Red Hook

Elements Music and Arts Festival returns to Brooklyn waterfront

'Performance Art & Booze Bacchanalias Like You've Never Seen Before’

July 27, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A stunt biker goes off a jump in front of the abandoned Red Hook Grain Terminal while a fire breather performs below. Photo by Khadija Bhuiyan
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On Aug. 13, thousands of young adults will flock to Red Hook to do what true Brooklynites do: party in an abandoned industrial waterfront lot.

Polishing off the summer will be BangOn!NYC’s Elements Music and Arts Festival, and if last summer’s gathering is any indication of what to expect this year, attendees are in for a real treat.

Last year’s debauchery-filled carnival, which took place around the perimeter of the deserted Red Hook Grain Terminal, boasted fire breathers, aerial acrobats and stunt bikers.

And just this week, BangOn!NYC announced that their famed festival will be making its triumphant return to the shores of the Gowanus, after previously listing the locale as a “Secret Brooklyn Waterfront Location.”

BangOn!NYC has established itself as a staple of the Brooklyn music scene having thrown many legendary parties. The event production company prides itself on not only bringing in a stellar lineup of DJs and artists, but also on creating an immersive, interactive and innovative experience for its guests.

In a market overly saturated with pop-up parties, BangOn!NYC is a breath of fresh air. The company’s parties consistently push boundaries and are reminiscent of Burning Man, except rather than taking place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, their revelries take place in some of the most unique and timeless locations in New York’s urban jungle.

“We like to think of Elements as a reflection of the melting pot that is New York City, and have a combination of many different forms of entertainment and art that you won’t find in a single place,” said BangOn!NYC co-founder Brett Herman. “Besides music this year we have a wakeboarding show teaming with Red Bull athlete Steel Lafferty, drag queens doing runway walks, Burning Man art cars, interactive art and performances from every corner of this earth, and so much more!”

The company’s slogan is “Performance art & booze bacchanalias like you’ve never seen before,” and we would have to agree.

After all, the Brooklyn Eagle knows firsthand what a BangOn!NYC party is like, having had the pleasure of joining them for their rapturous New Year’s Day party, where we greeted the first dawn of the year in an East Williamsburg warehouse accompanied by the euphoric and airy beats of English DJ Lee Burridge.

This year’s headliners for Elements include bass-heavy DJ Gramatik, French tropical house DJ Klingande and German deep house producer Claptone, whose remix of Gregory Porter’s “Liquid Spirit” was widely considered the song of last summer.

Also gracing the turntables will be Mija, Le Youth and Justin Jay, along with many others.

Hailing from Soweto, South Africa and making their U.S. debut at Elements is the seven-piece Afro-psychedelic future pop band Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness.

This year’s festival will see the return of fire breathers and death-defying aerial performances in front of the 12-story grain silos. Accompanying those exotic entertainers will be Lafferty, who will be wakeboarding off jumps in the toxic Gowanus Canal. 

“We try to outdo ourselves every year on all aspects of art and performance and surprises,” said BangOn!NYC co-founder Timothy Monkiewicz. “One big thing we are doing this year is thinking about general comfort and providing more shade and cushioned seating.”

Elements is uniquely Brooklyn grown and independently run, and its curators are consistently striving to incorporate local artists and vendors. This year’s festival will boast over 75 local artists.

“BangOn!NYC has grown from 300 person rooftop events to 5,000 person warehouse parties in Brooklyn, and most of our friends and collaborators live here and create various forms of art in this awesome community,” said Monkiewicz.

Nourishment for the nine-hour festival will be provided by Bamboo Bites, Bareburger, Cafe Cochera, Pizza Moto, Mazzat Restaurant, Jamaica Choice Caribbean Cuisine and a BangOn BBQ.

BangOn!NYC appropriately describes its otherworldly festival grounds as “a dreamer’s playground that feels like an affair between Berlin, Burning Man and Bushwick — a secret city within the heart of Brooklyn.”

Included in that “playground” will be five different themed stages, large-scale art installations, sculptures, 3-D projection mapping, art cars, rides, slides, circus performances and exotic clothing and jewelry vendors.

If you have any energy left, head over to Gowanus’ newest (and only) club, Analog BKNY, for an official Elements after-party that will last well into the morning.


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