Last year was my first year experiencing Gratitude Migration, a three day music and art festival on the New Jersey Coast in sleepy little Keansburg. I had gone to the festival on a whim of a request by my husband with two other friends and four of us spent all weekend exploring and enjoying what was probably the best festival all year for us. Leaving the festival last year, we vowed to come back this year with more of our crew because it was too good of a secret to keep to ourselves.
Compared to last year's headliners and stages hosts such as, Eli Escobar, Davi, Oona Dahl, Kellam, ebb + flow, PEX and others, there weren't as many big names this year. This year, Gratitude Migration put together a line up filled with strong and talented underdogs within the Brooklyn music community with headliners such as, Moon Boots, David Starfire, David Kiss, Dirty Looks, Brooklyn Gypsies and others.
With the help of Gratitude's new Theme Camp incubator program this year, thirty or more of our friends from Boston, New York and Los Angeles became the Cool Beans theme camp for this year's festival. There is something to be said about a group of organizers whose goal wasn't just to throw a festival and drop some heavy headliners, but to create and encourage everyone to have an experience. Pair that with a beach covered in colorful assortment of pool floats and two miles of art and installations, Gratitude Migration created a beautiful village.
The festival had a schedule for music, performances and activities for your well-being. In fact there were so many things to do, they handed out a 50-page booklet on the who, what, where and when at the festival. There were over nine dome installations by the Brooklyn-based, Archimedes Design crew who ran a contest for the theme camps this year to win their very own Archimedes Dome (Cool Beans Won!).
Activities ranged from Make Your Own Pasty to Acrobatic Yoga to a Shabbat Dinner. There were people and performances in costumes that interacted with the crowd as well as pyro-performers who made appearances during DJ's sets and of course, the unforgettable sunrise ceremony on Sunday morning. Mermaids, fairies and butterflies came alive on the beach from sunrise to sunset and the stages were beautifully crafted.
There were four music stages, Gratitude (Main), Lightning Society, Junxion and the Live Music Biergarten (who were our neighbors!). Among these stages I was mesmerized by sets from Travisty, Tasha Blank, Amir Telem, Nordvolk, The Golden Pony, Shnay, David Kiss, Ramy, Brooklyn Gypsies, Blu Detiger, Adam Gibbons, Moon Boots, Kellam, Ryan Clover, Pendulum People and that is not even a fraction of the acts which was curated by David Kiss himself.
Gratitude Migration brought an overwhelming sense of inner peace to my friends and I this weekend as it did last year. Even though Friday, we had rain, it did not stop the few thousand people from showing up on day one and pitching their tents. The Gratitude stage's pyrotechnic production kept everyone warm as we boogied and danced to Tasha Blank, who was probably one of my top sets from the entire weekend!
The entire festival's vibe was joyous and exuberant. Everyone was dressed in sensational attire and bathing suits as well as some birthday suits! There was not a single negative feeling from anyone and you were always greeted with a smile. The staff were incredibly friendly and the security team were always gentle (yet firm) when it came to crowd control.
Last year, the bathrooms would get a little gross, but the festival organizers must have heard our cries because this year, every day, the port-a-potties were hosed down and cleaned up and had toilet paper. Most of us went to them with our bare feet and the floors were clean. There were FREE water fill up stations all over the beach and the Gratitude Volunteer tent walked around giving out free ice cherry lemonade! There was a bodega that sold cases of beer as well as a culinary area that had food trucks with delicious local goodness to satisfy our hunger.
Gratitude Migration meets every expectation without a person ever having a single one. We entered the festival with heavy souls from our day to day lives and we all left feeling lighter and having found some form of peace. You spend three days enjoying the beautiful private beach and enjoying music by artists you have never heard before. Nothing beats having a remarkable festival so close to home so if you live in the Northeast, mark your calendars for mid-July, 2018 because you are going to want to spend it at Gratitude Migration!
One of the greatest things about the festival is that there were barely any phones out. So check out all the amazing shots from Gratitude Migration taken by, Sasha B Photo, Brittany NO FOMO, Redlite Photos, Greg McMahon and Meghan Meyer here: