounging in the forest Sunday. Those who could see enjoyed his tunes, but the full effect was lost on those who did not stand to see the spectacle.
EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZEROS: 4:30-6:00, RANCH ARENA
The crowd seemed to be pretty wiped out at this point in the proceedings. Whether it was excessive womping the night prior or the day’s heat, something had drained many. Ten-piece band Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros managed to give some people a second wind as they sang along with hits such as “Home” and “40 Day Dream”. Bandleader Alex Ebert entertained with his stage banter as he chose to hop down and take a stroll around the crowd.
“What did you do to deserve to get fenced in like that?” he asked those in the VIP section. It was female vocalist Jade Castrinos who managed to steal the show. At times she appeared to be dancing around completely lost but managed to never miss a note when it was her turn to belt out a line. This hippy band succeeded in putting on a quality set at a very hippy festival.
BREAK SCIENCE (PRETTY LIGHTS SURPRISE SET): 5:00-6:00, FOREST STAGE
The festival’s iPhone app proved its worth when a notification popped up saying that Pretty Lights would be joining Break Science, who are signed to his PrettyLightsMusic imprint, for a set on the Forest Stage. We showed up towards the end of the hour to be informed that Derek of Pretty Lights had been onstage with Adam Deitch of Break Science on drums for the entire set. The two laid down some relaxing beats from Pretty Lights’ back catalogue that matched the mood in the forest perfectly. It was quite surreal to catch this set knowing that it was simply a warm-up for the main event in a few hours.
BEATS ANTIQUE: 5:45-7:00, SHERWOOD COURT
Beats Antique is a very interesting fusion of live drums, Middle Eastern samples, heavy bass, and live dancing. The crowd was very enthused with this eclectic combination. Zoe Jakes managed to be the center of attention with her elaborate outfits and perfectly cued dancing. Many minds were blown when a beat dropped and two more dancers that had been obscured by Jakes for minutes appeared from behind her. Beats Antique might not be music that most would listen to while driving in their car, but it is a show that most will enjoy live.
THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT: 7:00-10:30, RANCH ARENA
SCI closed their run at the festival with a set that seemed to please many die-hard fans. The first set of the evening was a intimate acoustic set for which the band brought out some of their friends from Railroad Earth and Greensky Bluegrass for assistance. A cover of The Talking Heads classic “This Must Be the Place” was very well received. The general mood was very carefree as you could look around and see people smiling at the scene as the sun set. Once again, things got weird once sunset came around. The multiple homemade jellyfish umbrellas that had loomed over the crowd throughout the weekend finally felt at home during the band’s classic track “Jellyfish”.
The band eventually introduced some very large inflatable creatures into the crowd in the form of a shark and racecar driver. When they passed overhead you could not help but feel like you were walking in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Once the band had triumphantly wrapped up 20 minutes after the official finish of their three and a half hour set feelings were bittersweet knowing that the weekend was coming to a close.
PRETTY LIGHTS: 11:00-12:30, RANCH ARENA
“Going f#$&ing HUGE at Electric Forest this weekend!” read Pretty Lights’ Facebook status earlier in the week. Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, is a man of his word. Smith appeared with a new stage setup that is about twice the size of his previous (and already impressive) display. Pretty Lights is now performing without a drummer and only Smith present atop a stack and background of lights that faithfully lives up to the artist’s moniker. The crowd mustered up every last bit of energy it had and did not stop moving throughout the entire set. Pretty Lights proved why he is one of the most exciting acts in electronic music today as he blazed through mixes of Pink Floyd’s “Time”, Kanye’s “All of the Lights”, and a new mashup of tracks by Nirvana, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails.
The set was also heavy on old crowd favorites such as the banger “MoreImportantThanMichaelJordan” and the relaxing “TheTimeHasCome”. When it struck midnight Smith was sure to let crowd know and wish them “Happy 4th of July and shit”. At this point I looked around and thought about everything I had experienced over the weekend. I had a moment where I was sincerely thankful to live in a country where an event such as this can take place. As the set came to a close “HotLikeSauce” managed to electrify the crowd one last time.
Until next year Electric Forest… A big thank you to Megan McFann from Madison House and everyone at Electric Forest for making this possible!