In a city as grand and reputable as New York City, there's no doubting the pressures there are for the land to produce everything from top-tier, world renowned acts of music, culture and entertainment, but also to encompass the opposite spectrum as well for the more discerning connoisseur of nightlife.
The minds behind BangOn have never backed down when it comes to filling in the gaps between, as daunting a task it may be. When it comes to the fusion of mainstream flair with underground, primal partying, they seem to blend the two worlds flawlessly. It sounds far fetched, but seeing is believing when you step into their world. And often what you see throughout the course of one of these events is enough to keep you coming back for more, no matter what part of town, scene, genre or style you hail from.
Diversity at its finest
Loyal to BangOn, and a prime example of the melding of the masses that gather for their ragers, we survived a two-hour hike down south to the king of the boroughs, Brooklyn, where BangOn first established their name and notoriety. We followed the GPS to the "secret location" (VIP treatment before you even hit the road) in our hybrid car (note : eco-conscious attendants were rewarded a 20% discount off ticket prices with proof of ownership, how sweet is that?) and arrived in the kind of area you'd expect a James Bond movie to be filmed at rather than feel bass thumping from the parking lot and seeing smiling faces flock to the source of this intrigue.
It was the first 18+ event of theirs I'd attended; it would've been a crime to restrain a large chunk of the headliners' fans from this kind of lineup. Pulling in names like Shpongle, Paper Diamond, Anna Lunoe, Amtrac, Liquid Stranger, XXYYXX, Autograf and my personal favorite, The Golden Pony, was bound to attract quite the crowd, and an even better mix up of crowd culture. There were spectacles as far as the eye could see, tucked into every corner of the post-industrial playground. Groovy repurposed painted schoolbuses at the Water Stage, courtesy of another family of Brooklyn party heroes, The JunXion, had their artists playing the 5th Element Stage as well. The Air Stage was none other than the BangOn boom box van, because there's always a breath of fresh air when you're chilling some 12 feet up in the sky. The bouncy castle, firebreathers, BMX jumps parallel to the audience, firebreathers blowing fire THROUGH the BMX riders' launch off the ramps!? Courtesy of the Fire Stage. And kudos to the work put into the Main Stage, or Earth in this case to sum up all of our elements. A large, white, faceted face sat over and above the performance that with the help of projection mapping, made for some far out trippy looks over the crowd all night. Between doing some sweet dance moves and acrobatics, Team Kitty Koalition brought a slew of elemental-themed nymphs who you'd find gracing the front stages, doing death-defying stunts or drifting about the party adding some serious sparkle to the crowd. Not to mention glamming it up with some fierce poses whenever a camera was pointed their way, these girls could really strut their stuff.
The pier, jutting straight out over the water, turned into a giant L shape. An expansive abandoned factory ran parallel to the shore that the festival-goers spent their time traversing the lengths of getting to and from the different attractions, performance stages, and lots of local retail (one-of-a-kind style clothing and jewelry were pretty fly souvenirs to bring back upstate). Throw in some of the local cuisine on wheels (food trucks, that is) the necessary facilities, 9 hours of nonstop dancing amongst the crowds and BangOn Elements almost makes it look easy, blending just the right amount of all the best things you'd find at an all-out camping festival. And for such a low price, I can't be the only one who thinks this kind of layout and caliber of production value could very well extend itself for a Day 2 of the same style event in near festival future. Though let's not forget BangOn bringing the boom box van to Mysteryland USA (at Bethel Woods, home of the unforgettable Woodstock '69) the past two years and being exclusive entertainment for those camping the Holy Grounds.
These guys are redefining the standards of partying. Next time you're considering an overpriced concert ticket or a night of sardines packed into a club, all trying to watch the sole attraction, consider the party that really encapsulates music, performance, arts and culture. Hell, they're the only people I know that can fit kandi ravers, slinky models, technoheads and hipsters all under one proverbial roof with the outcome being total success and not a riot.