The seventh installment Electric Forest 2017 ran for two weekends at the end June up to the start July; headlined by acts such as ODESZA, Flume, Above & Beyond and DJ Snake, in addition to dozens talented supporting acts. Although not running for the longest time, it has managed to form a special connection with the attendees and establish itself as one the most prominent US electronic music festivals.
This year, however, Electric Forest decided to include something different to the whole experience, teaming up with headliner Bassnectar and To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-pritable organization dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Electric Forest found a way for people to emotionally connect to each other and to anonymous operators, who talked to them and urged them to stay strong throughout their inner struggles.
With the help Art Collective The Grand Artique, they created a system that had ten phones around the festival connect to an old-school telephone switchboard, that allowed them to communicate with each other and with the operators; among them being none other that Lorin Ashton aka. Bassnectar. He and other volunteers, like The Floozies, anonymously talked to the festival attendees and provided emotional support and hope on their inner struggles. This is what Grand Artique's Wesley Thompson said about their effort:
In recognition World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10 - 16), Electric Forest released "Your Story Is Important", a heartfelt video featuring footage from the experiment, where Lorin Ashton's compassionate words manage to relieve or even heal the emotional pain people who picked up the phone were struggling with.
Susan, one the attendees who happened to pick up the phone, quickly admitted to having lost her cousin to suicide a year ago. Now, months after her conversation, she recalls:
This was an eye-opening experience for Bassnectar as well. He thoroughly expressed his thoughts on his website, and also told Westword Magazine in an interview:
Mental health issues are absolutely not something to be ignored. This wonderful initiative really is pro this, and pro that love and compassion can go a long way. One can never know what the people surrounding him are struggling with, and sometimes, all it takes is a simple act kindness and understanding that could positively impact someone's mental state forever. As To Write Love on Her Arms’ Chad Moses said:
If you are currently struggling, or are concerned about the well-being a loved one, do not hesitate to seek help at: ttp://TWLOHA.com/find-help