Electric Forest 2017: Returning Home For Weekend 1

Between the exhaustion of working extra hours to save up the money, the stress of getting tickets, the anxiousness of waiting months, and the excitement of getting their wristband in the mail, thousands of people from all across the world felt the relief and happiness of arriving at Electric Forest!

I have gone to Electric Forest for the past three years. After an expansion of the festival to two weekends, many felt as if it took away from the “forest feels”. I’m sure some people who have gone previously can relate. I went the first weekend mainly because it’s the “O.G.” weekend and I liked that lineup better.

When arriving at EF Wednesday night, I was aware it was going to rain but was not aware that it was going to be a muddy tsunami. (Of course weekend 2 looked like they got hit worse than us.) I kept waking up in the middle of the night to lightning, thunder, and the rain. I woke up on that Thursday, excited that it was the first official day, but I didn’t hit me that I was actually there yet. It’s as if the rain washed away my feeling of being there.

After walking inside and through the Forest, I still had no moment of feeling “home“. Rain on Thursday prevented me, along with many others, from seeing the sets they wanted to see. However as night came and the lights in the Forest began to shine, the rain started to slow down and people began to move about. At the first sign of no rain, I ran inside to see Above & Beyond and couldn’t have asked for a better moment that day. Everyone around us was so into the set, singing, smiling, and dancing. The feels were real. You know what I’m talking about when there’s THAT ONE set that EVERYONE is vibing to and you all feel each others energy. Halfway through the set, the rain began to downpour. Ironically, they dropped their song, “Sun & Moon”, and the first lyrics of the song are, “It’s raining, it’s pouring“. And that’s when it hit me, I was home.

The Trading Post in Sherwood Forest © Ethan J. Rivera

After their set, I went to explore the Forest, not even caring that it was raining a bit. Until it came down harder and my boyfriend and I went into the Chapel. It was so mesmerizing because these people were up on this stage just completely letting themselves go and dancing in so many different ways. They even started letting people come up on stage to bust out some rad moves.

Waking up Friday, my excitement was beyond the clouds. Friday was hands down my favorite day. I was surrounded by some of my closest friends and people I have spent the previous Forests with. Some of our group members lost their Gong Bath virginity and we saw some really great sets. It was all I could have wanted. My favorite set of Friday was of course Odesza, but Big Wild and Zomboy are never a disappointment.

This was the first year I went and didn’t really touch my phone at all. I have been so caught up on getting “the best pictures”, “the sickest drops”, and “the coolest videos”, when I didn’t even realize how much I was missing in front of me. Don’t get me wrong, I usually wasn’t on my phone previous years, but this was the first year I took about 60 photos and videos together. Something about this year just made me edge off from technology and media and focus a bit more on what is in front of me. The older I get, the more I realize how much I am missing out on, especially right in front of me.

Fairy door hidden in Sherwood Forest © Mark Reddington Photography

Scattered around the Forest and hidden in little nooks and crannies, fairy doors uncovered hidden messages, presents, and beautiful art. If you pay close attention, so many little things in the Forest move around each day. A plethora of characters walked around Sherwood Forest telling stories, giving gifts, acting, and making the attendees of the Forest part of a story. If anyone was lucky enough to catch the Time Travelers before they went back to their time, you knew every moment counted. They asked what was one of the greatest times I had had in Electric Forest, but before I could even answer, they became more interested and mesmerized in my colored circles (hula hoops), and asked if I could demonstrate what they do. To say the least I blew them away with my moves and tricks in amazement back to their time.

Every year, if it’s not too packed, you can go into the treehouse and look at the signatures and messages from the past souls of Electric Forest written inside on the wood. It is so amazing to go back and find your name there after a couple of years and also read everyone’s comments in there too. It is also the perfect spot to peek your head out the window and just take a breath, relax, and explore from above.

Electric Forest will forever hold this special place in my heart; it will forever be Home. The second you approach, you get overjoyed with everyone saying “Happy Forest!” So many loving, caring, humble, down to earth, and amazing souls there. Every bit, corner, and inch of that place is filled with excitement, adventure, and memories waiting to happen. When you walk around, whether it is just a smile from a stranger, a hug, a high five or a “Happy Forest”, you get this overwhelming feeling of being safe and knowing this is where you belong. Everyone is so accepting of who you are and where you come from, and that’s what makes this community different and a “Forest Family”. This is the reason why I return.

© Ethan J. Rivera

Pictures don’t do justice, and that is 110% true. I could give detail by detail of Electric Forest, record and photograph every inch and second, but that would not do the true effect of the festival. It would not give someone else who has not experienced it the true meaning of home, or the true definition of Electric Forest.

Photo Gallery

Below is the complete Electric Forest 2017 Weekend 1 photo roll.
Facebook Albums: Mark Reddington Photography Album & Ethan James Photography

If you would like to post these photos on social media please credit the respective photographer seen in the watermark in the bottom right hand corner, as these photos are copyrighted.

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