Electric Forest Condensed: Michigan music fest to revert to single weekend

Special to the Record-Eagle/Anthony Norkus, Local SpinsOdesza will headline the Electric Forest festival June 27-30, 2019 in Rothbury, Michigan. The festival will revert to a single weekend next year.

ROTHBURY — After turning the popular Electric Forest into a two-weekend, mega-festival the past two years, organizers have announced that the acclaimed music celebration in Rothbury, Michigan would once again be held over a single weekend in 2019 due to concerns for “conservation and longevity.”

With headliners Odesza, Kygo, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead and String Cheese Incident leading the way, Electric Forest 2019 will be staged on the grounds of Double JJ Resort in Rothbury June 27-30, 2019. Festival wristbands and lodging packages go on sale at noon Dec. 7.

In a prepared statement, the festival revealed that the grounds “will see many exciting improvements that include upgraded landscapes, areas with new grass and infrastructure improvements across the site. Most importantly, a new multi-year Sherwood Forest conservation plan will take effect.

“Protecting and curating the grounds of Electric Forest for generations to come is important to all of the Forest Family," the statement continued. "The impact that comes with two weekends will need to be reduced for the new improvements to take hold.”

Still, the news wasn’t greeted enthusiastically by some concertgoers.

“Bummer,” one fan groused on Facebook after the announcement was made.

“Y’all just took a major step backwards in my mind,” wrote another.

A few complained about the festival’s “money grab” by staging two weekends the past two years, while many worried about a quick sellout of tickets for one weekend’s worth of music in 2019.

"Now it’s just going to sell out so fast and people aren’t going to have the opportunity to go,” one commenter posted.

Still others debated the impact on the environment and the extent of cleanup required for two weekends’ worth of revelry versus one.

In addition to the electronic music-hued headliners, the 2019 Electric Forest lineup announced this week features faves such as 12th Planet, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Gramatik, Lettuce, STS9, Twiddle, Mungion, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Lee Fields & The Expression and The Floozies, as well as popular Michigan act Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers.

Organizers also announced that a new Electric Forest ticketing system will be implemented, requiring users to set up a ticketing account. Festival-goers from previous years will receive an email “in the coming days” to assist them in setting up an account.

The 2018 festival’s second weekend — with what was considered a stronger lineup than the first — also proved to be more packed, though many happy revelers could be found attending both sessions. An estimated 30,000 or so attended the first weekend; 40,000-plus the second.

A London-based website last year ranked the colorful Michigan festival as one of the “Top 10 Festivals in the World” alongside such high-profile music events as South By Southwest in Texas and Burning Man in Nevada. DesignMyNight.com hailed Electric Forest as “one of the most unique festivals in the world” with ‘incredible manageries of lit spaces” and “nightly colour” with an “anything goes” attitude.

Get more information and sign up for updates online at electricforestfestival.com. Electric Forest debuted at Double JJ Resort in Rothbury in 2011. The original Rothbury Festival was held on the site in 2008 and 2009 before taking a year off and being renamed Electric Forest.