[Additional Photography from Chad Smith]
The third part of our 2012 Electric Forest Festival coverage is a wrap-up piece. It doesn’t feel right to leave this festival at the chronological story; this festival is far too fun for that. It deserves a little more analysis and documentation than other festivals. Part of this is selfish: I’ve seen this festival change over four editions and I plan to see many, many more, so I’d like to document the changes and really see how it grows over a decade or so.
It shouldn’t even be possible. It’s really not even fair to other festivals. There’s just no way they could keep topping themselves with Sherwood Forest — last year was insane. But the most uniquely magical festival grounds got even crazier this year. From year one with Rothbury until now, the transformation the forest has undergone is remarkable. There were more elements than ever, with a new clock tower and a “Sollun” that was a new sorta ‘secret’ music area. But nearly everything was enhanced. There seemed to be more of every traditional element, and the stretch fabric featured their boldest designs yet. Even if they just maintain this level of excellence next year, it will be a brilliant accomplishment. Though something tells me it’s going to be even more amazing.
It can’t be understated how much sound issues and generally weak volume can impact your enjoyment of a music festival. At Electric Forest, this is never an issue. The Michigan air might have something to do with it — especially at night when the temperature drops — but there’s no question that the sound quality at Electric Forest is absolutely top shelf. I didn’t hear a single soundboard flub or glitch, the sound was always perfectly crisp, and somehow it was always perfectly loud whether I was in the photo pit or out in the crowd. And it was like this at every stage, all the time. There’s no one thing that points to how they pull off perfect sound, but it definitely contributes to the magic of EFF.
Speaking of the magic of EFF, this year the performance art was strengthened noticeably. Not only was the Forest Stage owned by Quixotic (who should get a lot more time in the future), there was even more strange eye candy floating around the grounds than ever. Stilt walkers, and people in giant animal costumes, and mimes, and the Quixotic girls, and the Vau de Vire troupe, and and and… It seemed like there was something odd every corner, something that would make you smile when you weren’t expecting it. Other festivals have some of this stuff, but none with the diversity and sheer amount of EFF.
Go to the next page for Electric Forest’s downward trends