I can describe my experience at Elements in one, singular encounter. As I walked around a Red Hook dock filled with fairies, hanging skeletons, sporadic circus acts, and a young woman in a Wonder Woman costume demolishing any hoola-hoop competition, I decided to approach a young man dressed in steampunk galore and carrying a walking stick he made of orchids. I asked him what inspired his getup to which he responded, ” Why not?”. That response literally encompasses the world of Elements Music & Arts Festival, “Why Not?”.
Immediately, you understand that Elements is a world meant for those that wish to feel liberated. Crazy costumes and wide smiles are common throughout as the festival attracts what feels like the bohemians, dreamers, and the overall alienated of society, which is fantastic. The setting of the festival was perfect for the outcast atmosphere because it was dockyard filled with abandoned warehouses and cars. Thus, it felt more like a wasteland that was converted into a world for all those that were thought weird when they were actually brilliant.
Although Elements named and incorporated decorations of Earth, Wind, Air, and Fire to each of their 5 stages, the festival had more of a cool dystopia feel because of its location. For example. the Fire stage was makeshift arena of massive tires and abandoned cars. Moreover, hoses were used as dancers bounced around the tires to splash the audience whom were bumping and grinding to the music and mud. This was by far my favorite stage because of its intimacy, as it was the smallest of the mini- stages/arenas, and the grungiest. It felt like we were in Mad Max Fury Road mosh-pit of amazing Hip- Hop Mixes. This stage was consistent in bringing some of the best mixes, mash-ups, and original tracks I have heard from today’s Hip-Hop DJ’s. Moreover, it is always a welcomed ideas to have charismatic dancers splash people with water in 104 degree heat. Yet, the other stages did not fall behind in their musical or visual offerings.
Each Elemental stage carried amazing acts that musically matched the elements. Fire had Hip Hop, Air had Trance-Electronica, Water had Trap/ EDM, Earth had a combination of each, and the Fifth Element was pure rave music. Again, it was their location that elevated them. Earth was the main stage, and had the widest area. It was surrounded by abandoned buses that people climbed and circus acts, which added an exuberant freedom to be young. The Fifth Element stage was a small abandoned warehouse decorated with stunningly “trippy” art, and basically a raver’s Heaven. The Water stage was the first one, and seemed like a Medieval castle of which excellent DJ’s and costumed personalities entertained the crowd. The Air Stage was on the water and felt like a tranquil, trance-like arena for tp people dance and absorb music like the sun. Altogether they provided a perfect delicious scenarios for people to live, love, and laugh.
Go Climb a bus, and Dance! Go Climb a wall of rope like a Spider! Go Jump in an inflatable bounce house! Again, Why Not? People were having the time of their lives, and that kind of level of happy is not often encountered, especially when it is a celebration of people’s strangeness. If you were not getting your body painted and glittered, you were probably dancing like a proud maniac. Though getting between stages was not always fluid and easy, it was only because the festival was massive. It took up the whole dockyard, which allowed people to climb on trucks and rock-piled mountains to feel like the odd kings and queens of madly beautiful youth.
These are the acts that played Elements, and they were amazing! Check out my review of a few of my faves! I would really love if you check out their names and music. Each one was of high caliber. Elements Music & Arts Festival was on August 13, 2016 and was brought to you by Bang On NYC!, which always has unique, musical events throughout the year. Click here for more information.