While my dancing feet are still recovering from the inaugural Spring Awakening Music Festival, it’s time to put recovery aside and get ready for the highly anticipated Electric Forest. Previously regarded by seasoned festies as Rothbury, the festival takes place in Rothbury, Michigan and will be thrown under the Electric Forest name for the second year in a row by our favorite experience creator Insomniac and their partner Madison House Presents.
Having attended Insomniac created events such as the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas I know to expect the top shelf crème de la crème in festival organization, production, talent, and an all around good vibe. However, being a newbie to this event I felt I needed to compile a guide for others like myself to prepare us for the magical journey we are about to embark on. So I reached out to seasoned Electric Forest vets and used my own past festival experiences to compile a complete Electric Forest Survival Guide.
Do Take it Easy on the Neon. We are in the forest. Wear some earthy tones and be one with nature. The “I’m going to listen to electronic music therefore I must wear the brightest outfit possible” fad is done. I know, I’m sad, I like my electric pink tank as much as the next bro, but leave it at home.
Do Prepare for the Weather. The algorithim is pretty simple. It is typically hot during the day and cools down drastically at night. Therefore a wardrobe change is necessary in order to stay comfortable. Ladies- maxi skirts are back in style and perfect for staying cool and breezy in the day while doubling up as a blanket in the evening. As they are all the rage right now, they are easy to find in all colors and styles in all your favorite stores. PLUS they take up hardly any room in your bag-Embrace them. Gentleman- Bring Pants.
Do Prepare for the Weather Part Deux. So important it had to be mentioned again. If there is anything we can learn from our friends across the pond at Glastonbury 2005 it’s that “When it rains it pours” Bring a poncho, you have nothing to lose. If you are in the market for some new kicks, a sweet pair of rainboots is never a bad idea. Gentleman- Embrace your inner lumberjack with some chic Hunter Boots you will look super dapper rocking them with your favorite thermal. Trust me. Ladies- Nothing is off limits when it comes to rain boots. Have fun with them. Mine are emblazoned with pink cupcakes as to brighten up those dreary rainy days and look super adorable with a pair of frayed shorts.
Do Express Yo Self! No, I do not mean Diplo’s newest twerk sensation. I like to think festival fashion is the ultimate expression of art on our bodies. I love to see the quirky outfits people assemble (as long as they are not neon head to toe Cough Cough: unoriginal) and am very much looking forward to seeing the forest community let their freak flags fly. Nothing is off limits. In fact, it is probably the only acceptable place to rock your spirit hood these days so get your animal on. Become a fairy. Start your own tribe and pick up some of this great war paint our festie loving friends at Free People created.
Do Bring a Pillow. Leave the Sleeping Bag. I didn’t think it needed to be mentioned, but our very own Andy Viana forgot to bring a pillow last year and was not a happy camper. I have also been told that sleeping bags become unbearable sweat traps in the morning hours when the sun decides your tent should turn into a sauna. Blankets and breathable fabrics let you get a couple extra minutes of uninterrupted sleep, maybe.
Don’t Hesitate to bring ear plugs or a sleep mask. Call me high maintenance, but any extra minutes of uninterrupted REM cycles I can indulge in make me all the better rager the next day. If you are a light sleeper bring some earplugs as people tend to run amuck at all hours of the night. If you feel like being a real princess bring a sleep mask, it will allow you to at least pretend it is dark while trying to fall asleep after you have already watched the sun rise.
Don’t Bring a Noisy Generator. Unless you want to be friendless and have the rest of the camp shoot you dirty looks the entire weekend, leave it at home. I have been told by numerous people this is a key piece of advice. We are camping. Embrace the experience. Pretend you are a pilgrim and ditch the electronics. You’ll be surprised how glorious 4 days off the grid can feel.
Do Bring Sunscreen and slather it on like it’s your job. I don’t care how sexy you think that bronze skin looks right now you will look like a disgusting shrivley raisin later in life and protecting your babyface is essential. I don’t know about you but I want to be able to attend festivals later in life and trick the youngsters with my youthful looks rather be dubbed that “wrinkly old grandma getting down to dubstep”
Do Drink Lots and Lots and Lots of Water. This shouldn’t need to be said, but there is a reason we have been hearing it our whole lives. Dehydration is dangerous and takes the fun out of your experience. Help your body out a bit by aiding in it’s detox and chug water like it’s your job. It’s summer. It’s hot. Get yourself a nice eco friendly 1L Sigg and fill it up at least twice a day.
Do Pack lots and lots of fresh fruit. I have become a huge advocate of fresh fruit at festivals and have come to see what a hot commodity they can be (Dude selling oranges for $10 a piece at EDC) When water gets boring there is nothing better than biting into a big juicy watermelon or throwing a handful of squishy grapes in your mouth.
Don’t Make out with Trees. If there is one thing we can take away from the Ultra Music Festival in Miami it’s that it’s possible for people to take the “Tree Hugger” thing to a whooooleeee other level. While that birchwood might be looking like a hunky Bradley Cooper or smoking Kate Upton today, remember it will not look like that tomorrow…or ever again for that matter.
Don’t Assume the entire campsite thinks your music is awesome. While you might be a HUGE fan of Carly Rae Jepsens “Call Me Maybe,” a majority of the world isn’t. There is nothing more annoying than the camper next to you assuming their beats are loved by all and blasting them at the most inopportune times of the day. Save the sing-a-longs for the road trip and be respectful of your neighbors- Please and Thank You.
Above is the official EF map for the 2012 season. You’ll notice it looks very similar to last years with minimal changes. One of the biggest and best changes they’ve made this year: adding a ferris wheel by the Tripolee Stage. Now you’ll be able to see EF in all its glory from the point of view of a bird – well almost. Be sure to take the time out of your day to catch a ride and snap a few pictures because these will inevitably be some of the best shots you’ll get during the weekend. Everything else on the map is pretty self explanatory.
For more information see the links below: