Your story is important.
That’s the key message behind an endearing, newly released video from the team behind Electric Forest, in partnership with nonprofit partner To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) and Electric Forest favorite Bassnectar, in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10–16). The video features footage captured during this year’s Electric Forest, where members of the Forest Fam community roaming the festival’s Sherwood Forest answered a ringing telephone. On the other end of the line was a new friend who, unbeknownst to the person answering the phone, was Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar himself. Lorin, remaining anonymous throughout the call, asked questions about friendships, family and hope.
“When I walked away, I was like, that was so much more fun than playing a set,” Bassnectar recently told Westword of the experience. “People were wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and they were crying, and talking about suicide and losing their friends, just deep principles of life.”
“Electric Forest strikes me as one of the most brilliant celebrations of life there is,” says Chad Moses of To Write Love on Her Arms, “because there is a willingness to share whatever they have, be it heavy or light. This experiment really found its depth and value in that sense of sharing—in the asking and responding to questions and the discovering of common ground.”
The video, which you can view in full above, highlights some of those heartfelt conversations and offers a poignant reminder that we all matter, that pain and doubt and hope are all shared experiences, and that we can, and need to, support each other through darkness.
“There is this indescribable moment when you first wander through the Sherwood Forest, when you realize you’re not alone,” says Pasquale Rotella, Founder and CEO of Insomniac. “You are completely surrounded by a community of open-minded people who are excited to connect and share their experience with you.”
“It’s amazing what can happen when we, as humans, are open to understanding our connectedness,” says Electric Forest founder/producer and president of Madison House Presents, Jeremy Stein. “At EF, we strive to use music, art and community to really inspire us to nurture our sense of connectedness. That’s when the magic happens.”
Art collective the Grand Artique created the phone system for the video by modifying a 1960s telephone switchboard to connect 10 phones. Within the heart of the Grand Artique’s multistory treehouse art installation and venue—a longtime, ever-evolving feature of Sherwood Forest—a secret room held the switchboard and concealed its operator. Throughout the festival, the phones allowed patrons to call each other or to speak with a hidden operator. Bassnectar, the Floozies, and others participated as hidden operators.
“In each of our installations, our goal is to reach as many people as we can and to increase their opportunities to interact with their environment,” says the Grand Artique’s Westley Thornton. “With Electric Forest, we found both an effective system for delivery and an audience with open hearts and minds, and a willingness to pick up the phone, so to speak. It wasn’t until we brought the telephones online that we realized the full potential of this device to connect with our fellow random humans.”
Anyone looking for support or resources for the mental health and well-being of themselves or a loved one is invited to visit the official To Write Love on Her Arms website.
Electric Forest is produced by Madison House Presents and Insomniac.
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