written by Ariana Assaf
Earlier today, Facebook-fueled rumor mill The Festive Owl announced that Electric Forest has a two weekend plan in store for 2017 that, barring an apparently unlikely shut down from Rothbury city council, is expected to go. Naturally, everyone is freaking out.
Some are staying positive, saying that this will allow more people to experience the Forest’s magic. Others are hoping that fewer tickets available for each individual weekend will return a sense of intimacy that was lost as the festival grew to a 45,000 person event. More are making plans to spread their wings and fly away to festivals they feel haven’t become so corporate: Shambhala, Okeechobee, and Hulaween appeared most in online discussion.
One comment comparing the expansion to that of fake flower headband flooded, TMZ wonderland Coachella has stuck with me most. Coachella is my first festival love (first festival, period), and although it’s increasingly associated with a shallow stereotype, my doubts about the Coachella scene were washed away during the first of three days I spent frolicking through those polo fields with some of the most beautiful people—inside and out—I have ever had the pleasure of festing with.
Because for every Brandy Melville model wannabe who heads to the desert with the sole intention of seeing and being seen, there are more people who felt like they could keep going after seeing The Strokes play in 2011. There are more people who listen to Grouplove when they just need to scream about something, because they saw Hannah Hooper kill it in a bright blue unitard in 2012 when Grouplove’s name was almost too small to read. There are people who stuck with it until 2016, and knew that it was all worth it when The Chainsmokers brought on Third Eye Blind for “Jumper,” because they actually made us feel like they understood.
Two weekends of Electric Forest won’t ruin it, but it will change it. Change for rising artists means they’ll get another gig out of it, vendors selling hand-made wonders will get another chance to share what they’ve created, and the promoters will profit as they have been and always will. Change for us, perhaps, will mean blissful escapes from the real world won’t be as relieving when everyone we need around us for it to work can’t make it. When, heaven forbid, they give us two different lineups and we have to somehow figure out which one will satisfy our souls long enough to last another year. When we realize that our Forest home is changing, and that we are changing, and that we can’t make it stop.