Elements Lakewood is an artistic hub for music, creativity and expression - Features - Mixmag
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Elements Lakewood is an artistic hub for music, creativity and expression

Uncovering the unique vision behind this innovative and enticing music festival

  • In association with Elements Lakewood
  • 1 May 2019

Nestled within the lush and enveloping greenery of the Pennsylvania forest beside a cool blue lake is the oasis of Elements Lakewood Festival. While thousands of revelers travel to this musical oasis, the environment delivers a more intimate feel with secluded nooks throughout the grounds offering creative outlets for mindful exploration. On today's music festival circuit the attraction has shifted from focusing on mainly the music, to now offering enticing experiences that go beyond the realms of reality. Elements is one such event that is carrying the torch for this approach into the future.

In just its third year, the annual event held over Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27, 2019, has blossomed into one of the premiere gatherings in the northeast, delivering an immersive atmosphere packed with cutting-edge music, diverse activities and workshops, wellness programs and more. Now the event continues to expand, this time with a stacked line-up including Disclosure, Justin Martin, Seth Troxler, Big Gigantic, Sofi Tukker and Damian Lazarus, among countless others. That said, it's what's happening outside of the stages that makes this event something truly special.

Ahead of this year's Elements Lakewood Festival - where Mixmag will host the Air Stage headlined by Seth Troxler, Damian Lazarus, Francesca Lombardo and more - we sit down with BangOn!NYC co-founders Brett Herman and Timothy Monkiewicz (the producers behind Elements Lakewood), as well as Art Director Julianne Irene, to uncover the ethos behind this magical festival and explore what new experiences they have in store. Read on to find out...

Grab tickets and view the complete line-up for Elements Lakewood Festival here

Co-founders and partners: Brett Herman & Timothy Monkiewicz

How did you come up with the concept for Elements Music & Arts Festival?

Tim: It came from our love of diverse experiences in music, art, and entertainment, and wanting to bring them all together for a long weekend in a naturally beautiful environment. For us the “elements” coincide with your general vibes and music taste. We relate “fire” to bangin' house music and high energy sports, “earth” to jam, bass music, and organic living, “air” to deep, techno music and yoga and wellness, and “water” to disco and being wild and colorful. Of course all of us feel like a different element at some point, and it’s wonderful that we can bring everyone together under one roof with a love and appreciation of art and community.

Brett: It's a wonderfully broad theme that gives us a huge canvas on which to shape and structure our ideas and designs...also if it rained a bit, everyone would have an instant joke: "Ah well, that's just more of the Elements!"

Doing a comprehensive camping/activities event adds many more challenges to the already difficult task of creating a music festival experience. Why did it feel important to create that atmosphere? What does the team have planned for this year?

Brett: One of our favorite things about Elements Lakewood is the "Back to School" vibe as it's located on an actual summer camp on a lake! It wouldn't be camp without all the various activities: kayaking, rock climbing, human foosball, zip lining, mini-golf, basketball, tetherball, volleyball and more — we have our phenomenal “Funtender” Rawb Lane to thank for the coordination! We also have a fire-walking ceremony Sunday night before the Viking Funeral!

What kind of community does Elements create?

Tim: A diverse community of open-minded humans who are adventurous and kind to others. Folks who respect nature and the arts, and leave others feeling positive after interacting with one another.

Which artists are you particularly excited for this year on the Elements line-up?

Tim: We love all the artists we book, but I have never seen Sofi Tukker or Stavroz play live, so I’m extra stoked for them. While I have seen Seth Troxler play many times, I've been trying to book him for five years and he finally said yes, so I’m excited to see him on an Elements stage! We also put some really cool regional live bands like Escaper and Space Bacon in great slots on our Earth stage, I’m stoked to see them rock it out.

Brett: It kills me to not see every act we book live, but it’s physically impossible! I love the evolution of Damian Lazarus — it'll be the third time he's played at one of our events and I can't wait to hear what he has in store for us at Lakewood! I've seen The Funk Hunters now in four different countries at four different festivals, I’ve been wanting to get them out for years and am tickled pink it finally worked...but some of my most memorable dancing experiences in years past have been with our favorite local NYC heroes at our smaller stages!

What do you hope people will take away from the Elements experience?

Tim: A year’s worth of memories! We want to leave our festival-goers with experiences they can laugh about all year long and beyond with their new and old friends from the festival.

Brett: The first time I went to Burning Man it was all I could talk about for the next year — "second year fever" is the clinical term, so we hope to inspire a similarly obsessive zeal that will last a lifetime! So many new and old friends are making this their third consecutive year, and we couldn't be more humbled. From inception, the main idea was that each event would outdo the last — this Lakewood will be one for the ages.

Art Director: Juliane Irene

How does the Lakewood setting inspire your art direction?

Julianne: There is something mystical about a forest grown wild. Here I am inspired by the symphony of silence, by the colors in a day, and the natural beauty that forms gracefully between the ground and sky. I am amused with the equation between art and nature and find that in creating an entirely new world, the two must bend the rules of time and space together. The goal is to subtly construct illusions between these delicate intricacies, weaving the phenomena of landscape with a clever idea, or a pretty sculpture, to make it feel like you’ve stumbled upon a strange place that’s been here all along.

Tell us about the Elements Sustainable Arts Program.

The Sustainable Arts Program is dedicated to artists that put their creative energies into environmental and humanitarian aid. These initiatives drive the cause-and-effect to clean water, fresh air, an undamaged planet, or a thriving community. This is the principle, the blueprint, of Elements. Why is sustainability an important cause to promote for a music/arts festival like Elements? Julianne: Music festivals offer the ability to come together as a community and embrace relationships through musical, visual, and performance art. In turn, all of these relationships, all of us, are affected by the environmental crisis. Event producers are driven to create happiness, and euphoria motivates change. This can be so profoundly utilized to continue growth outside of these special places and humbly bring them home.

Can you tell us about some of the art you're bringing in this year?

Art that sends a message, makes you wonder, encourages betterment, or sparks tom-foolery has been the focus behind the 2019 artistic curations. Have a laugh with ‘Frick Frack Blackjack,’ find something nice at the Complementary Bar, or take a stroll down the Rabbit Hole for an over-the-top immersive art experience.

Grab tickets and view the complete line-up for Elements Lakewood Festival here

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