It has reached that time of year again. I was ecstatic in December when I bought my tickets, but was a little sad that I couldn’t find anyone to go with me again. I bought two tickets for the first weekend hoping to be able to drag someone along with me, and in the end I convinced Katrina to go with me. But after further talks, she got her own ticket!! So I went looking for another. I was hoping to bring Dan, but he had too many obligations so in the end I took his son Josh with us. Smaller crew than last year, but I had just as much (if not more) fun than last year.
Again, I had a dilemma with how to present the gratuitous amount of pictures; albeit slightly less than last year, clocking in at 710 pictures/videos. I think because this was no longer my first year, I was a little less shutter-happy. But there were still new things everywhere! It’s amazing how new and familiar everything was this time around. In the end I decided on splitting the picture galleries into art/models, the actual festival and us, and finally fairy houses! Let’s start with the Fairy Houses.
I’m not sure how I didn’t notice these last year. I maybe saw one? I can’t tell if there were more and I was just unobservant, distracted by the flood of new stimuli, or if there were more this year. But this time I took particular interest in them. Most of the houses had a door you could open, where a inspirational message would greet you. Sometimes people would leave little tchotchkes in them for you to take. In general though, the rule at Forest is “leave a thing to take a thing”. There’s tons of places where this is true, not least of which was the giving tree.
The Sherwood court tent area was in a smaller area this year. I have to believe it’s because less people came to weekend 1 (I presume because they wanted to see Marshmello weekend 2). We became pretty close with our awesome VIP Concierge guy, Justin. He was phenomenal, I hope to see him next year. He gave us some great info on when happy hour was, when the gates would be open, and we got some free Yerba Mates he was giving out to people. But no one was really chilling in the concierge tent, so we reaped the benefits.
Thanks to him, we found out about a soft open, and headed in early. Which leads to my next crop of pictures! Lots of art and the models that Electric Forest hires to roam around and interact with the guests. It creates such a wonderful atmosphere. Josh and I went in and got a bunch of pictures with the sculptures while waiting for Katrina to arrive on the shuttle that ferried her from the airport. So let’s talk about things they changed this year, you can always go back to the last post and compare some pictures. The hanger bar had an extension to it that is now the Carousel Club stage. It’s a bit like a lounge but also a circus tent? It’s a really cool place to just hang out and have a drink. Each of the main forest paths through Sherwood forest had new art installations. I loved the hand heart flower sculpture. The entrance to the umbrella pathway (which remains one of my favorite places in forest) had new “guardians”. But all the old art remains in the forest, just in different places which I think is awesome!
There were a lot of scavenger hunts this year! The Hanger offered a “Time Travel Passport” that was a 4 item scavenger hunt which rewarded you with a unique experience, and a pin. The pin let you get into secret areas, like the poetry brothel, the speakeasy, and the captain’s lounge (which I found out from Reddit cause we never got there). There was a storybook in the forest that gave you a few clues to figure out certain fruits so that you could decipher the safe which held some cool stickers and people had left some treasures in there as well.
The Maze art installation had a group puzzle that we stumbled upon near the end of it’s completion. There was an art bar where you could color post cards, stickers, or make wooden pendants to keep. We found a slackline training area, where we tried our hand at slacklining. Overall there was just so many cool things in the forest that I probably didn’t even NOTICE last year!
This year I made it to the BBQ where there was a pool party, free beer, and deliciou food. I discovered, we pretty much have access to that pool any time during the festival. There’s just so much to do and not enough hours in the day. The VIP stage was not beset by torrential downpour as it was last year, so they had a set going the first night!
We were front row for so many shows this year! Galantis, Gryffin (which I insisted on since last time I saw him at Middlelands, I was also front row), and Max to name a few.
The first day we saw:
This is my favorite Gryffin song, and the song I really associate with Forest, because it was on one of the first promotional videos I saw for it.
- Keys N Krates had an amazing set. They had one of the guys doing live scratching. It was really just an amazing set. Highly recommend seeing them live if you can.
- Great Good Fine OK
- and of course Galantis. Whom I basically just follow around the country whenever I can see them, since they don’t tour often and never near Michigan.
While I don’t think their set is anything mind blowing, it’s always consistently good and super fun to dance to. They manage the energy well and of course they bring out their mascot the sea fox to meet everyone!
The second day, we had a little less on our plates and just took it easy. I primarily wanted to see Sam Gellaitry, so we just wandered around and did scavenger hunts or followed Josh & Katrina’s list.
- Sam Gellaitry
- Tried to catch Desert Dwellers but only got the last 5-10 min of their set (which was great, makes me wish we caught more of it)
- Ended up stopping by Dixon’s violin. The forest stage looks crazy with lights (you can see it in the Sam Gellaitry video too)
While I have your attention let’s talk about all the cool light dancing there was. I’m always mesmerized by it:
Saturday was a full plate for everyone but me. So we went around!
- The Glitch Mob we heard from our tent while we were eating some dinner that we brought (Freeze dried food with boiling water is fairly appetizing though not necessarily cheaper than the venue food)
- Zhu we walked by, and at the time I didn’t realize who it was, but I think it was the best set we heard even though we weren’t actively watching him. I mean I took 4 videos!
- MK was a discovery of Katrina’s. It was a lot of fun because we ended up watching part of it from the Ferris Wheel!
- Bassnectar, I thought was kind of boring this year. Maybe it was just fatigue in general though, but I was not as impressed by his set this year
- Silent Disco with Jody Litvack. I finally introduced them to the Silent Disco. They have never been and they loved it! The DJs were great and it was a lot of fun. Jody Litvack was back and he had the awesome brunch music last year, and I love his live DJ sets. So I had to come back and get a picture with him also
- San Holo was probably my biggest disappointment. Of course everyone waited for him to play Light, but overall his set wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be.
The last day we were pretty tuckered out. We made plans to hammock while we waited for Shallou to came on, so we ended up taking a pretty nice nap/reprieve for a couple hours and just listened to everyone from nearby the Forest stage. More importantly, we found our way into the poetry brothel and consorted with a poetry whore where I paid her a few dollars for a piece of original poetry I rather enjoyed.
Set wise we skipped more of early afternoon stuff due to early rain and instead decided to hang out at the VIP concierge where we made some new friends. Also free bloody mary’s since I assume they were trying to get rid of excess stock. We ended up leaving around 12:30 since Katrina had to catch a flight at 5 AM, so we made it to the airport at 3:30AM by the time we got back.
- Stopped by to see Elohim
- Rufus Du Sol #2
- and caught a very small smidgen of Louis the Child’s set before we had to head out
- Discovered a new artist at the Silent Disco named Subfer that was GREAT! He was a cool dude, and his music was exceptional. We got a picture with him and I followed him on a few platforms to see what new music he puts out in the future.
Overall an even crazier weekend than last year I feel. It was so much fun, even with only 3 of us vs the 6 we had last year. I can’t even wait until next year. I leave you with this crazy video of some people with Isis Wings that were at the Silent Disco as viewed through my diffraction glasses.
2019 Forest Fam, here I come!