The time has come once again for another edition of Electric Forest in Rothbury, Michigan. Over the course of the last three years the event has become one of the most talked about and highly regarded festivals nationally and beyond. Interest has finally matched the hype with passes selling out for the first time ever almost a month before the gates open.
Despite the excitement that built throughout the last year amongst the dedicated fan base there were reasons for Forest dwellers to be anxious about the future. Unfounded rumors that The String Cheese Incident would not be returning spread like wildfire. Fortunately, the band that has been such an integral part in the development of Electric Forest’s identity is returning to headline three nights once again. Even more disconcerting news arose in the early months of the year when reports of corporate wrangling over the ownership of the festival site Double JJ Ranch seemed to put this year’s festival in jeopardy. The tactics were at best underhanded and to this point have been unsuccessful.
With only a few short days between now and Electric Forest 2014 it is time to put the drama out of mind and prepare to escape the real world for four days. This year’s lineup is arguably the festival’s best yet. Organizers, artists, and production crew have been working since last year to top themselves and create an environment unlike any else. Here are ten reasons to look forward to spending four days roaming the Sherwood Forest, five being musical acts and five being part of the broader experience.
Four piece group Zoogma have been making waves the last couple of year’s with their relentless touring. Their high energy shows combine elements of a DJ set with the energy of a full rock band. With their live electronic originals and ability to make covers all their own this is a show not to miss. Be sure to keep your eye on Matt Harris, one of the music scene’s most engaging live drummers.
Australian singer and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd is one of the most welcomed names on this year’s lineup. Despite recording and touring for the past decade Rudd has not shown up on enough festival bills in recent years. His wide-ranging talent will go over well with fans new and old at the Forest as he jumps back and forth between vocals, didgeridoo, guitar, harmonica, and more to create his feel good folk ballads.
Canadian tech house duo Art Department will fit right in at Electric Forest with their soothing grooves. Both Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White had lengthy and respected solo careers prior to the formation of Art Department, but it has been the last few years together that they have really been turning heads. They caused a minor controversy earlier this year when they criticized big name DJs Laidback Luke and Steve Aoki for what they considered to be disingenuous performances. Let’s hope to see them back up their talk and put on a show to remember.
Indie rock group Moon Taxi released their latest and best album yet with last fall’s Mountains, Beaches, and Cities. The album features the rocker “The New Black” as well as the upbeat “Morocco”. With catchy lyrics, heavy rock breakdowns, and tinges of electronic production throughout, their sound is a winning combination of styles. Frontman Trevor Terndrup will do everything in his power to have you dancing and singing along throughout their set.
Organizers made a very wise decision by closing out the weekend festivities with Cut Copy. The five piece indie dance group puts on one of the most ecstatic performances of any genre. Expect plenty of tracks from last year’s excellent Free Your Mind (a very fitting title for Electric Forest) and hope for old favorites such as “Hearts On Fire”. It’s going to be a long weekend (that will end up feeling all too short), but make sure to leave one final burst of energy in the tank for this show.
Kyle Hollingsworth’s BrewRu Experience
When he’s not going wild on the keys as part of The String Cheese Incident Kyle Hollingsworth likes to spend his time brewing the nectar of the gods, AKA beer. On Saturday at 2pm you can join Kyle as he hosts a panel of brewing enthusiasts to share their passion for beer and its creation. Whether you’re a seasoned brewer or curious about how to get started this panel is the place to be for any beer lover.
Gold Rush Water Park
When waking up after long days of dancing in the sun it can be more than a chore to get motivated to do it all over again. Enter the Gold Rush Water Park, the most refreshing way to start a day at a summer music festival. For $20 you get an air conditioned shuttle to and from the park (a less than 10 minute ride), access to multiple water slides, a lazy river, and hot tub, as well as a shower and towel.
If water slides aren’t your thing or you don’t feel like shelling out extra cash, then refresh your body and mind with daily yoga sessions. Sessions will be hosted on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on the Tripolee stage by experienced yogi Hannah Muse. Stop by before the music starts for classes that will explore several aspects of the wide world of yoga.
Psychedelic Friendship Bingo
New to Electric Forest this year, Psychedelic Friendship Bingo will bring fun and games to the Sherwood Forest this year. Stop by the Observatory Stage where three games will be hosted every night of the festival. Expect prizes, special guests, and a whole lot of fun.
Wally Wojack is the true steward of the Double JJ Ranch, carrying on the tradition of hosting guests at the beautiful ranch just as he has for several decades. If you see a vibrantly dressed cowboy perusing the grounds on a four wheeler be sure to stop and say hello. If you’re lucky you’ll get a story or two about the good ole days of when the ranch was a retreat for young singles. Remember, it’s pronounced like you were riding a horse named Jack and you have to yell “WHOA JACK!”.