I would say it’s a jungle out here, but I suppose it’s technically a forest. Nonetheless, survival skills are a must if you want to be able to navigate your way through the flashing lights, tripping kids and hoards of half-naked hula hooping girls that compose this psychopsilocybin society in Rothbury, Mich.
Friday marked the first full day of activities at the Forest and began in typical camping-festival fashion: me, jolting awake, drenched in sweat and gasping for oxygen as my sleep muddled mind tries to coax my fingers into unzipping the tent, which has turned into an oven at the first signs of sunlight. I stumble out onto the dusty ground sucking in fresh air. It’s only 9 a.m.
Much of the mornings on the Ranch are spent waiting for shows to start, but campers can entertain themselves with Frisbee golf, afternoon yoga, African drumming lessons and of course the indoor water park you get to on a shuttle for $20. The included free shower makes it almost worth shelling out the dolla’ bills for this final attraction, but I personally have decided to grime it up for another weekend.
The first act of the day that really garnered a crowd was definitely NiT GriT with his unique beats and bass. I got to spend about an hour with him chatting and wandering the grounds, so look for more on this Bay Area performer later this week!
A surprising find at this festival came to me under the cover of trees yesterday, with an acoustic performance by bluegrass quintet, The Infamous Stringdusters. At a festival with “Electric” in its title, you wouldn’t think they have much business being here, but any assumptions of that nature were quickly dashed when they called out during their set, “Who’s heard us before?” and the small crowd at once threw up their hands and catcalled with voracious enthusiasm. Their high-energy, twangy sound catered to those in the String Cheese Incident realm and also to those looking to give their eardrums a break from the constant onslaught of bass reverb.
The Infamous Stringdusters boast all the intensity of any electronic DJ, but they do it with a banjo, fiddle, standup bass, guitar and dobro. The entire ensemble was all smiles and high spirits for their entire set in the woods and certainly got those in attendance moving.
While wandering back in the general direction of my tent, an incredibly danceable version of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” caught my attention and I found myself at Minnesota—no, not the state, the performer. Interestingly enough he does not hail from the Midwest, but rather sets his home base in Santa Cruz, Calif. However, this does not mean he didn’t bring forth a little bit of that Minnesota Nice in the form of bass-heavy renditions of crowd pleasers like Notorious B.I.G.’s “Gimme the Loot.” What he lacks in completely original material he makes up for in meticulous build-ups and well-placed drops.
Once night fell on Sherwood Forest things got even more triptastic. It was at this time I stumbled my way back through the trees to satiate my curiosity surrounding Quixotic. It sort of felt like how I would imagine watching “Donnie Darko” on mute while playing Beats Antique in the background and dropping acid would feel like. Quixotic is an ensemble of talented musicians, dancers, fashion designers, composers and more who come together to give the audience a truly all-encompassing sensory experience. If they’re ever in your neck of the woods, Quixotic is certainly worth the trip to see.
I finished out my night (/started my morning?) at Zeds Dead, Datsik and Steve Aoki. The first two acts definitely fall under the grinding, squealing, bass quaking category of dubstep, while Aoki brought forth his standard blend of champagne-spraying, sending-a-girl-crowd-surfing-on-a-giant-raft fanfare. These shows are without a doubt a blast when you’re looking to party, but after seeing some more artsy acts earlier in the day, they were harder put at blowing me away.
A good layer of other peoples’ sweat later and I ended up meandering back to home base in time to pass out before dawn broke and catch some shuteye. I wouldn’t exactly call it beauty sleep since I’m caked in dust, but it does the job so I can bring you more electro updates tomorrow. Stay tuned.