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After Two Year Hiatus, Electric Forest Festival Returns to Rothbury

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After two years off, the music has returned. The Electric Forest Festival begins Thursday in Oceana County.

The festival was expected to celebrate their 10th year in 2020 but the pandemic delayed the past two years. It is back this weekend with a sold out crowd of 50,000 people rolling into Rothbury.

“It’s awesome, everybody loves it,” said Jason Alger, who lives across the street from the entrance.

The festival goers began arriving Tuesday. The music starts Thursday, and Rothbury becomes the center of the electronic music world for a week.

“A lot of people come in from all over, a lot of countries,” said Susan Page, who works in nearby New Era. “It’s kind of amazing.”

Page works at The Artisan, a Mexican restaurant nearby. She says 50,000 people coming into town can only help business but this year, the festival is making it a point to try to keep people on the campus.

“I don’t know if it’s going to hurt businesses around here. If we’re not going to have more people coming in, if they’re keeping them all and shuttling them to different places,” said Page, “I don’t know how that’s going to work.”

“I’m not getting much business,” said Alger, “I think eventually, once they start settling in, they’ll be coming and want to go see the town.”

Alger sells water, pop and food to those waiting in line. He’s also gone to every festival.

“I just like the whole thing, the whole atmosphere,” said Alger, “I don’t go out and party all night. I walk through and check out some of the art stuff.”

The traffic and crowds are a deterrent to many locals and they say you can hear the concerts from more than ten miles away

“We can hear it at night,” said Page, “You can hear the bass and it’s loud.”

It’s hard to find people that don’t like the festival but that might be because they’re not there. A lot of the locals and regulars in town just leave for the week and come back after the first for goers leave.

“They leave for the weekend,” said Page, “They just don’t want to deal with all the traffic because sometimes you can’t even get out of your driveway.”

After a decade of festivals, it seems to get easier every year for the locals.

“It’s one week out of the year,” said Alger, “It brings so much to our community, brings so many people together. Get over it.”