Ladas Hoopes McNeill

Ladas Hoopes McNeill
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Quintessential Vibe of Electric Forest

I have preached.  I have begged.  I have even gotten involved and decided the the only way that I'll ever really know what's really going on at Electric Forest is to be part of it.  So, I threw my hat in the ring last year, dusted off the bar-tending skills that sat idol for 20 plus years and got back to work.  It was a good time last year and I learned a lot, but year two, is showing me a little more.

There are many preconceived notions in Muskegon about what this festival is.  I am not sure where some of the ideas are coming from.  A lot of times, people are very quick to judge when something new or different comes along, but you know...the only things new or different going on here are really the mindsets of the attendees.

I have been going to concerts and festivals for decades.  The first major festival for me was Van Halen's Monsters of Rock at the Silverdome back in 1987.  Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, Kingdom Come.  Huge show, went to both days of it.  I was 17 and it was a spectacle beyond compare.  There were mullets a plenty, lots of people drinking beer, picking fights and yelling "show us your boobs" and forgetting about life's worries for a day or two.

Today, I will be brutally honest...I don't know the first thing about any of the bands at Electric Forest.  But you know, the attendees, they have not changed.  Instead of Metallica shirts, they wear Pokemon or Star Wars shirts.  Instead of seeing who's the toughest and trying to pick a fight, they hug and as far as the boobs...well, some are happy with just some stickers over them. They are pretty free minded.

I saw a sign someone was walking around with that said "This is where I feel alive".  Electric Forest is where they are away from the never ending barrage of slanted news coverage, horrific world views, never ending pressure and the constant search for approval.  Electric Forest is where they can just be them.  No one I know looks down at 100k plus NASCAR fans all dressed up in their favorite drivers gear...why should we look differently at someone in a viking outfit or a fairy costume?  We really shouldn't.  We should realize that what's happening here is a global sigh of relief for a weekend or two.  Trust me when I tell you, they truly come from across the globe for this.

Being there personally I know this now.  While the money is great, I know that there will be my "moment".  That there will be a surprise for me at some point in the day that will completely fill my heart.  Keep in mind too, I am a pretty fortunate guy in the life satisfaction department.  But every year so far it's happened.  This year, that moment came late Friday night.  I had been on my feet for 12+ hours for 2 days and I was tired.  I was cleaning off my little corner of the bar and there was an Easter Egg.   I grabbed it, and went to throw it out, but though "Well, what the hell....I'll look."  I found this...yes..I got a little misty eyed and I knew I was where I needed to be to have my faith in the human race restored.  It made for a very Happy Forest.


  1. One observation the electric forest is in Oceana Co. Not Muskegon Co. Why does PM continue to get this information confused?

  2. Muskegon county benefits tremendously, and could do more if there wasn't such a closed mindset by so many

  3. Absolutely love that you are sharing your positive experiences at Forrest with all of your followers in the surrounding areas. People seem to think it's a bunch of "dirty hippies" wehn its in reality so much more.
    Having been to Forrest several times myself it's the second most magical place on earth, only coming in second to Disney.
    I would encourage everyone to expierance it at least once. Judging Forrest without having been is like judging a book buy it's cover, you just never know until you open it!
    Thanks again Andy!

  4. Right on, Andy. I have been to every festival on that site since the 2008 Rothbury Festival and I have yet to hear any cross words or see a fight. Nice to meet you at the Hangar the other night!

  5. Norm Kittleson knows something about that egg, I bet.