BangOnNYC’s! Elements Lakewood Festival truly outdid itself for it’s second installment in the Poconos Mountains on Memorial Day weekend. There was an overwhelming sense of bliss, excitement and comfort that seemed to pour out of every orifice of every attendee as they descended deep into what felt like the middle of nowhere on Friday to commit unadulterated hedonism at its absolute finest.
BangOn! Couldn’t have done a better job choosing the Camp Lavi Summer Camp as the festival location. I can only describe Camp Lavi as being an exact replica of how summer camps are portrayed in films. Nestled far away from anything and everything, Camp Lavi is complete with a beautiful lake, forest paths, large fields, basketball courts, cabins, a dining hall, and many, many structures that ended up becoming clubs during the late night.
When you first walk onto the festival grounds you feel safe and welcome. The shuttle drivers, people at the box office, security, and everyone working to help make this weekend great, truly have supported the organizers vision of a haven for the weird. There is no threat coming into this festival and I felt completely welcome and comfortable from walking in until walking out.
The day was absolutely beautiful on Friday. Hot, but beautiful. Crews and all the beautiful folks began to enter in hoards as the day progressed. Everyone was donned in colorful festival attire as they began to set up their tents or get nestled into their cabins to prepare for the wild weekend ahead with 8 stages of music non-stop.
With upgrades since last year, the stages stayed true to their setting. The Air Stage was nestled deep along a forest path that was extensively decorated and lit up at night to become nothing short of a magical forest. The stage itself was bigger than last year, was presented beautifully, and blended well in the forest habitat. Carlita kicked things off here at 2pm and the stage went deep into the night hosting music and vibes from the likes of Lee Burridge, Oona Dahl, and Jamie Jones whose sets were nothing short of spectacular.
Also, in the forest, and a new stage this year, Alchemy, kicked things off with Boston’s Erlon, who started the nonstop grooving at this stage until the wee hours of the AM. This stage was an excellent addition and hosted many local talents in a beautiful spacious area nestled under a tent under the trees.
If you kept following the path it would bring you to the always exciting Fire Stage. This stage was better than last year and continued to release fire at the will of the DJ. Friday was the Dirtybird Players takeover and hosted Ardalan, Fisher, and Claude Von Stroke. The tech house bangers were a plenty as everyone bounced crazy on the dance floor and got down hard with the fire blaring. This is a truly captivating stage that brings nothing but serious heat in every way possible.
Back at the Earth Stage, which is located near the camping uphill and away from the other stages in a spacious field, 2melo kicked things off at 3:30pm. The stage went hard into the night donning acts CharlestheFirst, Sphongle, and Jai Wolf. This is the stage for those that aren’t all about house and like to get a little wobbly.
Everyone partied deep into the night Friday. The Alchemy, Wub Hub and Gym stage lit it up until the wee hours of the morning as everyone’s excitement kept them plenty awake. It was a perfect Friday and the vibe was excellent all around.
Waking up Saturday was a chore for most. When you finally got out of the zonked mode, the unbelievably beautiful day had so much to offer. Most, including myself, flocked down to the opening of the Water Stage with The 1989. The Water Stage was placed directly in front of the swimming area of the lake and it truly became a party. With small water crafts available for use, a swing, and even a pirate ship, it was a recipe for everyone to party hard under the hot sun and swim in the lake all day long.
The Air Stage and Earth Stage opened for business in the early afternoon and paved way for an incredible night of music featuring Troyboi at Earth and Yokoo and Thugfucker at Air until late night. The Fire Stage set ablaze by The Golden Pony and a ridiculous set by Chris Lake were the highlights of the evening.
After two beautiful days, we all woke up to rain on Sunday. It wasn’t too bad and to be honest, no one really seemed to care that much. A little mud couldn’t ruin anyone’s time! Sunday was the day I was looking forward to most with an epic array of performances ahead. There is always a vibe to get as much in on Sunday as possible. A huge highlight from Sunday was the Desert Hearts takeover at the Fire Stage that lasted all afternoon into the night. The Desert Hearts Crew threw down hard and the fire was raging all the way until Mikey Lion handed the decks over for the BangOn! B2B to close out this incredible stage.
Also Sunday, Rezz closed out the Earth Stage in incredible fashion. It seemed like her set drew the biggest crowd of the festival. Deep at the Air Stage, DJ Three, Patrice Baumel, and Maceo Plex blew everyone away with incredible sets worthy to close out this magical, mind-bending stage.
Attendees continued to party deep into the wee hours of the morning before reluctantly concluding that it’s almost time to go. It was a hard reality to face for many and I believe one more day added to this weekend would have been welcomed.
Overall, this years Elements Lakewood was magical. It has truly become a unique festival experience for any adult that wishes to be taken back to summer camp with all their friends and favorite beats. Big shout out to the promoters, organizers, the performers, and the attendees for truly creating something special that seemed to go off without a problem in sight. This festival really is a wild ride and I am impressed with how it was pulled off this year with all bugs from last year seemingly worked out. I predict this festival to continue to gain momentum and become a staple for Memorial Day weekend pleasure. Elements Lakewood is the perfect way to start the summer and get the vibe going!