Founders Say Elements Music & Arts Festival 2022 is the Pinnacle of a Decade Long Journey
It sprouted at a waterfront location in Brooklyn, moved to the industrial Bronx, and soon outgrew those venues and a summer camp in the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania. This year, Elements Music and Arts Festival is returning August 19-22 at a new site, five times bigger than the last, in the Poconos Mountains region. Few festivals have evolved the way Elements has – even crossing state lines – while retaining its core character and unique theme that can only be captured by experiencing it live.
Elements was born in 2013 out of the idea of throwing an epic party. Timothy Monkiewicz and Brett Herman, co-founders of the Brooklyn-based production company BangOn!NYC, didn't just have music on their minds. They curated an event with stimulating art and interactive pieces. In the mid-2010s in the Bronx, the festival embraced its industrial setting by incorporating sheet metal, spikes, and flames to its stages.
Elements 2015 / Photo By: Khadija Bhuiyan
By 2017, the organizers expanded Elements to a 72-hour boutique camping festival in Lakewood, Pennsylvania. And in 2022, Elements is taking over a portion of the forest in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
"We have been grateful to have the support of our community in expanding the event and its scope, we love seeing the same faces back every year,” said Monkiewicz and Herman. "With three days, we have a much greater canvas for music, art and experience, and we are even more excited for 2022 with our brand new venue."
The founders admit that going from a one-day to a multi-day event has been "quite challenging."
"But with our new space things have gotten a lot easier," they said.
The new location, just 90 minutes from New York City and Philadelphia, has car camping and actual bathrooms.
"Last year we sold out at our previous summer camp location, and it was time to find a bigger home," the founders said.
Elements 2021 / Photo by: Elements Music & Art Festival
Atish, who played at the festival for the first time in 2019 on the Air Stage, has fond memories from Lakewood but is also looking forward to the future.
"The 2019 location, especially the Air Stage, was beautiful. Any time I get to play music outdoors in nature, the experience is elevated a couple notches," said Atish. "The team clearly showed good judgment the first time around, so I trust we’re in good hands this year as well."
Changing venues has even upped its appeal to people who have attended in the past. Greg Leano, chief operating officer of Deck’d Out, which works with DJs on merchandise, is set to go to Long Pond.
“Elements for me personally was definitely one of my favorite festivals in the area because at the time it was EDC New York, Electric Zoo, and Elements, which was a lot smaller and less commercial,” said Leano, who attended in 2016, 2017, and 2018 in the Bronx. “It was pretty cool seeing them from the beginning where their stages were pretty basic, but they went all out with the decorations and experience.”
Amid venue changes, one thing about the festival has remained consistent, the themed production around the four elements of nature: fire, earth, air, and water.
Elements 2018 / Photo by: Chris Lazzaro for Freedom Film LLC
"Absolutely, we have always had a unique theming and curation for each stage area. We make each stage bigger and better every year, and we will continue to do so as we grow," they said. "'Elements' is a wonderful theme because it can be interpreted in so many different ways – we encourage every guest to find their Element!"
Atish said playing the Air Stage in 2019 was one of his top gigs of the year. He called it a "microcosm of the whole festival," overflowing with smiles, hugs, and movement.
"The stage was inside a forest, and the lights bouncing off the trees transitioning from night to day was a memory I won’t forget," Atish said. "When I received the news that I was invited to play Elements Festival again this year, I was desperately hoping it would be the Air stage, and I’m glad my wish came true!"
Elements has not been without problems over the last decade. In 2021, attendees and artists complained that they waited hours to gain entry in muddy conditions, as the festival had the misfortune of being caught in Hurricane Ida. Monkiewicz and Herman said the move to Long Pond was made in part because it is better equipped to hold up against the unpredictable forces of Mother Nature.
"Our new venue solves all the Hurricane Ida issues of 2021 – you can camp next to your car so there are no shuttles needed, and hence no delays, just drive right up," they said. "The venue has been hosting racing events for 50 years, even during inclement weather and it has excellent drainage."
Elements new location, Pocono Raceway / Photo By: Pocono Raceway
Many attendees have been forgiving, indicating that Elements was not a Fyre Fest. Jess Vanderputten, who attended in 2016 and 2021, had early arrival last year and largely avoided the chaos.
“It’s very Burner-inspired, there’s a lot of art, the people are fun, you know what I mean,” said Vanderputten, who documents festivals on her blog Living By The F Word! YouTube. “They’ve been in the game for a long time. It’s unfortunate what happened last year – I think the hurricane really worked against them.”
Elements is back not just with a bigger venue but arguably its most stacked lineup to date. The festival offers a range of dance music genres, as it has across venues. It will feature first appearances by Kaskade, Nicole Moudabar, Shermanology, and Gene Ferris. Returning favorites include Fisher, Zeds Dead, Rezz, Sofi Tukker, J. Worra, Liquid Stranger, and TroyBoi.
"We really wanted to pull out all the stops to showcase our new venue and create the best and biggest lineup Elements has ever seen," the founders said. "The stages will be much larger, so we need an even bigger lineup to go along!"
Elements 2019 / Photo By: JBPhoto
Atish, who played a sunrise set his first year, has special plans for his sunset slot this year.
"I’m expecting to start my set off with a bright sound, slow transitioning to something darker and more driving," he said. "The most interesting part of the artform is the relationship I build with the dancefloor.”
With a bigger canvas, the founders have committed to expanding their production.
"We are proud to have more theme camps, sound camps, and art cars than ever this year,” they said, “And are so excited to be able to provide a platform for musicians, artists, performers, and all around creators to help us enhance the Elements experience!"
Elements in its newest iteration promises to be “an escape unlike any other.”
Purchase tickets to Elements here.