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Electric Forest Festival, Day 4

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Continued from Electric Forest Festival, Day 3.

The fourth day of The Electric Forest was every bit as active and bubbly as the first three. The final day of a festival typically begins with a rude awakening as neighbors tear down tents and pack their cars at the first glimmer of the sun’s morning rays. I’ve been there myself, ready to throw in the towel after a draining weekend of heat and sleep deprivation or when faced with an 11-hour drive home from Arkansas. But The Electric Forest was different, and apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

I saw very little packing activity in the morning, noticed no increase in vehicle traffic along the main road our home base was on, and saw few holes in the sea of tents that filled the campgrounds- even as the sun began to set later that evening. I remembered walking home Saturday night after being pulverized by Skrillex and his nasty beats. Like a little girl, I begged my camp partner to stay one more day and night. “I’m not ready to go home yet! I want one more night to play in the woods!”

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros fans

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros was a highly attended and particularly jovial set. The sheer size of the band created a feeling of excitement, as well as continual engagement with the fans. Front man Alex Ebert was active, frequently hopping to the ground to lean against the audience. “Hey, man. That’s illegal. That’s great,” he commended a front row pot-smoker on his choice of drugs. Ebert and his colossal crew fit in with the ripe crowd of festival-goers too, all looking as if they’d just spent four days camping with no shower like the rest of us.

They introduced and played a lot of new songs, but the undeniable high point was their world-famous “Home”. Nearing the set’s end, Ebert asked everyone to sit down and relax for a moment, and there wasn’t a body in sight that didn’t oblige. As Ebert sat himself down amongst the crowd to sing, a light, but very noticeable, breeze swept across the field every few minutes carrying the aroma of incense and cooling off bodies. Packed tightly on the ground amongst my stranger-neighbors, it was a unifying and notable moment in the final day’s festivities.

Pimps of Joytime

For whatever reason, The Pimps of Joytime attracted a smaller crowd than expected. Perhaps all of the String Cheese fans were at their home base preparing for the act’s final performance of the weekend instead of getting funky with the Brookyln five-piece. Regulars in the festival circuit, the eclectic group meddles in blues and rock, but appears to be strongly rooted in funk and soul. As the band’s leader introduced a new track, he explained, “We convene in Brooklyn; that’s where we live. But we travel all over the country. This next song was inspired by many trips to New Orleans.” Wild screeches and screams escaped the mouth of vocalist/percussionist Mayteana Morales. The band’s only female member, Morales also played electronic samples, giving the traditionally funky band a certain edge over others.

Mayteana Morales, Pimps of Joytime

Pretty Lights played The Electric Forest’s largest stage (The Ranch Stage) on Sunday night, perhaps another reason the festival-goers never tore down and packed up to go home early. The field was full and bursting with energy as flashing, white light lit up faces, beats were continuously dropped, and ragers soaked up the last hours of their time at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, MI.

Pretty Lights played well past the scheduled end of the set, my excuse for missing the last half of EOTO on The Tripolee stage. Instead, we (meaning, everyone at the festival) migrated to the woods for one last hurrah. The place was buzzing with activity, sights, and sounds in the wake of the weekend’s closing sets. Attempting a final meet-up with some friends, I received a text message that read, “We are in the forest by the white light-up pyramid where people are making beats. Follow the music.”

A few phone camera photos from my last hour in the Sherwood Forest:

The light-up pyramid
  • The light-up pyramid

Somewhere inside of The Electric Forest
  • Somewhere inside of The Electric Forest

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In my third year of attending major music festivals (including two Bonnaroo’s and one each of Summer Camp, All Good, and Wakarusa), I have never quite experienced something like The Electric Forest. No other event puts as much energy into cultivating a truly unique experience as the organizers of this event. At The Electric Forest, you’re not just going to see bands and hear music. You’re going to be transported to a magical land where it’s okay to let your freak flag fly and where you can safely step into an altered state of perception to tease your mind with stimulating sights, sounds, and lights.

It's not often that I make this decision a whole year in advance, but I can’t wait to see what The Electric Forest has to offer in 2012.

Danielle covers local music for NUVO.net and IndyMojo.com.

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