ROTHBURY, MI – Love is in the air at Electric Forest.
While most come to the four-day festival for the music and camaraderie, some come to celebrate their love and say “I do” – officially or unofficially – with an Electric Forest wedding.
In the Psychedelic Chapel, a colorful building tucked under the towering pine trees of Sherwood Forest, festival-goers can tie the knot with a fun and festive wedding during their stay at the four-day electric music festival, held every summer in Oceana County’s Village of Rothbury.
Many of the ceremonies are unofficial and mostly meant as a fun celebration with friends, but some are legitimate weddings where couples legally get married.
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Julia Vasta, 34, and Bobby Gantt, 36, have been dating for 14 years and celebrated their official wedding in the Psychedelic Chapel on Saturday afternoon, June 25.
The couple from Portland, Oregon, had initially planned to get married in April 2020, but they had to postpone their wedding at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
After having to postpone the wedding a second time in October 2020, Vasta and Gantt decided to wait and see what happened.
“And this is what happened – we came to Forest and got married,” Vasta said.
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This is the couple’s fourth year coming to Electric Forest, which Gantt called their favorite place in the world.
“This is our place together,” Gantt said. “There’s nowhere else we want to be or things we want to do except come here every summer and spend a week together just being with ourselves and our friends.”
Vasta said she preferred getting married at Electric Forest instead of having a traditional wedding because the festival is full of loving energy.
“There’s a magic here that you can’t get at a traditional wedding,” Vasta said. “All of Electric Forest is about love, but especially in the Psychedelic Chapel, where it’s just so celebrated and a fun thing. You really can’t get that in a normal wedding setting.”
The couple’s wedding ceremony had an audience of a couple dozen people – strangers who had stopped inside the chapel on their way to other activities in the festival. It was an intimate affair that, despite being a room full of random strangers, was fun and full of love.
During the ceremony, Vasta and Gantt stood on the chapel stage with their “wedding party” – six bridesmaids and groomsmen who they had only met the day before as neighbors at their camps.
“That’s the beauty of the forest is like you can meet somebody at your camp and then the next day they’re giving you away your wedding,” Vasta said.
Beaming with happiness after the ceremony, Vasta said the couple was “in love and ready to celebrate.”
Another couple, who came to the festival from Chicago, tied the knot Saturday in front of two dozen friends during a small garden ceremony in Reincarnation Village, near the entrance of Sherwood Forest.
John Farmer, 35, and Jackie Escobar, 33, celebrated an intimate wedding ordained by their favorite artist, Austin-based DJ LP Giobbi, who was playing at the festival later that day.
The couple had stopped the artist after a Chicago show in March to ask her to ordain their Electric Forest wedding, and the DJ agreed.
“It was such a huge honor,” the DJ, born Leah Chisholm, told MLive after the ceremony. “This is such an important day for people and to get to be a part of that in any way is incredible.”
Escobar said getting married at the festival was an emotional experience for the couple, who have been together for seven years.
“This is home for us,” Escobar said. “We will always be coming here.”
“And we have a really good excuse to come here every year now,” Farmer added.
Electric Forest doesn’t just see marriage ceremonies, but also engagements.
Connor Brinkman proposed to Jasmine Jaeger in Reincarnation Village Friday as passersby cheered on their engagement.
The couple, both of Bolingbrook, Illinois, have been together for seven years and have a son together, and have each come to Electric Forest for the last seven years.
“This is the spot where we first realized we were meant to be together,” Brinkman told MLive after getting down on one knee and proposing to Jaeger.
In its 10th year, Electric Forest’s weekend of artful entertainment is scheduled to run through Sunday at Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan. The sold-out festival draws tens of thousands of people from around the country.
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