While it’s far too easy to get pulled in every direction while frolicking through the many splendors of Electric Forest, it’s even easier to create a solid connection with the people who give the festival a special place in our hearts. This past weekend, we went on a friend-making frenzy, as we moseyed from spot to breathtaking spot in search of full-of-life peeps to warmly welcome into our Forest fam. And they were quite literally everywhere you looked.

From a decorated Olympian to a staff-twirling molecular scientist, we ran into radically rad festival heads from all walks of life. They truly made the weekend a time we will never forget, so take a minute to get charmed by the Awesome People from the first weekend. If you’re packing up for the second weekend, consider this your reminder to spark up a conversation with the beautiful souls next to you.

Photos shot by Skyler Greene and provided by Electric Forest.

 

Name: Deanna
Age: 22
Hometown: Massachusetts
Occupation: Waxer
Years in the Forest:
Four 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
They would say that no matter where you go, you’re in the right place. Everything happens for a reason, and just keep on going forward. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
I’ve been dealing with really heavy shit in my life recently, and I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone, to be more independent and just realize that I need myself. So, I think this is the perfect place for people to get out of that spot, because there are so many things to see here, whether it’s music or art or everything else the festival incorporates into it. I obviously love spending time with my sister here, too, and I think it’s a good time for us to share together.

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
All of it, honestly. Every piece is great, but the whole in total is where it’s at.

 

 Name: Scott, aka Madame Vivian V
Age: 28
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Full-time drag queen and entertainer
Years in the Forest:
First one 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
There would be too many stories to tell. Good god. I think these are the kind of trees that like being present, so they are like, “Oh, let’s tell the story of what’s happening right now.” They’ve been around for a minute. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
I would say, getting to perform in the hanger and in the big top, and just getting to know everyone on the staff. Everyone here has been so professional and so nice and lovely. Everyone here really cares about having a good vibe. 

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
Just the memories, because I’d like to keep the whole Forest intact.

 

Name: Shaylee
Age: 19
Hometown: Duluth, Minnesota
Occupation: I work at a crystal metaphysical shop.
Years in the Forest:
Three 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
They would tell us to not litter and just help out Mother Earth. It’s really easy to put things in the garbage or pick up after yourself and help leave this place the way it was, so we can continue to do this for years to come.

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
The sound bath. When it started, I could feel all of my chakras tingling. I could feel the interconnectedness of it. It was really cool. 

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
The trap house, the pagoda that gets smaller and smaller. It’s my favorite part of the Forest. When you’re in there with people, you’re so physically close together… it’s very intimate and a good place to get to know people. If it were at my home, then I would just live it in—that’s how much I love it.

 

Name: Davis
Age: 33, but I’ll be 27 again next year.
Hometown: I spent 10 years in Southeast Asia growing up and moved to Chicago afterward.
Occupation: I create large-scale permanent sculptures that try to inspire people to think about other dimensions. I’ve got three archways at Electric Forest for the three corridors and the grand archway.
Years in the Forest:
Three 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
Show more gratitude in your life. Perspective is everything, so what you get is what you put into it—it doesn’t just give you something. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
I think a lot of the interactive performers are what gives the Forest some real character. 

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
I’d probably just take the memories, because those are something I’ll have forever.

 

Name: Shayla
Age: 20
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Occupation: I work at a restaurant.
Years in the Forest:
First one

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
They would probably just be like, “Damn”—‘cause they see so much crazy shit. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
Stickybuds at the Carousel was awesome. He played drum & bass, which is my favorite. And all of the lights, the whole thing. 

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
One of those fairy houses—I was going around the other night opening them, and there are these little presents inside that other people leave in there. So awesome.

 

Name: Nathaniel (guy spinning the fire staff)
Age: 29
Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri
Occupation: Research scientist, mass spectrometry and metabolomics
Years in the Forest:
Two 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
Breathe with us. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
Earning the time travel pin. 

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
The passion I see in the people here.

 

Name: James
Age: 21
Hometown: Britton, Michigan
Occupation: Carpenter, and I’m doing art installs for venues in New Orleans.
Years in the Forest:
Four 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
Come home. You’re safe here. We’re all family. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
Some of the new features, like the back end of the Hanger. A lot of great sets, too, like Zhu and Bassnectar, of course. The atmosphere is great. I’m glad to see the venue changing, but all for the better. 

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
The camaraderie—everyone is in it together. By Sunday, everyone has got that look on their faces, like, “Hey, man, I’m here for you.”

 

Name: Sarah
Age: 21
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Bartender
Years in the Forest:
Two 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
Take care of your friends, and be kind to one another. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
Honestly, just the Sherwood Forest and the experience—like, everything about it and everything that comes with it.

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
Maybe just one tree that I could put in my backyard with lights—I just love the nature part of this festival.

 

Name: Kyle
Age: 20
Hometown: West Bloomfield, Michigan, but now lives in Colorado
Occupation: Snowboarder. I was in the Olympics and got a silver.
Years in the Forest:
Five 

If these trees could speak, what do you think they’d want to say?
I bet they would say, “Stop hanging on me,” because it probably hurts (laughs). They probably love to see all the people here enjoying themselves and getting down. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your weekend?
Just how dope everyone has been that I’ve met here, and all my friends that I get to come and hang out with and enjoy the best four days of our lives together.

Let’s say you were given the chance to take one piece of the Forest home with you. What would it be, and why?
I’d love to take the vibe and how happy everyone is at Forest, and take that back into the real world, because that’s what everyone needs: to be happy and so much more carefree. Everyone here has no worries in the whole world, and they are so giving and open about everything—so much sharing and caring.

 

The second weekend of Electric Forest 2018 takes place June 28–July 1 at Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, MI. Wristbands and lodging packages are available now. For more information, visit the official website.

Electric Forest is produced by Madison House Presents and Insomniac.

Follow Electric Forest on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
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