[FESTIVAL/PHOTO RECAP] Electric Forest 2015 & The Adventures of Partyline
The countdown for Electric Forest started 6 months ago with the reservation of an RV.
Fast forward to Thursday after work, I loaded the squad in the ol’ RV and headed to Rothbury, Michigan for Electric Forest’s 5-year anniversary. After what seemed to be a million stops on the way up to get the proper party essentials (like 10 cases of beer, 15 handles of liquor, Kool-Aid, a bunch of cheesy brats, and 2 of the biggest bags of pizza rolls I have ever seen), we were finally on our way.
Written by: Scott Drazler
We finally arrived to a secret back gate to the festival around 10pm Thursday night. Our RV and companion car loaded to the gill quickly passed security and, looking at a sea of tents & cars, they tell us good luck finding a spot. I accept the challenge, give security high fives, and proceed into GA. After passing a couple areas that we could have fit, I decide to go George Costanza style and drive to the center of the action. After wiggling our 30-foot boat through some paths, keeping the ferris wheel as my beacon, I find myself at the front gate of the festival and a large open patch directly across from the entrance – I guess no one daring enough to camp at such a heavy foot-trafficked area. Without hesitation I whip the RV around as if I was picking up a wakeboarder in a boat, settle on the spot, and drop this thing into park.
I go scoop my credentials, and then off to the enchanted forest for the first time in my life. I passed Kaskade, which was a big reason I wanted to get to the festival by midnight, but I just wanted to get into the Sherwood Forest. In pure amazement I wandered through the adult candyland of exploratory euphoric sensual features of lights lasers, charters, and structures of all proportions – including bars and stages.
At the end of the journey we find ourselves at Flume, I convince my squad to stay for about a half hour before further exploration pulls us away.
We wander over to what looks like a giant circus tent and much to my delight, my friends EOTO are absolutely killing it, as the lasers, lights, and art installations are perfectly in tune with each other. I snap a couple phone photos and post it up to Instagram.
One more slow wander through the forest in a more exploratory manner, as most of the stages have ended, gives some relief that we are not missing anything. The truth is, the Sherwood Forest is the heart of the festival.
You pass, like blood through the heart, giving life to your senses.
For now we must leave the forest as tonight I debut our GA RV after hours party, dubbed #FUTUREPARTY. I teamed up with my good friend Mikul Wing of Autograf, and Future Factory. He recently purchased and renovated a limousine bus and converted it into a live, mobile DJ booth. We bust out the speakers, plug some stuff in and we’re ready to go. I even made set times, which made no difference whatsoever. Jon Gorecki (DJ Who Cares) is first up, spinning some house. When the majority of the people are exiting the festival, I decide to switch the DJ and get #TurntUp.
Our Buddy Josh Ramos (JSquared) hits the Decks and I lure the festival goers with the promise of #VodkaDribbles and comedic hooks.
The free Vodka and music went on ’till the wee hours of the morning.
Day Two starts with eggs, bacon, and pizza rolls.
After relaxing for a while, DJ Home improvement (Tim Allen) shows up at the RV. He wonders where the stage is that he is supposed to be playing. As the DJ bus was still locked up, I spring into action and set up the speakers and create a DJ booth out of a two stacks of cases of water.
The Autograf squad final shows up. They grab their gear for their set tonight, 10pm at the observatory. I snap a few band photos and they are off, escorted on the artist golf cart. Mikul asks me if I’m setting up the tent? (a 20×20 carnival tent). I tell him probably not because I’m scared it will blow away, (actually just hung over).
After some convincing from my squad we decide to do a team building exercise. I have never set this thing up before, so first thing I do is burn the directions. After an hour of tugging, pulling, strapping, and hammering posts, the tent is finally erected, and it looks like pro’s put it up. We give high fives, and pose for a Squad photo, gather our stuff and head the the Forest.
Anxious to shoot some festival fashion, I immediately start asking good looking ladies if they would like to pose for my wife’s fashion blog, Tres Awesome, getting some epic #ForestFriends photos (Squad photos) for my own blog, Partyline Chicago. I get distracted by this clever group of forest actors that are telling a story from the book of people’s stories. I volunteer to write the next section, however, I make them transcribe my words as a mouse could certainly write better then me at that point.
My friend and 2nd shooter (Aaron Engler, AB Photo) see’s me in the forest, grabs me, and says,
“Hey let’s go! We gotta go shoot Cheese!”
I quickly agree, and escape the forest. We arrive to the photo pit with time to spare, take some photos, and then I split to go see my homies Break Science.
One more time through the forest, except this time its a brisk walk with few distractions. I shoot the Break Science set then wander back stage, realize there is a full Artist lounge bar, and everything starts to click into place.
I begin my trademark Artist and guest photos, with one hand on the camera, and one hand with a drink.
The sun goes down, and I go back to shoot my campmate’s set at the observatory (Autograf). Getting thirsty again, it’s back to the Sherwood Court to catch Lettuce (Who I just shot at Randolph street fest a week prior). I continue to work the artist lounge, back stage shots, and shooting Lotus.
Walking back to camp for the 2nd night of after parties, I know that the tent is set up and we’re going to have some boss after hours. I stay off the microphone for the most part this night, and let that deep house take over. Intermodal & Tsunami absolutely kill, and a thousand or so people engulf the tent, DJ bus, and the surrounding area. I concentrate on hosting the party, which involves more free vodka, and warm beers. This continues until 5am, at which point 12 of Rothbury’s finest, and Electric Forest Black Opps show up to the party. They ask who’s RV this is, I respond with not mine, but I am in charge of the party. They tell me to shut it down, and I explain to them that this is a sanctified Electric Forest After Party, with which they respond with
“We know, and we’re shutting you down”.
I pull the one one extension cord from the RV, the music stops and tell people to disperse. I end the night with some more pizza rolls and squad high fives.
With camp set up, and knowing where the artist lounge was, I feel super confident in my endeavors to start the 3rd day – mind you this is my first Electric Forest. After a nice relaxing morning at the water park hot tubbing & afternoon chillin’ under the tent and giving out screwdrivers for re-tweets, I venture back into the forest determined to capture the fashion and Squad photos. I scavenge the forest on a photo safari capturing the best looks like a national geographic photographer. I end up back at Cheese to shoot the pit, and then see all my friends in the VIP section. Afterwards, I had an absolutely delightful sunset with friends, and more fashion/squad photos.
I check the schedule and my favorite band of the weekend (Phantogram) is playing back at my favorite spot, Sherwood Court. I never made it out again perfectly content with the Artist lounge, Electron, and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. I have seen Bassnectar a million times, and I knew my hommie Aaron Engler would be covering it. I concentrated on covering the artist lounge with artist and guest photos. On my way back to camp I catch the homies Golf Clap at the silent disco.
After our night of debauchery the night before, we hold back on throwing the after hours and I get some much needed sleep, as I was running about 36 hours straight.
Feeling energized from actually sleeping, I enter the Forest in record manner around 3pm. Back to the photo safari, capturing the Festival Style and Squad photos. I feel like an old pro at this point and have my best day of shooting – making continuous rounds from the artist lounge/Red Bull vodkas, and capturing the people of the forest.
At this point I have lost interest in shooting photo pit photos and meet a couple ladies that seemed like fun (Samantha and Keri). We catch a golf cart to the front of the festival at the Tripoli stage to snap a couple photos of Goldfish with the ferris wheel in the background. I quickly realizing that I have not taken any aerial photos, or rode the wheel. We decide to take a ride.
Not soon after, with the crowd filling in, we decide that the lady duo is now a DJ duo, and I am their black pop security/photographer.
We make our way back to the comforts of the artist lounge for Big Gigantic, grab double fists of drinks, and I escort them into the photo pit area. What an EPIC way to end the fest.
I will definitely be back next year. For a first year Forest goer I think I did pretty well. Shout out the the 2015 Squad: Christian Rogala (Black Opps Security), Tim McCarthy (Captian Fun), Aaron Engler (#1 Second Shooter AB PHOTO), Mikul Wing (DJ Bus Captain), Ricky Carden (Business Manager), Eliza Lure (Lady Sweetness), Jill Brown (Resident Camp DJ), Caroline Dixey (Quality Control), Yael Gabi (The Companion), Jenny Hogan (Moral boost), Kristen & Andrew (The couple).