What happens when you take a bunch of music fanatics to a children's campgrounds? You get the eclectic Elements Music & Arts Festival at Lakewood!
With half of my friends flying out to Detroit for Movement or California for Lightening in a Bottle, it was hard not to feel like I was missing out on some fun that weekend. This year, a couple friends and I decided to stay East Coast local and were happy to find that BangOn! was hosting a full weekend of festivities a short five-hour drive from Boston in Pennsylvania. Based on what we had read, it was looking like it could be a lot of fun and definitely was better than staying home, right?
Earlier in May, I interviewed the founders of BangOn! regarding the festival and after talking with them, I began to get excited at the prospects.
This year they have announced their first full three-day camping festival, Elements in Lakewood, Pennsylvania where they boast a stage designed by The Reliquarium and visuals by Rhizome NYC. They have stage takeovers by some of our favorite promoters such as ZERO, Webster Hall, ebb + flow, Rezinate, and vyvn! On top of that, they have three indoor late-night stages, a rock n' roll themed bar with live music, a Masquerade Party hosted by Claptone, a roller disco, old school hip-hop dance contests, an ambient/classical chill-out room, art cars cruising around to secret dance parties, sunrise/sunset DJ sets on the lake and a boat stage setting sail every hour... I mean... I haven't even gotten to the line-up!
Not to mention that the original line-up was filled with savory music options and then last minute joined forces with Brooklyn's, Members Only, camp (scheduled for the following weekend) which fattened up the talent that we were going to exposed to for three days.
Nevertheless, we packed the pick-up at 2:30 AM and set out on our journey to Elements in Lakewood, PA., which turned out to be at a locally owned Jewish campsite that was brave enough to lend their campgrounds to our crazy (but lovable) crowd for three days! In my experience, first year festivals always have to go through some trials and tribulations, mainly with logistics and smooth operations. That first year is where you test things out and make mistakes, but only so that the next year round you only do better! SXMusic had a rough first year in Saint Maarten, with strikes and road blockades, but still managed to create an immaculate experience for everyone. NO ONE gets it 100% the first time around and everyone will always find something to complain about even at legendary events such as Movement!
That being said, Elements Music & Arts Festival did one thing well and that was turn a simple campground into an adult playground with activities and beautiful decorative arrangements with their stages and landscape. It was like going to a Music Festival camp with laid-back staff who inevitably joined the festivities (off the clock, of course!). The crowd themselves were unique and friendly, everyone was colorful and expressing themselves to the fullest! However, my favorite part was probably the fact that you had little to none cell reception. That was awesome, I barely saw anyone's phones out (except to take pictures) and everyone was in tune to one another and enjoying the moment.
There were four major stages, Earth, Air, Fire & Water, each hosting a genre of talent. Earth stage was the bass music, Air stage had the melodic and sunrise sets, Water stage held diverse talents and Fire stage pretty much held down all the booty shaking. The most memorable acts for me were:
Nothing was more wonderful then walking through one of the premium camp sections in the middle of the night that sat at the bottom of the hill and when you looked past all the tents with their twinkle lights and trailed your eyes further past, it was as if a little village was built over night. What was once barren and empty, now was filled with life, conversation, and energy!
Elements Festival did such a good job of offering us things to explore and discover, that for the first hour or two, my friends and I could not find the Air Stage which was nestled secretly within the woods behind a giant gym. When you walked into the entrance of the woods you were welcomed with black lights showcasing neon paint and designed throughout the trial to the heart of the stage (it was literally a good five minute walk). There was an area to chill out surrounded by beautifully lit up tapestries, an abandoned mini school bus decorated to the max, a crazy trippy little walk through with mirrors and lights all leading to the holy grail that was the Air stage.
To be honest, the place was so magical and enchanting that words are not enough so, I took the liberty of putting together a few galleries so everyone can see what exactly they missed out on by not going to Elements Music & Arts Festival at Lakewood this year!
Elements Music & Arts Festival
Check out more info on their Facebook!