Party contingents from all over Brooklyn convened in Lakewood, Pennsylvania this past weekend for a rural edition of the Elements festival that BangOn! inaugurated last year in Red Hook (it’ll return there this August). From Friday afternoon till Monday morning, attendees danced, relaxed and caroused around four stages, a roller rink, wellness tents, and an all-out techno club run by Bushwick’s Members Only. The rain that was predicted for the weekend didn’t deter the thousands from partying on as the literal elements of water and earth made for a muddy party.
Though many of the acts, attendees and staff hailed from Philly, central New Jersey, and all over New England, Bushwick’s influence couldn’t be ignored. Whole cabins, tent cities and buses acted as clubhouses for the party families from JunXion, House of Yes, BAE, Bushwig, Kostume Kult and Tiki Disco, just to name a few. When their respective DJs took the stages, the families would come along to help hype up the crowds and keep them moving. Brooklyn’s own DJ 2Melo described this support system as “a new energy that everybody can be a part of.”
In the midst of it all were yoga sessions, heath and wellness events, various vendors and even a panel about Women in Music and Nightlife that was produced by BAE’s Reem Abdou. Moderated by DJ Mimi Von Koerber and Alley Elle, co-founder of In Real Life, which documents the lives of young women in the social media landscape, the panelists from across the nightlife spectrum talked of their successes, struggles, and the wisdom they’ve gained as they’ve made their way in the industry. The soft talk with outdoor seating was helpful as the panelists reflected on a business that has them on their feet in sometimes windowless rooms.
Elements Lakewood went out with an explosive finale featuring a giant flame thrower that lit up the Fire stage’s crowd for the DJs of The Golden Pony, which include Bang On! co-founder Tim Mankiewicz. Along with fellow founders Brett Herman and Gene Bradley, they paused the music to thank the audience and then celebrated their success on a stage crowded with their main staff. Champagne was sprung from coolers and I even saw Tim pass his bottle of Patron to a fan standing on the tippiest of their toes.
Suddenly, the voice of an old man rose through the thundering beats that bounced off the trees back onto the crowd. It was the speech made by Max Yasgur, from the documentary Woodstock, that made the humble dairy farmer a household name. As the beat slowed and dancers listened, his words rang true almost fifty years later not far from where they were given: “…the important thing you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I… God bless you for it!”