Set List Bonus: Electric Forest Festival
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Jenna Goode
"Happy Forest!" welcomed an enthusiastic festival attendee as I entered the gates of the Electric Forest festival on June 27. This was a phrase that I heard throughout my four days in the Sherwood Forest in Rothbury, Mich. The camping festival is truly unique from others, mainly because of its positive vibe, where well-wishing and looking out for one another are the norm. The glowing forest in the evening might also be a factor.
Walking through the Double JJ Ranch where the event is held, I looked around and saw a vast array of people, from hippies and candy kids to babies and baby boomers. This diversity was reflected in the festival's lineup as well as headliners such as bluegrass jam band the String Cheese Incident and electronica artist Pretty Lights. Other headliners during the weekend included indie electronic outfit Passion Pit [link to set list], and electro pop/glam duo Empire Of The Sun.
Before the festival, I did not know who the String Cheese Incident was, but after seeing them play a three-and-a-half-hour long set on June 29, I now count myself a "Cheesehead." The band played the first half of their set at 6:30 p.m. at the Ranch Arena, just outside the forest. The set was mostly bluegrass music, and many people were contra dancing in large groups with both friends and strangers. Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic even came onstage to join the band for a few songs.
As the sun was setting, String Cheese Incident transitioned into their more electronic, funky music. The band's first drop in their song "Desert Dawn" put the crowd into a dancing frenzy. Moments later, giant inflatable glowing cubes bounced over the crowd toward the stage while fireworks exploded behind the trees. The audience loved it, and howled like wolves to show their appreciation.
Pretty Lights was headlining on June 30, and one could guess this just by walking around the festival. While walking through the forest, I saw numerous handmade totems sporting the Pretty Lights logo along with fans donning unique Pretty Lights merchandise as they enjoyed themselves in the "adult playground" that is Sherwood Forest.
As I stood in the crowd waiting for Pretty Lights to come onstage, the audience buzzed with excitement and speculation about what songs he would play or if any special guests would be joining him. The stadium went into a roar when the lights blazed and Pretty Lights (aka Derek Vincent Smith) took the stage. Pretty Lights' set lived up to his stage name with a vast display of lighting styles and colors, customized to each song. He played the classics along with a few from his upcoming album, A Color Map Of The Sun.
My personal favorite of the new songs was "Yellow Bird," which he said was dedicated to his love. The song featured a mix of samples from musicians that were all recorded on vinyl; it was a very mellow, soft song that was a nice change of pace from his older tracks. Pretty Lights' innovative new style is trying to bring instruments back into electronic music, and the crowd showed their appreciation by throwing glow sticks in the air like confetti. There were pretty lights everywhere.
(Jenna Goode is the Temporary Assistant for The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter where she works mainly on social media. Goode has interviewed artists such as Daniel Lanois and Henry Farag. Her previous works have been featured on the Chicago Chapter's GRAMMY365 blog and various others.)