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Director of Electric Forest Drops The Details On The 2015 Festival in Reddit AMA

It appears as though the upcoming festival season is slated to be America's largest season yet. Electric Forest, one of the most majestic stateside festivals, attracts thousands of visitors to the Sherwood Forest in Rothbury, Michigan every year. Despite some rumors that the festival wouldn't return, the event is very much alive with a 10-year contract that will retain the festival in Rothbury. As excitement ramps up for the 2015 celebration, which takes place from June 25-28, festival director Jeremy Stein took to Reddit to conduct an insightful "ask me anything," or AMA for short. Stein revealed some upcoming developments for next year's event, explained how promoters Insomniac and Madison House work together, and gave a timeframe on when the lineup would release. 

Read the top-rated questions and answers below. Considering we copied the text verbatim from the AMA, there may be some typos. 

What is the division of labor between Madison House and insomniac? Who handles what?
And was everything with sfx blown out of proportion this year or was there real stress on you guys losing the festival/grounds?

Insomniac and Madison House Presents work together as one. Our calls are never about Insomniac or Madison House Presents, they are about the Electric Forest Team. Division of roles never stops changing, as every year is different. I wouldn't change a thing.

Jeremy, the Double JJ Ranch is such an exceptional and unique festival venue. When and How did you guys come about discovering the property?

It's a great festival and the highlight of my year! Thanks so much for all that you and your team does to make it happen!

It is true that Sherwood Forest was originally intended as a tree farm. These farms were part of public works programs created during the FDR administration. Luckily, nobody ever got around to farming these trees!

Two questions: how close are you to selling out of wristbands? Will you be expanding the forest this year? It seemed a little cramped last year.

As far as forest expansion, the answer is yes.

How does the team pick which bands and DJs to play at EF? Is it invite only or do the artists ask to perform at the venue?

Hello! Great question. Our talent buyer works with agents, managers, and acts across the globe to select the best talent for the festival. We try to keep our ears open to what is being requested and shared by the forest family, and we also have competitions every year through Plug In.

When it comes to the actual days of the festival, whats it like from your perspective? Can you run me though what its like to be you on say, Friday of the festival?


  • wow that alarm's loud
  • where's the coffee
  • where's more coffee
  • check weather
  • meeting #1 security update
  • #2 production update
  • check weather
  • drive the site with operations manager
  • how are the cleaning crews doing?
  • I love clean porta potties, are they clean?
  • lunch (vitamin supplements, coffee, smoothie thing that someone said was good for me)
  • talk with artists about their upcoming shows
  • check weather
  • Forest walkthrough It is now noon.... more later.

Any upgrades to the stages this year?? Possibly more shade at Tripolee?

One thing you can expect is that the stages will never be the same, year after year! We're talking about the stages every day now.


  1. Are you planning on releasing the part of the lineup in the very near future or are there outside factors stopping you from doing it right now?

  2. Could we get some trashcans in sherwood forest? I couldn't find any last year and it would help discourage littering for many. At least some on the main paths through it please.

  3. It has been discussed a little on here, but have you put any thought into doing a local radio show over the days of the fest? You could have artist interviews, interviews with attendees in the campgrounds, any pertinent information that needed to be spread by administration, maybe even a set by a DJ after the venue closes for the night.

  4. What is the biggest hurdle for you as an organizer to run this fest?

  5. If you could pick any artist/band from all time to book for the forest, who would you choose?


  1. We usually have been ready for the first lineup announcement in late January or early February. I expect the same this time around.

  2. Great feedback. There certainly were trashcans last year, and we are planning for more this year.

  3. We're considering lots of different types of broadcasts, you saw some of that start last year with the Electric Glen

  4. (shakes head)

  5. I will probably have a different answer in 5 minutes, but right now it's Bill Withers.

I'm curious as to your opinion on the "festival Bubble'' Do you think America is nearing a point of saturation when it comes to music festivals? Or do you think the market can withstand its current number?

Perspectives on festival proliferation are very subjective. In Europe today there are weekends where 3 or 4 major festivals occur within 3 hours of each other. The US has been pretty far behind the rest of the world on festival development for a long time, so yes, it feels like there are many more festivals, and there are.

A better question might be "why aren't festivals better?" It's not that different from asking why there aren't more good movies out. I hope for more festivals with creative and unique identities that help push our cultural understanding of community.

It's really hard to answer this in this format. I could write a book. I'll look forward to continuing this discussion another time.


  1. What are you guys planning to do about hammocks next year? Last year there were so many that it became difficult to walk through some parts of the forest during the day. Will there be any new rules this year regarding hammocks?

  2. Last year I attended the forest in a wheelchair due to a broken leg. Are there any plans to make the routes between stages a little more wheelchair accessible? For example, maybe the addition of a small ramp that can be easily broken down/set up in between Tripolee and the main stage where it is slightly steep and there are some nasty tree roots.

Let's talk hammocks... It's true that last year became too crowded with hammocks in The Forest. We're currently looking at creating new hammock-only zones and also new guidelines for hammocks in The Forest. The reality is that bringing hammocks to a festival was a new idea when we started. Happily, everyone caught on to the idea and now, of course, we need to revise this idea so The Forest can be experienced to the fullest.

ADA accessibility is always very important to us. Thank you for this feedback. I hope you found our ADA shuttles! If anyone needs more info on our ADA program, go

Do you let any of the complainers that come around about ticket prices and lineup get to you?

There's a fine line between random complaints and valid opinions. Let's talk lineup complaints - imagine this: you have around 100 artists and you need to please over 35,000 people. Or, you try to take all of your experience, and combine it with the community's requests, and create a lineup that is not only good upon announcement, but has the chance to be exceptional 6 months later.

It's very interesting to me the ways comments about any lineup evolve from the time they are dropped until after the show. The poster and the experience are two very different things. When we are booking an act, we're thinking about a time, a stage, what's going on on the other stages, the mood, etc., etc. How that looks on a poster can be viewed in a million different ways.

Also, it's part of our job to discover music that we think is groundbreaking, even if people do not know the name. I remember year 1, we booked a new producer on the Tripolee stage and thought he would be great to close one of the nights. Skrillex turned out to be a good call. Not every time is so successful, but if we're not reaching for great ideas, then the result will be a homogenous lineup, like so many others out there.

I have a question about group camping -- are we limited to how many people we can have in a group? Are the plots bigger for those that have a bigger group?

Group camping expanded exponentially this year. We may have to create some limits in order to provide an optimum experience.

With the massive rush for ticket sales during both loyalty and early bird, what were your traffic numbers looking like? Was the spike in sales expected this year, or did those tickets legitimately sell faster than before?

Ok, ticketing. There have been lots of posts about this. How fast they sold The quality of the loyalty program etc etc etc

Here's the reality: Demand is off the charts, and it's a great honor. Next time around, there will be an updated system. All of the great intentions behind the loyalty program, Four in The Forest, Early Bird, are very important to us. In fact, I'm not sure I can name another festival that had a loyalty program 3-4 years ago off the top of my head. Never fear, we hear you and we're excited for the challenge to evolve forward.

Read the full AMA on the Electric Forest subreddit.

Cover photo credit: Electronic Midwest

Follow Electric Forest:

Tags AMA Electric Forest Jeremy Stein Michigan reddit Rothbury Sherwood Forest


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