For the second year in a row, I returned to Rothbury, Michigan for Electric Forest, and it was even more incredible than last year. While Electric Forest is known for its interactive art installations and roaming performers, it’s often overlooked that the festival continuously has one of the most stacked yet diverse lineups of current festivals out there. Every set I saw at weekend two of Electric Forest this year was spectacular; however, here are the five sets that stood out to me the most.
Jody Litvack’s Cosmic Disco Fire was the first performance my friends and I saw, and it was one of our favorites. We discovered Jody Litvack by entering the Hangar to seek shade. Once under the tent, we followed the sound of his voice to the back, through a curtain, and into the Carousel Club, a new Electric Forest stage. Walking into the Carousel Club and into Jody Litvack’s Cosmic Disco Fire was like stepping back in time into the late ’60s and ’70s funk and disco era. There were multiple disco balls adorning the ceiling, the music being played included straight funk and disco jams, and everyone was movin’ to the groovin’.
I first discovered Hayden James about a month before Electric Forest because of ODESZA’s remix of his track “Something About You.” After finding out he was on the lineup, I explored his library, listening to several of his mixes and original tracks and while they were great, they did not adequately prepare me for his set. From the moment Hayden James stepped on stage, he commanded the entire crowd with his sophisticated stage presence and captivating beats and set the tone for an entire weekend of amazing musical performances.
In 2011, The String Cheese Incident hosted Electric Forest for the first time, headlining three of the four nights of the festival. Since then, they’ve headlined every year, playing multiple sets each year. This year, they played two of the four nights of Weekend Two, performing over six hours throughout the weekend. Their second set, which was on Saturday, was the best of all the times I’ve seen them. Their energy was electric, the setlist they played was impressive, and the crowd was undoubtedly loving it the entire time. Additionally, towards the end of their set, they brought out over 50 drones for a drone performance, where the drones lit up different colors and moved throughout different patterns in the sky to match the music. Although I’ve seen videos of drone performances, I never thought I would get to experience it myself, and words can’t describe how amazing it was to be there in that moment with the String Cheese Incident.
After briefly being evacuated on the final day of Electric Forest, the festival was reopened just in time for Buku’s set. Performing at Tripolee, which is located right next to the festival entrance, Buku provided both entertainment for attendees waiting to go through the security line and a warm welcome to those who had made it back through into the festival. Although my friends and I were planning on catching the end of the Boogie T.Rio, we ended up staying until the end of Buku, and having a great time doing so.
My favorite set of the entire weekend was that of Honeycomb. After seeing a video of him performing during Weekend One, I knew I had to catch one of his sets Weekend Two. Thursday night, my friends and I ventured to the Grand Artique at the Trading Post for his set, and were completely blown away. Gable Johnson III, aka Honeycomb, is an extremely talented vocal chord conductor, otherwise known as beatboxer, based out of Massachusetts. Since placing 13th in the 2015 American Beatbox Championship, Honeycomb has been hitting festivals around the United States, including Electric Forest in past years, showcasing his talents and making a name for himself in the music scene, and he did just that at Electric Forest this year. Having collaborated with Space Jesus, Liquid Stranger, Esseks and more, Honeycomb provides a fresh, unique, and live element of the bass music fans have come to know and love.
Overall, Weekend Two of Electric Forest was a huge success. The interactive art installations, roaming performers and stellar music performances combined to create a remarkable experience, proving that Electric Forest’s goal is to not have attendees but to create a lasting and loving forest family.