Traversing up a rocky trail amidst the thick Pennsylvania woodlands, we stumble upon a quaint summer camp. A ‘Welcome to Elements’ sign greets us as we gravitate toward a cool blue lake, glistening in warm sunlight. Cabins are flooded with colorfully bold decorations and disco balls, with patrons already crowded around personal DJ set ups on their porches - blasting house, techno, dubstep, and anything else that gets their feet moving.
The attendees are dressed in their brightest, eye-catching ensembles and are already covered in glitter. We've made it to Elements Lakewood Music Festival, the annual event where thousands of like-minded dance music lovers make their home for three days each year.
And the party has only just begun.
The unique and immensely interactive Elements Music and Arts Festival returned to Lakewood, Pennsylvania for its third year this past Memorial Day Weekend. With its endless activities, awe-inspiring art installations, and wide variety of music across seven different stages, the gathering has something for everyone to get lost in. Gaining the reputation as an “adult summer camp", patrons are wildly immersed in a festival wonderland.
With such a diverse line-up, each stage has their own unique vibe, combining unbelievable visual production with eccentric dancers and performers. The Air Stage, a hidden gem tucked into the lush woods, was the perfect place to welcome the sunrise and continue the party until the early hours of each morning. Hosting artists like Seth Troxler, Damian Lazarus, Francesca Lombardo, and Tara Brooks, the energy there was ethereal from dusk till dawn.
Each night, the Fire Stage illuminated the festival with performers quite literally on fire. Artists like Disclosure, Sam Blacky and Justin Martin delivered powerful, high-energy sets. The Earth Stage supplied everyone’s essential fix of bass, funk, and jam bands. Daytime sessions were the perfect time to bliss out to acts like 5AM Trio and Choppy Oppy, while night time brought out the lively big guns such as CloZee (whose track 'Secret Place' was expertly performed), Big Gigantic, and Liquid Stranger.
If you needed a the prime location for those daytime hangouts, the Water Stage was the area of choice. While DJ's spun records on a sandy, lakeside dance floor, festival goers could also take a dip in the lake or navigate the area via canoe or paddle board. For the night owls, the Theatre Stage acted as an indoor hub for bass music all-night-long, with artists such as Of The Trees and Stylust. If that wasn't the vibe for the moment, the Pool Haus served up a low-key zone to spend your time dancing well after the sun went down.
Aside from the music, exploring the grounds was arguably the greatest part of the festival. Festival-goers were immersed in music and art most anywhere they went. Patrons were encouraged to journey beyond the stages and through the woods to find secret installations, hidden places to relax, and secluded renegade spots for dancing.
The environment and people that occupy the festival grounds made it easy to freely express yourself, embrace your inner child and provoke creativity during your time there. The beauty of the site, the stages, and the spaces that were curated provided an atmosphere that left you feeling energetically charged.
Elements never fails to draw the most dedicated, vibrant, and community-oriented crowd. Now in its third year, the festival continued to add new additions, growing considerably while still maintaining the same intimate vibe it had to begin with. As the Elements family grows vaster and stronger every year, we’re sure the festival will remain an East Coast favorite. It's certainly one of ours.
Kelsey Boyd is Mixmag's Digital Content Intern, follow her on Twitter
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