Take this trending down stuff with a grain of salt. This festival, overall, was about a 50 to 1 ratio of awesome to irksome. A lot of this stuff sticks out to me because I still compare this festival to where it began with Rothbury in 2008. And I don’t think that will ever change.
It was like the god of fences rained fury down on Double JJ Ranch. New this year was a slew of narrow fenced corridors that were the only way to travel from the main entrance to Ranch Arena. Gone was the feeling of stumbling into music as you made your way in; you had a destination and a path to get there. The available area in the front part of the grounds (between the entrance and Ranch Arena) was reduced for average GA festivalgoers by like 40-50%. It’s not that the new layout was terrible or anything, just condensed from what it had been in the past. It will be interesting to see if they further limit free space next year.
Speaking of the maze of fences, the Wagon Wheel area was a prominent victim. Starting last year, you could no longer wander up to the backside of the building, but this year just getting to the front of it was confusing. It was another long series of fenced paths to get there and now there was only one way to enter the building where there used to be three. This place was stripped of its charm and turned into a sweaty box with only one way out. I intended to see a few sets in here, but after the unbearably hot conditions of Wyllys’ set (which was still awesome) I never went back in there. This whole area felt very marginalized this year, which makes me wonder if it will get further squeezed out and eliminated altogether next year. It honestly might not be a bad idea… especially considering that the Sollun proved there is plenty of room for a second legitimate stage in Sherwood Forest.
It’s time for the truth: RFID wristbands have absolutely ZERO redeeming qualities for festival attendees. This slick little modification to festival life began this year and it’s clear that they’re superfluous and only benefit festival organizers, to a presently unknown degree. It just feels like yet another way that our lives are monitored more closely by some entity looming just over our heads. One way it really hampered the festival experience at EFF was the ridiculous bottleneck it caused at the main entrance. With there being 20,000 people trying to enter within a few hours, there’s no excuse for not having more entry lines. Especially considering how water tight the gate now seemed to be. There’s no good reason for entry to take 30-40 minutes, even at 9:30pm. There should be twice as many scanners next year.
Go to the next page for the Top 5 Sets of Electric Forest