BangOn!NYC’s Elements – A New York Summer Highlight
I had been looking forward to 2016’s Elements Music and Arts Festival ever since 2015’s event was over. The festival, hosted by well-known event hosts BangOn!NYC, manages to pack the excitement of a 3-day festival into a single day on the Brooklyn waterfront.
At Elements, the creativity and good vibes of Burning Man come together with the grittiness of Brooklyn to create a truly unique experience with a setting that I can only think to describe as, “dystopian chic.” The themed stages (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Fifth Element) are surrounded by rock piles, broken cars and an abandoned warehouse, making for a vibe that feels like a post-apocalyptic movie set. It may sound strange seeing as many music festivals try to go the route of glitz and glam, but it results in an experience that’s full of character, effortlessly cool (although it’s obvious a ton of hard work goes into this event), and totally unpretentious. I loved it, and seemingly so did everyone else.
Even if you weren’t listening to music there were a plethora of things to do at Elements. You could watch performers do tricks on aerial silks, take in a wakeboarding demonstration, jump in the bouncy castle, relax inside an old grain silo, play with the giant skeleton marionette, or peruse the wares of an array of talented artists. Even though it was one of the most scorching days of the summer, there were plenty of opportunities to cool down and stay hydrated.
My only regret about Elements is that I couldn’t be at multiple stages at once. I started my day with the bass-filled deliciousness of Bleep Bloop, followed by the hip hop beats of Oshi. I was happy to finally get to see Sweater Beats live, with his killer build-drop sequences made the crowd go absolutely nuts. I had been waiting not-so-patiently for Opiuo‘s set, and his funky, upbeat tunes were nothing short of bouncy. The heat did absolutely nothing to stop the audience from getting down to this one.
I couldn’t be at a waterfront festival without taking in the appropriately melodic and tropical house music of Klingande. This little pit stop over at the Water stage was one of the few times all day that I left the Earth stage, where all the main action was going down.
After a long (and sweaty) day, it was finally time for headliner Gramatik. Before he took the stage we could see bolts of lightning across the sky, and some staff and security made their way through the crowd telling us that a storm was coming our way. Yet we could see that the technicians were still setting up Gramatik’s equipment, and so no one budged. When Gramatik took the stage he yelled, “We’re gonna play until the rain comes!” and, like a beautiful miracle, it never did. Gramatik gave Elements his full 90 minute set as scheduled, which wove seamlessly between his signature soulful, funky tracks and some heavier ones that were perfect for the large festival setting. The set also featured a personal favorite of mine, a version of “Kiss” by Prince with Gibbz on vocals. This performance, combined with the amazing nighttime visuals of the Earth stage, made for a memorable end to the day.
When the festival was over, many attendees headed to the official after party to keep the night going, but my crew and I all went to our respective homes to shower and go to bed. It was a hot, exhausting, and absolutely wonderful day. BangOn!NYC knows how to throw a truly amazing party and they bring out some of the most fun, friendly and lively people.
Just like last year, I’m already anticipating next year’s event. See you at Elements 2017!
Photo credit: Jim Simonetti
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