The depths of northern Michigan at the Double JJ Resort hold one of the most magical and visually pleasing music festivals in the country, Electric Forest.

This electronic-dominated music festival is highly spoken of by festivalgoers as it presents various other subgenres, presided over by its jam band host The String Cheese Incident.

Everywhere you walk and every turn taken on the massive plot of land is met with a new experience including extravagant art installations, interactive experiences, and characters walking all throughout the festival. The four-day festival welcomes people from all walks of life—all ages, all colors, and all genders. The vibe is carefree and wild, where fans trust themselves and each other, and kindness is in full bloom.

Day one started off strong, even before entering the festival. Leading into the ground, security was noticeably heightened as a result of a shooting the previous week at the Beyond Wonderland in Washington state. As people arrived at the toll booths to get into the campgrounds, heavy security and officers respectfully searched cars and bags, with the additional security instilling a vibe of safety rather than the crossing of any personal boundaries.

As the festival grounds opened, people lined up quite a distance to ensure they got enough time to check out everything they could before the music started and before the headliner of the night, ODESZA took the stage. Walking into the grounds, fans were greeted with the Tripolee stage, a huge, beautifully-built stage adorned like a waterfall. Walking past the stage, one was greeted by a plethora of art vendors selling jewelry, clothes, and food.

The Ranch Arena stage came next before fans were greeted by the Forest. Early sets from artists such as Eazybaked, Gashi, Cimafunk, Channel Tres, and Sofi Tukker warmed up the crowd. A notable programming feature of Electric Forest is a showcase of subgenres. From house music to dubstep to wonky vibes, there was music for everyone.

As the sun began to set on the first day of Electric Forest, Sofi Tukker was there to get the crowd amped up and energized for the long weekend ahead. Just before midnight, the lights of the Ranch Arena stage dimmed and ODESZA took the stage. Being my third week in a row seeing the electronic duo, they still left me speechless with a performance full of special guests, pyrotechnics, and their drum line which always leaves people in a state of awe.

Taking a break from some music on Friday offered a chance to explore the Forest. From the giving tree to scavenger hunts there was so much this place had to offer, even a chapel for people to get married (which numerous couples utilized throughout the weekend). Many of the art installations were larger-than-life, both in terms of size as well as the fact they were created by world-renowned artists like Daniel Popper, known for his grandiose sculptures.

One could spend the entire weekend taking in the opulent grandeur of the Forest, but back to the matter of hand. Singer Fletcher provided a smooth daytime comedown before Electric Forest was engulfed by EDM for the rest of the night. The host with the most, The String Cheese Incident, provided instrumental interludes on Friday and Saturday with a pair of two-set performances. Some other artist highlights of Friday were Jantsen, Jupiter & Okwess, Lane 8, Illenium, and of course, DJ Diesel, otherwise known as the legendary NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, who, as a dubstep DJ, can really throw it down.

Related: Shaq Hits Clutch Free Throw From Stage At Electric Forest [Watch]

As Saturday morning rolled around, it was still suffocatingly hot and humid, and meanwhile Michigan hadn’t seen rain in weeks so the festival turned into a dust bowl. Nearly every festivalgoer walking around had some sort of face covering up to protect themselves from the dust. Despite the dust, the day was again filled with unbelievable music and performances such as Chromeo, Zeds Dead, STS9, and others. One of the most highly anticipated sets of that day was ISOXO who has risen to fame extremely quickly online and is finally starting to play shows and festivals. Some other notable sets from Saturday were Elohim, Two Feet, and house music legend Chris Lake.

Related: The String Cheese Incident Stages Electric Forest “Whole Shebang” Send-Off Spectacular [Watch]

Clouds loomed over the festival Sunday morning as the gates opened and music started, and the day was going well until festival organizers made the call for everyone to go find shelter immediately. Wild thunderstorms hit this area of Michigan for a few hours but luckily it blew over and the festival was able to reopen a few hours later. Despite it raining for most of the remainder of the day, it was still a successful day and weekend.

Electric Forest is an experience beyond the scope of most any music festival in the U.S. The meticulous attention to detail that organizers and countless visual artists put into creating an environment conducive to childlike whimsy and wonder is something every live music fan should experience at least once. As the page turns on yet another Electric Forest, attendees and Forest family are left only to speculate how the event will top itself yet again in 2024.

Check out image galleries from Electric Forest 2023 courtesy of Avi Warren along with a collection of fan-shot videos.

A walk through the Electric Forest – 2023

[Video: Rave Bae]

ODESZA – Electric Forest – 6/22/23 – Partial Set

[Video: HODJmusic]

Tape B – Electric Forest – 6/23/23 – Full Set

[Video: Rave Bae]

Zeds Dead – Electric Forest – 6/23/23 – Full Set

[Video: Rave Bae]

Zeds Dead b2b Ganja White Night – Secret Set – 2023

[Video: HODJmusic]

STS9 – Electric Forest – 6/24/23 – Partial Set

[Video: HODJmusic]

The String Cheese Incident – Big Shebang – 6/24/23

[Video: HODJmusic]

Dogs In A Pile – Electric Forest – 6/25/23 – Preview

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