[Festival Review] Elements 2023 Makes Its Case for Northeast EDM Crown

Courtesy of Elements Music & Arts Festival // Adi Adinayev

Not even a thunderstorm could dampen the excitement of Elements Music and Arts Festival 2023.

On Saturday night, the forecast for the site in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, took a turn for the worse. A potent weather system barreled into the area, unleashing heavy rain and enough lightning to force festival organizers to suspend programming. Ravers streamed out of the increasingly muddy grounds and took shelter in their camp sites, many soaked to the bone. Fortunately, the storm passed and the festival crew valiantly prepared the grounds for re-entry. 

The wait only heightened what was to come: an epic, genre-hopping set from EDM legend Skrillex that had the packed crowd at the fire stage dancing, laughing, and hugging one another, elated that the party was only just starting.

Courtesy of Elements Music & Arts Festival // Jamal Eid

Skrillex, a true man of the people, thanked everyone in attendance, the security, and festival staff. He encouraged everyone to look out for one another and then blew the metaphorical lid off the venue with a frenetic onslaught of new tracks “Still Here” and song-of-the-summer “RATATA”, along with his remix with Boyz Noize of “Fine Day Anthem”

 Because of the revamped schedule, Subtronics played concurrently at the Earth Stage while Will Clarke held it down at the Air Stage.

Forging a diverse musical and artistic landscape, each stage had a different vibe. Flames accompanied beat drops at the Fire Stage, while misting tents kept revelers cool during the daytime at the Water Stage. The Air Stage, meanwhile, had a simple yet dazzling light show that took advantage of the wind brushing the trees. 

Courtesy of Elements Music & Arts Festival // Jake West

The terrain at the smaller stages, which were nestled in a small forest, was significantly easier on the feet and legs than the main stages that featured asphalt and rocks. By the end of the day, the impact of these hard surfaces caused some aches and pains. 

Overall, Elements seems to be on the cusp of becoming the premier Northeast EDM festival, as long as it irons out a few kinks. Signage getting into the festival was sparse so when iEDM's crew arrived in the evening on Friday, after the primary rush of attendees had already arrived, there were no lines to indicate where things were in the absence of signs.

A Redditor shrewdly provided some insight on Will Call's location and, after an errant turn down a one-way bridge, an MVP traffic guard guided us to the security check-in with the iconic phrase “go past three lamp posts and it's on your right.” He was right, but a bush shrouded the turn. 

Once we got through security, we were told to “find a spot” for camping. We didn't know it at the time, but the first open area we found turned out to be pretty close to the entrance. 

After getting our tents and canopy set up, we ventured into the festival grounds, the surrounding racecourse visible as we neared the security line. Anjunadeep favorite Tinlicker commanded the Air Stage, while French producer Tchami took us on a spiritual journey through some of the hottest house tracks of the moment. His priest collar and the stained-glass visuals reminded the audience that house music generates the same revelations as religion.

Courtesy of Elements Music & Arts Festival // Adi Adinayev

Bender King John Summit showed off his growing familiarity with genres outside of tech house, including drum n' bass, dubstep, and techno, closing out with his remix of “Lipstick” and “Atmosphere” by Fisher and Kita Alexander. 

Elderbrook closed the Air Stage, singing his heart out and remixing some of his favorite tracks, including “Inner Light.” 

With countless renegade stages scattered throughout the campgrounds, along with roving art cars, the party continued into the early morning hours. 

Saturday allowed us to explore the grounds more. Similar to most festivals these days, food is very expensive at Elements, so it's advised to bring some of your own meals. As far as food options go, there was a fair amount to choose from, with the best options available right before you enter the venue, such as festival mainstays Broccoli Bar and FestiBowls. Vegans had no problem finding options. There was also a 24/7 cafe that let festival goers refuel throughout and a general store packed with essentials. 

Guests could also relax and stay refreshed with yoga sessions, massages, and a sauna. While the shower situation could be improved (the lines were long and slow, and there were periods when the showers weren't working), the bathrooms and porta-potties were generally kept in good working order. 

 

GET YOUR PRESALE TICKETS FOR ELEMENTS 2024 HERE!

 

Inside the festival, people could rest on hammocks and various nets and enjoy the art work and sculptures in the forest. A small house with “True Mirrors” showed people how other people actually perceived them, and signs pointing towards an orgy appeared every few trees.

Elements had hints of Electric Forest, one of the most magical festivals in the US, with its DIY aesthetic, commitment to silliness, and the collective camaraderie of the fans. It's totally possible that the festival will expand even further next year as it approaches its 10th year anniversary.  

Courtesy of Elements Music & Arts Festival // Jake West

Every stage showcased this lively spirit. People were dancing with their friends and sharing good vibes, taking cues from professional dancers who strutted on stage, LP Giobbi, Zingara, and Tony Y Not had standout sets prior to the storm on Saturday.  

Sunday blessed Elements with perfect weather and the final acts did not disappoint, especially Porter Robinson, who gave one of his most adventurous, experimental sets to date. He was having so much fun up there that he played 45 minutes past his end time, delighting fans with remixes from throughout his career.

Loyalty tickets are already on sale via the app for next year's Elements. If you're interested in going, keep an eye out for the general on-sale announcement, and start clearing your schedule for next summer because you're not going to want to miss what they have in store.    

 

Check out the aftermovie for Elements 2023 below:

Upgrade your rave wardrobe with iEDM apparel and accessories. Check out our entire collection HERE!

 

Stay up to date on the latest festival announcements and music news HERE!

| August 16, 2023
Joe McCarthy

JOE MCCARTHY

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Joe is a writer based in Brooklyn, who resides with his wife and two chihuahuas. You can find him dancing most weekends at the Knockdown Center, Elsewhere, Good Room, Brooklyn Mirage, and other prominent house and techno venues. Joe is constantly searching for new artists who experiment with genre and is excited about the ways in which EDM is evolving.

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