Don’t let the name fool you – there’s more than loud music at Electric Forest.

June 26, 2016

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By Mark Lewis. Contributing Writer.

GRANT TOWNSHIP – When you think of the Electric Forest Festival, music probably is the first thing to come to mind. And rightfully so – the roster, heavy on EDM DJs and jam band and experimental aficionados, features among the best from both genres.

And while there is tons of great music at the annual festival, held for six consecutive years at Oceana County’s Double JJ Resort, just look beyond the surface and you’ll certainly find a whole lot more than just loud music.

Long known for its art displays and spontaneous displays of the weird, the festival also offers activities that have little or nothing to do with performing music.

Case in point, the festival offers a daily yoga session at the Tripolee area, where over 1,000 people stretch, strain, and get loose to the gentle rhythms of Hannah Muse, the yoga instructor the leads the group in her routine from atop the Tripolee stage.

While the yoga we practice in West isn’t the same as the ancients, Muse peppers the routine with historical notes on India and Sanskrit while participants go from one asana to the next.

For many at the daily ritual, yoga seems to clear the cobwebs left over from the night before. Helpful in its ability to ground and relax its practitioners, yoga can help ‘get you right’ after perhaps straying a bit off the beaten path.

“God, I need this,” whispered Jenn, a premed student from Alabama visiting the forest for the first time. “It rechargers my batteries and helps keep every thing together.”

If Yoga isn’t your thing, there is, contrary to every other event, an activity that is completely silent – until you put on some headphones. The Silent Disco, located amongst the delights of the famed Sherwood Forest, the literal and figurative heart of the festival grounds, draws a diverse crowd seeking a chiller scene to the festivals more routine, and more brutal, offerings. Kicking off at 7 p.m. each evening, the cavalcade of DJs rotate among two channels (Blue and Red, respectively) until after 2 a.m. each night.

“Most of the music here, you feel it in your bones it’s so loud,” said Spencer, up from Oklahoma for his third consecutive Electric Forest. “(In the Silent Disco) it’s not about feeling but about listening.” Spencer said he’s continued to follow some of his DJ discoveries after the festival’s conclusion.

Of course, if both headphones and yoga are too much for you, grabbing a spot in the nearest shady oasis and people-watching is always a popular alternative. Where else are you going to see a man dressed as a dinosaur, two women dressed as space aliens, and a male/female couple not dressed at all, save for some strategically placed body paint?

Probably only at Electric Forest.

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