Attending Electric Forest in 2015 was the one festival I knew the most friends and associates going. My group was in Good Life (VIP) and we had 10+ people in our camp. There were four RVs full of friends in the RV section, and numerous other in GA camping. The friend lineup was completely stacked on top of a really good music lineup. Electric Forest was the main festival I was making a point to attend in 2015.
Once known as Rothbury Festival, Electric Forest is a four-day event (now eight because they opened to two weekends) that is held in Rothbury Michigan. The year I went pulled in an estimated of 45,000 attendees. Apparently, in 2015 they opened the gates to 5,000 more people. The festival main headliners are String Cheese (it’s their festival) and now Bassnectar. It’s famous for it’s well decorated and enchanted forest in the middle of the festival grounds.
I was told this year was a bit different as many yearly attendees said it felt more commercialized. The fact they opened the gates to 5,000 more people made it feel more cramped. Since I was in Good Life, I didn’t really notice much.
Upon walking into the venue, a certain kind of enchantment definitely takes a hold of you. Everyone is in a good mood and the forest has a slightly magical feel to it. 45,000 is indeed a lot of people, but I never felt too crowded no matter where I was. The grounds were pretty open and each section of the festival was well curated.
For the most part, the crowd was absolutely amazing. People there tend to take care of each other. Maybe it was because I was in Good Life, but I felt much safer about our camp. Usually, festivals have a ton of people coming through your camp trying to sell you things, which is a big hassle in my opinion. Our camp barely had any randoms come through trying to sell us anything. The only time the crowd was a bit much to handle was when Bassnectar played, but any festival goer ca>n tell you that his fan base is infamous for being terrible.
I did notice when going to general admission, they had a really LONG line to get into the grounds. I heard it took people several hours to get in at times. Also, when trying to use some of the bathrooms out there, I would decide just to wait because of how gross they were. So GA had it pretty bad from what I saw.
I barely knew half the group I was camping with, but by the end of the festival, these became some of my closest friends I still talk to years later. Overall I don’t think my camp could have gotten too much better. Everyone helped pitch in and we created an awesome communal area to lounge and relax.As part of Good Life, every night you got to experience after parties in your camp that were pretty good. The festival would end early morning hours then there would be after parties in Good Life that went to pretty much sun rise.
The last day was what really made this festival for me. My friends who had the RVs in a courtyard had the closing headliner play on top of their RV after the festival grounds shut down. Big Gigantic was the headliner to close out the festival and several hours after they played inside the venue, they played on top of my friends RV. What an amazing way to close out the festival.
Favorite Sets: Favorite artists I saw in no particular order (even though this was really hard to do).
- Claude Von Stroke – was one of my favorite sets. It was the first time I saw him in a huge festival environment.
- Gramatik – one of my favorite artists so I’m a bit biased.
- SNBRN – had one of the best sunset sets I’ve witnessed.
- Goldfish – an international act from South Africa, was my first time watching them.
- EOTO – if you have never seen these guys live, 10/10 must see.
- Lindsay Sterling – is a violinist who plays her music over heavy electronic music. Was absolutely mind blown at how well this actually was live.
If you can afford to do Electric Forest as VIP then I would go, if not, I don’t feel like its worth it. From what I saw and the complaints from people in GA, I would not attend the festival as GA. Also, I feel the price point for Good Life is very steep compared to a GA ticket.