Everywhere you look at Electric Forest, you’ll find faces filled with joy and delirious characters dressed to impress. Here are 25 of my favorite photos of Forest Fam in their element exuding marvelously magical vibes.
I had seen Cassie here posting in Facebook EF groups for months. On Thursday, she was the first person I recognized in the Forest, and I finally got to admire her breathtaking, award-winning Tattoo-of-the-Year in person.
SNBRN spun Thursday’s early crowd into freewheeling grooves with his “sunset house” sound. This dancer flowed gracefully with her ribbon hand fans, signaling the back half of the audience to get up and groove through her entrancing movements.
As I walked into the inviting, living-room-like new stage The Honeycomb (replacing the fan-favorite Forest Stage), I was delighted by the ginger personage of Katie, one of my coolest friends from my hometown of Kansas City, MO, standing radiant in the sunlight streaming through the tree cover.
The kooky musical duo Handmade Moments entertained laidback wanderers with a set each day at The Honeycomb, playing pleasing, indie-folk bluegrass tunes while spouting silly commentary and bawdy comedy bits between songs.
Matthew the mailman operated the functional post office in the back of the Trading Post during the daytime, where you could write a postcard to yourself or other attendees. He gave me crucial instructions Wednesday on where to pick up my media band after I arrived at the wrong box office, ultimately saving my friends and me from hours of unnecessary line-waiting. I chatted with him a half-dozen times throughout the weekend and found the perfect representation of the spirit of Electric Forest in his genuine kindness, captivating charisma and his engaging installation’s interactivity.
Amongst the various costumed character performers at Forest, the Boops easily take the cake for entertainment value. Here they snuck around like goofy little kids toward unsuspecting hammock-dwellers and bystanders intently watching their childlike game. They would either individually tiptoe or collectively huddle up and zip toward their targets to *boop* them on the head with a leaf attached to their noise-twirlers, then giggle in Pig Latin/Ewok-like gibberish and go to the next person.
Jen and I found the subversively bonkers street performer Matthew Silver and embraced his whack-a-doodle-doo comedy style with open arms. This man is a treasure, thus Jen bestowed him with one of her vintage diamond rings in appreciation.
During Friday’s animal party (the most fun of the themed Chapel parties I attended), all manner of species from across the animal kingdom showed up, and a record 19 creatures stacked on top of each other in a
human animal pyramid.
Joey (aka Astroboy) and I became friends and realized we’re soul brothers at the Camp EDC Las Vegas parties in May. A week before Electric Forest, he decided to do whatever it would take to attend for his first time, and manifested a ticket and ride across the country less than two days before EF. He and I recognized each other’s light-up suits from a distance and had a righteous reunion Friday and Saturday nights at The Hangar/Carousel Club.
I really stumbled down the rabbit hole in Carousel Club at Jellybean Benitez‘s disco house set. Zack ZMadMasker makes and sells incredible EL wire outfits and custom apparel, which I discovered upon talking to him while witnessing the jaw-dropping, flashy-glowing glory of his Mad Hatter top hat and Cheshire Cat mask.
My first superhero encounter in the Forest was with this badass Black Panther. Clearly electroluminescent/LED power outshines Vibranium. I was in my LED-charged Doctor StrangeLamb outfit and as luck would have it, we reconvened on the way to Black Tiger Sex Machine (an essential set for Black Panther, obviously). We formed a superhero squad with a Catwoman, Green Lantern, Deadpool and Thor (whose hammer was an infinity mirror totem) to demolish the dancefloor. Hands down my favorite meeting of the weekend!
The Banyan Family House was an interactive, hour-long, poetic and theatrical storytelling experience navigating through the rooms of seven different animal people. Each group of 20 had to work together to unravel the family’s history and solve puzzles. After completing Grandma Turu’s (snakehead) challenge, Fuzzy (doghead) takes everyone through the fireplace into a room entirely lined with furry walls, where he speaks a made-up language and teaches the group to sing a fun song one line at a time. Beyond the aesthetic bliss here, his section proves most enjoyable for the universal humor from the silly sounds of the language and song, understandable communication without English words, and the surreal situation with this idiosyncratic, polite, Japanese-accented character.
This festivalgoer’s “Rick and Morty” ensemble was among the most innovative and unique outfits I saw at Electric Forest, with different variations and themes each day (Sunday featured the show’s icons as “Dragon Ball Z” characters). He implemented all sorts of light-up gear and toys into it and created a hilarious, awesome crown of “Rick and Morty” stickers to top it off. Especially impressive was the creativity and detailed commitment to its craft, considering his background in this kind of realm included only one festival and an anime convention.
While wandering Sherwood Forest with my new friends Joey and Nia Sunday night, I finally came across one of my favorite returning totems: the LED dragon Funky Fred.
Why were these two bubble-spewing stage dancers wearing giant loofah dresses? Because a foam cannon was blasting suds throughout Carousel Club during the final night’s secret closing set ( A Tribe Called Sophistafunk – ’90s Hip Hop Tribute).
Walking out of the secret set, I ran into a boisterous couple from my Banyan group who, true to Ash Ketchum and Pikachu form, were catching all the cool experiences and hidden magic of Electric Forest that they could before its conclusion. I led their crew to the art-lined chill-out hut on our way to finish out at the adjacent Honeycomb with the ethereal ascension music of Sorne.