Tips for Going to Electric Forest Festivals

Electric Forest

in Rothbury, Michigan

Electric Forest is one of the world’s largest music festivals. Every year Electric Forest plays host to dozens of EDM and live music and over 40,000+ attendees. This year Electric Forest 2019 is totally sold out and I understand why. It is a truly remarkable event that is one of a kind. The vibe at Electric Forest is unlike any other music festival most people have ever attended. We are the henna artist booth for EF and when we speak with our guests, they all say the same thing in regards to the festival: “this is incredible! I love it here.” The energy that is captured for 4 days in the Forest truly is magical – everyone is just kind and very accepting of everyone. I look forward to the new people I meet and stay friends with every year. For those of you going to Electric Forest this year – I wanted to write a few tips of what to pack for a festival and what to expect at a large festival – specifically Electric Forest tips for packing and what to expect.

THE BASICS :

TENT TIPS 

Electric Forest is very open concept – and for the majority of attendees, they will be making their home in the campground of Electric Forest. I’m not going to list camping supplies because I’m no camping expert, trust me. But here are items that were defiantly needed- You will want to bring a very reliable, big waterproof tent large enough to sleep you and your crew. BE SURE TO BRING WEIGHTS for any tent – especially pop up shade tents like EZ UPs  – I love these because they come in so many colors. Yes, the ground is there to stake into, but don’t rely on that. Especially because its a hard, sandy ground and stakes really don’t do much good if the wind kicks up. One year on a Sunday, the rain came and winds took everyone’s pop up tent with it. We saw hundred of crinkled tent frames in the garbages.. bring weights. 

NO BUGS 

Bugs have never been an issue – I think they put a protectant out because I swear I never saw one mosquito – but the june bugs come out for about 15 minutes every night at sunset, then go away not bothering anyone. 

PREPARE FOR CHILLY NIGHTS

 It does get chilly at night even in the summer in Michigan. Be sure to bring functional layers- light hoodies, jackets with pockets, sweatpants & socks. Bring a few light blankets so you can layer at night and not be too hot by morning. Bring a sturdy hammock for the trees – that’s an experience you don’t want to miss!

COMFORT ITEMS

Obviously bring sunscreen,  nice stainless steel bottles for water,  chairs to sit on at camp,  some cash not just cards, lots of easy foods & snacks that don’t require a fridge. DO NOT bring glass bottles for anything – to keep everyone walking in bare feet safe they don’t allow glass bottles which makes sense. These BABY WIPES are so clutch – I can’t stress that enough. Bring more than you think you’ll need – because you’ll need them for everything – your face, your arms, your FEET, to feel clean periodically through the day. Trust me – you can’t have too many. 

BANDANAS

Bring a few bandanas to cover your face. More than one is good because you can wash one out and hang dry and wear the other.  Sometimes if its been very dry the weeks leading up to EF, there will be lots of dust and a bandana around your face will help keep it from bothering you while you walk around. EVERYONE wears them, so really, it’s more regular to be wearing a bandana than to be wearing a shirt… 

BEYOND BASICS:

TOTEMS

Cellphone service is crappy there – which I think is part of the beauty! People aren’t glued on media devices – they’re there, in the moment. That being said, lots of groups bring a totem – a big, light up something on a looong stick or pole so in the crowds, you can spot your crew and make your way to the meetup. Think signs with slogans, alien heads, giant glowing broccoli creations – you get the idea. It’s really good to have if you’re with more than just one person. 

DRESSING UP

Costuming and dressing up is so natural at Electric Forest- the bigger the better. One sure way to make friends is to dress up. I have seen everything from 60 year olds in tutus to giant bee costumes to girls wearing just body paint and pants. It’s wonderful to see everyone’s creativity. 

VENDORS

The main row of crafting & shopping is in the Campground as well. There you will find beautiful handcrafted necklaces, clothing, enamel pins and our henna tattoo booth. We will be there with three henna artists at our tent this year.  

FOOD COST

The best food vendors are in the Campground – there’s a large variety and the prices are about what you would expect at a festival. Expect to get fed for about $10-$12 a person on average depending on what food you decide on. 

MEDICS

Medics & police are sparse, but are there if you need anything – they hire the most chill  & understanding officials I think, so that’s always a plus. They know people are there to have a fun and enjoyable time and aren’t going to rain on that. I needed Tylenol one of the first nights – after doing henna all day my head started to hurt a bit. I was already deep in the Forest so I didn’t want to leave and go all the way back to the booth at the campsite that has essentials for sale. I went to the medic booth and saw a fella on a little cot just needing to chill a bit and two friendly medics behind a little table. I said what I needed, filled out a slip of paper, they asked if I had been drinking (being 4 months pregnant at the time, my answer was NO, hah) and they gave me what I needed and sent me on my way. Friendly, knowledgable, and helpful – what more could you ask for? 

LOGISTICS:

ARRIVING

Anytime there’s an influx of 40,000+ people into an area, there’s going to be some traffic. Be prepared for traffic arriving and leaving. There’s no getting around that- BUT the fun can even start there – I have seen people meeting and greeting each other while they are bumper to bumper. It doesn’t last too long and once you’re there, you’re there. You can leave your car and be without all that for 4 days *sigh* which is great. I haven’t left and came back, so I don’t know anything about that. I do know that you’re about 20-30 minutes away from any large store or chain so if you forgot something, best to stop at the largest store you find about 30 mins out from your destination – chances are you’ll see about 100 other people doing the same thing when you’re on your way there. 

 

KNOW THE MAP

Familiarize yourself with the map of Electric Forest so you and your group know some key areas to meet at and have a general idea of where you’ll be headed.

BE SMART

Don’t be dumb with things – don’t drink before you get there and drive that way. With any large event, there are police on the expressway in a radius around looking for people being irresponsible. Don’t do other things on the drive there – just arrive sober and let the fun begin after you’ve set up your tent. 

OVERALL 

I think some of the best and most fun moments are ones you don’t plan- just let yourself be free and enjoy your time. Electric Forest is a magical experience and a place you can make life long connections. The FAQ section of Electric Forest’s website has more in depth info. I hope you found these Electric Forest tips helpful for packing and if you think of any I can add, email me kelly@kellycaroline.com or leave a comment . Have fun and I’ll see you in the Forest! 

All images sourced online from various articles and resources. 

Finding A Henna Artist

How to Find the Right Henna Artist for Your Event

You want to have a henna artist for your next birthday party or celebration – but how do you know the right artist to book? I’ll walk you through the questions to ask as well as what to look for before you book your henna artist. 

What Type of Event Do You Need Henna For?

This would be the first place to start in deciding on what henna artist to hire. As with anything, you do get what you pay for. However, as long as they use a safe product (which we will address below), there are aritsts just starting their career that will be suiltable for a young child’s birthday party or fundraising event. Everyone needs opportunities to practice in the real world, so hiring a less expensive artist with little expereince isn’t a bad thing, but you just need to assess the application. I wouldn’t hire a beginner henna artist for a corporate event, an event with more than 15 people, or certainly never for a wedding – leave those events to a more seasoned professional.

Where to Find a Henna Artist

With hiring any entertainer, word of mouth or experiencing the artist yourself is always the best way to hire. However, a simple Google search for Henna artist in (insert your city here)   should bring up a variety of artists within 50 miles of you to choose from. 

How to Tell Professional from Beginner

There’s more to being professional than just the look of a henna artist’s pictures online, though that helps. Professionalism comes from experience with a variety of scenarios, clients, and requests. Beginner henna artists may spook easily and be overwhelmed by 30 teens swarming them  from all sides with their iPhones asking for a design off Pinterest rather than the design book they set out. However, a professional henna artist will be able to wrangle the crowd of henna lovers in a calm and kind manner. A beginner henna artist may sweat under the pressure of Aunties requesting more and more intricate designs for the bridal mehndi while a professional will look to the bride for her preferences. Professionalism is more than good work – it’s good attitude and presentation. Before choosing your artist to hire, we suggest talking to them over the phone and asking questions about their experience with the type of event you are hosting. If you’re looking at an artist’s work online, look for a variety of designs as well as cleanliness of the work. Are the lines jagged and crooked? Are the designs poorly constructed and mismatched? Do they have a wide sampling of photos? Another good resource for vetting a henna artist is their social media account as well as online reviews such as Yelp or Google.

Information about Quality Henna Paste

This is crucial. If an artist doesn’t make their own henna paste or purchase paste from a professional henna artist, do not hire them. The reason being is for safety; store bought, commercial cones are made with unknown ingredients and have  stabilizers and preservatives to retain their ability to stain and survive their life on a store shelf (although this stain is usually a very poor quality anyway). The best and most safe henna paste is made by the artist because they will know the ingredients used as well as when it was made. Store bought cones with preservatives can harm skin so they should not be used on anyone. Professional henna paste is safe for all skin types that have no sensitivity to the essential oils the artist used. Pure, professional henna is made with henna powder that consists of  USDA Organic henna leaves that stay vacuum sealed until mixing. The paste will consist of two essential oils (tea tree, lavender, cajeput, frankincense etc.) , water, a sugar, (maybe lemon juice or tea water) and nothing else . The paste should remain frozen until right before use. Henna should smell earthy, not pungent or sour. When you are speaking with an artist prior to hire, ask what they make their paste with and how they mix it. If they can’t tell you, do not hire.

Hiring a henna artist is a fun addition to any party – its entertainment and a party favor all in one! By following our tips above you can find the perfect henna artist for your occasion. Any questions please contact us and we will be happy to help . -Kelly

Have a magical New Year’s Eve – reflect on the year you had . Sometimes instead of scrambling to always go go go, you can just relax and be. I think I will work on being more still and enjoying the everyday – even if that means dishes and laundry have to wait (because there will be time to have a “spotless” house when I have less bottoms to wipe & homework to check) However you spend your evening, please be safe & responsible – EVERYONE IS SOMEONE’S BABY out there . . . .

See more henna designs here
Instagram Likes:

An Instagram photo by henna artist, Kelly Caroline.