9 Memorable Sets From Electric Forest 2022

If you thought Disney World was the happiest place on Earth, you’re mistaken. That honor goes to Electric Forest.

This year’s Electric Forest Festival was a healing, mind-blowing adventure. After a two-year pause due to the pandemic, it felt great to be back in Sherwood Forest (or go there for the first time). More than 45,000 people flocked to Rothbury, Michigan for a weekend full of music, magic, love, the universe, and everything in between. It was one for the books — one of the highlight events of 2022, so far.

A First-Timer’s Perspective

People talk about how magical the Forest is, but you don’t get a true sense of how magical it is until you experience it for yourself. Stepping into Sherwood Forest for the first time was like entering a different universe — one where pain didn’t exist and time was a cosmic joke. The sun set at 10:30 P.M. The aroma of ganja and various foods permeated the air. Strangers came up to you and offered you little gifts, like rings or chocolate. As music poured out from every direction, strings of tiny pink umbrellas guided you through the maze of birches and pines.

So much visual and aural stimuli could overwhelm even the most seasoned festivalgoer. Personally, I found the best way to stay sane was to listen to my body and allow it to guide me. I’m the type of person who, when placed in a new environment, wants to absorb everything. I want to see all the sets and explore the whole grounds. But the sheer size of Sherwood Forest (and certain limitations of the human form) made that impossible.

Rather than plan every single move, I tried my best to live in the moment and do what felt right at the time. That meant turning off my thinking mind and allowing my senses to guide me. If something intriguing caught my eye or ear, I explored it. If I noticed something that looked or smelled good to eat, I tried it. When my body needed rest, I rested. I cannot stress enough how important it is to rest when you need it. I’ll admit, I didn’t catch all the sets I wanted to see. And I’m a little mad at myself for that. But I believe rest and rehydration left me better off in the end than attempting to run around on a pounding headache or 23 hours of no sleep. Always take care of yourself first.

We had an incredible time at Electric Forest, exploring hidden places, sampling amazing food, and of course, vibing out to the music. In no particular order, here are our top nine sets from the weekend.

LSDREAM

LSDREAM is an artist who’s always fun to watch because his vivid, spacey visuals and the cosmic nature of his music pair together nicely in a live setting. His Thursday night Electric Forest set was no exception. Even if you’d never wondered what it was like to take a hippie bus ride through space, LSDREAM brought you on one. With every sound he put forth, he helped bring the audience to a higher level of consciousness — raising the collective vibrations to the astral plane. Toward the end of his set, LSDREAM brought CloZee on stage to premiere the single they collaborated on for the Forest crowd.

Potions

Potions creates bass so powerful it could wake the dead. Okay…maybe not, but it did wake me up from an afternoon snooze. I was deep into a nap in the media tent when Potions began playing at Tripolee stage. Awake and intrigued, I ventured over to check out the music. Boy, am I glad I did! Potions went so hard during his set, you would have thought he was playing to a crowd of millions. The music was intense, and the vibes were high. I’ve never raged so hard at 2:00 in the afternoon.

Wreckno

It feels wrong to call this a “set,” because it was more of a production. Wreckno brought the wobbles, big energy, and even some choreography to the Tripolee stage on Friday afternoon. They came out in a sparkly green dress that matched their lime-streaked ponytail. Watching them merrily cut the decks and spit out bars, you couldn’t help but smile and vibe along with them. They even brought out their brother to perform a song they had written together. At the end of the performance, they shared a hug with their brother and mom, who was also present. The happiness, gratitude, and positive energy were palpable.

Wreckno turned the energy up to a level 12 when they brought out their backup dancers for “Medusa,” their collab with GRiZ. Please enjoy this video, but try not to throw your back out dancing along!

Of The Trees

Of The Trees wins the award for most captivating visuals. The imagery he used was paradoxically primitive and futuristic. Giant android heads exploded into a million little parts. Thick tree roots crept through the walls of a ruined temple as iridescent lights, wires, and gold humanoids danced around. The sun sank below the horizon as Of The Trees’ signature ethereal bass wobbled in tandem. The fact that the sun was still out at 10:00 at night only added to the trippyness of his set.

Honeyluv

After getting your mind rocked by bass music for three days, it was nice to have a palate cleanser. Honeyluv’s Saturday evening set was a refreshing break. Her particular brand of house music is fun, nostalgic, and danceable. She mixed classic four-on-the-floor beats with everything from Latin-inspired sounds to 90’s hip-hop and R&B (including one of my childhood favorites, Toni Braxton). Anyone who incorporates Toni Braxton’s “You’re Makin’ Me High” into their set is a friend of mine!

Mersiv

Before his Saturday night set at Sherwood Court, Mersiv teased on social media that he would be “pulling out all the stops from start to finish.” He delivered 1000 percent. As expected, Mersiv gave one of the best performances of the entire festival. He always brings incredible energy to his sets, and this time was no different. When he played “Fire Dance,” he went hard on the drops, his long hair flying all around him as he headbanged. The crowd mirrored his movements. Mersiv’s Saturday set was a lesson in physics, proving that whatever energy you put out is what you receive. He poured his heart out on that stage, and the crowd reciprocated his energy by going just as hard as he did.

There’s no such thing as too much Mersiv! After his Thursday night renegade set and his Saturday night throwdown, the king of Pretty Dark Loud blessed us with a third, secret set at the Grand Artique. This one was a bit more downtempo than his other two sets. The small size of the Grand Artique stage made for a more intimate setting. You could see the pure joy on Mersiv’s face as the crowd vibed along with him while he cut the decks.

Wreckno’s Big Gay Soiree

And the award for the liveliest party in the Forest goes to Wreckno’s Big Gay Soirée! Even though Wreckno themselves couldn’t be present because of health issues, the Big Gay Soirée was still a rager that will go down in Forest history. For an hour on Sunday afternoon, several queer-identifying artists threw down at the Grand Artique — including NotLö, Khiva, and A Hundred Drums.

A Hundred Drums

If you’ve been sleeping on A Hundred Drums, sleep no more! This artist is seriously talented and puts on one heck of a live show. The sheer diversity of the sounds she played was astonishing. You never knew what musical direction she was going to take next, and that brought a refreshing sense of excitement to her set. She rinsed everything from meditative bass, to hip-hop, to the filthiest dubstep you’ll ever hear. She definitely kept the audience on their toes in that regard. At the end, she even graced us with a few of her unreleased tracks. We had so much fun “Scream”-ing with her in the Forest and can’t wait to do it again at her next performance!

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