Elements day one
This years Elements Music and Arts Festival (Elements) may have been the greatest festival of my life. The festival has been steadily growing in attendance and quality. It absolutely blows my mind how the event organizers outdo themselves from the previous year before.
After a quick camp set up with my squad, we headed out into the main grounds to explore and have some adventures before the night’s sets. For those not familiar with Elements, the festival has six stages named appropriately.
The stages are The Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Alchemy, and Theatre. Between and at the stages, one will find thought-provoking and beautiful art installations. My friends went to grab some water and have an adventure while I split off to snap some pictures. The amount of work that went into the art installations was mind-boggling. Even without the music, the art alone is enough for anyone in attendance to be satisfied with a feeling of “money well spent.”
Luckily for me, I live only about forty-five minutes from the festival so I had no trouble loading up my car and heading to the festival’s designated parking area. My friends and I quickly loaded our camping gear into a shuttle and got onto the bus for a brief ride to the festival grounds. While on the bus, we were greeted by one of the staff members, who welcomed all of us the festival. He gave us helpful instructions and inspired all of us to get into the festival spirit.
Focused on snapping photos, I finally arrived at my first stage; The Earth Stage. 2melo was playing a relaxing set that really set the mood (no pun intended) when suddenly I screamed as I took notice to a troll camouflaged perfectly in the trees. I laughed when I finally realized that I was as looking at a person in a costume. Little moments like this is why Elements has 25K likes on just Facebook alone and the reason my friends spend all winter reminiscing about the festival.
Near the Earth Stage sat an Alice In Wonderland themed art installation. I commented allowed how beautiful it was and jokingly asked if I could sit down for some tea. Someone walking by heard my question and yelled: “of course, we’re all mad here.” By the time I was done exploring The Earth Stage, my friends had returned and we decided to stay and all danced to Beat Kitty, Teddy Midnight, and Choppy Oppy respectively.
Choppy Oppy ended at 7:30 P.M. and I still had not even explored the rest of the grounds. We headed back to camp to eat and prepare for what the rest of the night had in store. When everyone was ready we ran to The Fire Stage to catch the tail end of Steve Darko’s set and then Fisher right after. The Fire Stage had a giant moving dragon in the likes of what one would see at Burning Man that blew flames from its mouth. Flames also erupted from the stage in sync with the music, giving the crowd a warm feeling inside and out. Then it was time to head back to The Earth Stage and see Pendulum People who put on a refreshing avant-garde performance.
At this time, some of my friends had gone to see Disclosure’s DJ set. So we all met at a designated meeting area in excitement for CloZee. When CloZee came on stage, the crowd roared; it was clear she was the highlight of the night. After her set ended at 2:00 AM, I was exhausted and headed back to camp to sleep. However, my friends still had some energy left in them and were raving about Russ Liquid and Damian Lazarus. Some did not return to camp until well after 6:00 AM because they lost track of time dancing at The Theatre stage indoors to MindSet, Agent Zero, and Bandikook.
Elements day two
It was then time for some adventures. My friends and I toured the whole grounds and I was floored after seeing each art installation after another. The festival grounds are not huge in comparison to say Coachella or Firefly, but they feel that way despite being able to walk anywhere within ten minutes. I think this is because of the sheer number of things to see and do at Elements. I wished that it was more than three days. Alas, is it not.
I woke up around 10:00 AM to smell of bacon. That is not a joke, my friends actually brought a grill for that specific reason. After a quick breakfast, I was eager to explore the other stages. So my friends and I changed into our bathing suits, took some CBD gummies to ease our aches from the day before, and headed to the beach which also functioned as The Water Stage. The first thing I noticed was the rainbow of colors everywhere I looked. The sun was out and people were dancing in the water to Cakewalk. There was a circular metal installation one could sit on placed in the water and my friends had a blast swimming and kayaking around it.
Instead of filling up my camelback at the water stations, I grabbed some drinks at Tania’s Kitchen. I then kicked off my shoes and sat on the dock and enjoyed the beautiful weather and met some really chill likeminded people. For lunch, we headed to the vendors just down from the beach and had some of the best pizza I have ever tasted.
Just like the day before, my friends and I met back at camp to recap our individual adventures and prepare for another night of great music, art, people, and positive vibes. My one friend recounted her peaceful time at the Yoga Tent, while another raved about a tipi filled with the ambiance of drums that rumbled his chest. It was raining so we had to grab our boots and ponchos. We stopped in a room with a stripper pole and mirrors on the wall and had philosophical conversations with strangers. Those strangers soon became friends, and the friends you make at elements are friends you can keep for life as most people live within a few hours of the festival.
The night was again filled with fun and revelry. I caught my first set at The Air Stage and danced to Tony Y Not. After Space Bacon, again my friends and I went to The Theatre Stage and I had a blast snapping photos of Of The Trees and Tygris. Finally, our last stop of the night was Arnaud Muller at the Pool Haus; an indoor stage only used on Saturday and Sunday. By the time we left, the sun was coming up.
Elements day three
On the third day, I did not wake to the smell of bacon. However, I did wake to the smell of Elements festival grounds in Lakewood, PA and I love the smell of Lakewood in the morning. Being that it was Sunday, I wanted to relax. So, again I had a peaceful day at the beach. By then I had made so many new friends that people were coming and to and from the beach just to meet up and talk about the previous two days with me. Sunday was particularly sunny, so I rubbed some Unicorn Snot (which is glittered sunscreen) on my neck and shoulders. It was SPF 30 and I needed it or else I would be a lobster for the rest of the week.
Just prior to the sun going down, I realized I did not have my phone on me. I panicked as I thought to myself as to where it could be. I quickly had a friend call it. To my surprise, a good Samaritan answered, had already been walking around asking people if they had lost the phone, and walked all the way down to the beach to return it to me. It is people like that one can will find at Elements.
When the darkness of night was starting to creep in, it set the stage for another night of dancing and raving with my closest friends. The Fire Stage, although hot, was chilled out by a downtempo Timber set that I checked out on my way from a quick stop at the water station nearby. The rest of the night I was glued to The Earth Stage. Liquid Stranger was incredible. So many people around me said that the Swedish born DJ was the main reason for their stay at Lakewood. When the set was over, it seemed like not a soul moved. That is because Big Gigantic was next and no one dared miss it. Then ended with Justin Martin on the amazing fire stage.
My friends and I did some more site seeing and met more interesting people. I laughed as some told me funny stories and cried as some bared their hearts with me. Elements is a magical place. It is a safe space for free self-expression. It is a sacred place for art and music. For forging new friendships or rekindling new ones. One can dance like a fool and no one is staring. Everyone you meet is friendly and one can really feel the love in the air. The good vibes everyone talks about, whether something that exists in the physical world or only in the mind, are guaranteed to be felt at Elements Lakewood. I will be back next year and I will yearn for that day until next year.