Last month, Bang On! NYC held their third annual single-day event Elements Music Festival at the Brooklyn Waterfront, bringing some of the best established and up and coming electronic talent to their elements themed stages. Attendees were also treated to an assortment of food trucks, immersive art, and climbable structures for those in search of the best views. As the name of the festival suggests, the stages were named after earth’s essential elements – Earth, Water, Air, Fire and the newly added Fifth Element Stage. Each stage featured music that lined up with the name of the stage, the Water Stage for example hosted most of the deep house and techno artists. This year, Elements brought in their largest crowd yet, capping off at about 8,500 attendees. Judging by the festival experience at Elements, that number will likely grow in coming years.
Upon entering the festival, the Water Stage was immediately in view, surrounded by natural rock structures that almost looked like they were put in place for the aesthetic of the festival. The Water Stage featured some of the brightest in deep and soulful house scene, including the masked and beaked Claptone, The Golden Pony, and an hour & 30 minute set from Klingande. While these artists were gracing the stage, attendees could peer over to their right and catch a glimpse of tightrope walkers executing routines along to the music.
Claptone performing on the Water Stage. Photo by Tony Colasurdo.
As we made our way further into the festival, the next stage encountered was the Air Stage , a small cavern-like section with the water in view, shaded from the 100 degree heat by several fabric panels. The Air Stage—appropriately titled as it was the best place for festival-goers to get some air in a cooler environment—hosted an assortment of downtempo artists, closed out by Canadian female duo Blond:ish. The Air Stage was the place to be for a cool down set before the heavy hitters began to take the stage. The Fire Stage was the exact opposite from the Air Stage in almost every way. Positioned directly in the sun, surrounded by car junkyard parts and even a few destroyed cars, you truly had to be committed to getting dirty and sweaty if you spent even more than 15 minutes listening to the bumping beats coming from this stage. The same can be said for the Fifth Element stage, as this one was set up inside an abandoned brick building, effectively functioning as a sauna once the crowd started filling in. Despite the heat, the audience never stopped moving along with the Desert Hearts Crew while they played a marathon six-hour set.
Attendees found refuge from the sun at the Air Stage. Photo by Tony Colasurdo.
Finally we arrive at the Earth Stage. Strategically placed at the furthest point from the entrance, you had to pass by every other stage in order to make it to the festival’s grandest stage. There truly was not a dull moment at the Earth Stage; the lineup featured on this stage truly had something for everybody, from the likes of Prince Fox and Oshi early in the day, to the three headlining closers Ghastly, Mija & Gramatik. Ghastly lit up the stage as the sun began to give way to the cooler evening. His set blasted us with a combination of hard hitters as well as old-school jams including what we now know to be his recently released song “If Ur Listening.” Wearing her very recognizable ‘I Wanna Riot’ t-shirt, Mija brought a plethora of different sounds to the stage including a taste of heavy metal and classical along with her original song “Better” with Vindata and Claude VonStroke’s tech house masterpiece “Rain Break.”
Ghastly blasts his finger guns on the Earth Stage. Photo by Tod Seelie.
As the final performer of the evening, Gramatik pulled out all the stops during his set. As he jumped on stage to take his place behind his keyboard, he was joined by Brooklyn artist Gibbz who jammed out on guitar throughout the entire set, save for a few songs when he replaced his guitar with a microphone. Adrian Lau also joined the two of them on stage to rap over a few songs, including their hit “Satoshi Nakamoto” off Gramatik’s recent album Epigram. Gramatik also rolled through several of his classics including Grizmatik’s “Digital Liberation is Mad Freedom.” As his set came to a close, so did an incredible day and night of music, art, vibes and 8,500 new friends.
The third annual Elements Music Festival Brooklyn was an experience for the ages, and certainly one of the best days of the summer. Here’s looking forward to the 2017 edition; your move BangOn! NYC, what surprises are we in for next year, perhaps an extra day? Stay tuned.
Gramatik reps Brooklyn at Elements Festival in August. Photo by Chris Lazzaro.
A lit up Earth Stage during the closing sets of the night. Photo by Chris Lazzaro