Review: 2019 Elements Festival

Elements Festival (Sunshine Coast) took place 18-20 October, 2019. Elements Festival (Sunshine Coast) took place 18-20 October, 2019. Image © Dan Martin Photography

It’s mid-afternoon on Thursday when I arrive at Elements Festival (18-20 October), setting up camp with a storm-front flirting on the horizon.


Love Camp is already pumping tunes to a dance floor full of people throwing down to Lucid Gecko’s set, full of chunky progressive psytrance with a heavy focus on bass. Kane James plays live saxophone as the storm rolls in closer, the energy absolutely electric with anticipation for the storm, the drop, and the weekend ahead.

It’s only 5pm and the dance floor is full. The décor is beautiful, with alien-like UV sunshades blending perfectly with Love Camp and Melt’s particularly colourful aesthetic.

Mastaryte takes over the decks with zappy funk that encourages the storm to finally break, with a giant, exhilarating gust of wind and a pink cloud horizon that’s talked about all weekend. A few gazebos go flying up the hill, but all-in-all the party survives unscathed and we dance under the raindrops.

Elements 2019Image © Dan Martin Photography

Already I can feel this Elements is going to be something special. After battling with heavy rainfall last year, the storm this year rolls over quickly and leaves everyone with a sense of relief that is palpable in the air.

Each DJ plays a killer set that night, with Chau’s chunky deep house rolling perfectly into Zygotwitch’s effortless funk, building the dance floor to what feels like the crescendo of the evening. When Get Down takes over, the dance floor feels ready to boil and he drops into a Freestyler remix that transitions the evening perfectly from techno to psytrance to close out the night.

The warm sunshine wakes us and ejects us from our tents early, and we tumble, all a little worse for wear, into campsites and festival grounds seeking breakfast and beats.

The day has started off funky, with a solid techno session opening the Sonic Sorcery stage and beginning our migration into the main site of the party.

Elements 2019.5Image © Dan Martin Photography

By the time Eeemus takes over the stage, the incredible UV décor has turned the full and convulsing dance floor into a glowing sea of strangers and friends. His set is powerful and heavy, pumping us up perfectly for our pilgrimage to the Tribal Council stage for the opening ceremony.

We all find ourselves standing in front of the impressive masterpiece created from parts of last year's façade made over with waterwheels and gears spanning a huge distance, curving in to create an enveloping feeling dance floor, complemented by a new shade sail design that had just made its debut in Spain. The sound system fits seamlessly into the aesthetic, and it is one of the most unique and sonically impressive systems servicing Queensland parties.

Elements 2019.2Image © Dan Martin Photography

It is an astounding construction of imagination, and the laser show over the weekend moves the gears in a rotation of colour and light like psychedelic clockwork. We are welcomed to the land, to share in the beauty of the space and live in joy at a weekend created for our wonderment.

A booming, resonant voice invites us all to share in a weekend full of connection, creation and celebration and there is a congregational feeling that hums between us. The care and attention to choreography, costuming and co-ordination of all the different elements (hah) shines through in a perfectly polished performance that reflects what Elements is – a party in celebration of the life beating in each of us.

That night is full of a spectacular array of headliners across genres. Spoonbill is unmissable and unique. The dance floor is full of flow artists twirling every kind of light-up toy, and confident dancers somehow moving in synch to the glitchy madness.

Up next is Truth, who has been making waves and waveforms worldwide over the last few years. His partner Holly performs perfectly synchronised pole dancing to parts of his performance while the dance floor is frothing the zappy-deep drops and punchy basslines.

Elements 2019.3Image © Dan Martin Photography

I take a bit of a break from the party to fuel myself on the doof essentials – noodles and tuna – before heading back for a late-night boogie. Even at four in the morning, the festival is still alive, with Tribal Council stage featuring Xsetera’s fast-paced but dynamic drum & bass that keeps the dance floor thrashing and grooving despite the late hour.

Antonymous is playing on the Sonic Sorcery stage, pumping psytrance that is strongly technical and robotic. BustaFlux takes over the decks on the Tribal Council stage with an hour and a half of dynamic drum & bass perfectly suited to the scattered and energetic morning.

The 6am set has an interesting mix of those like myself, who have charged through the night, and those waking up to embrace the doof. MikMac follows, with technical and smooth drum & bass that has a smaller crowd, though no less enthusiastic.

I take a nap for a few hours and wake up to check out Doppel, who perfectly nails the fun midday atmosphere, and as the rain clears the party feels abuzz with magic. The performers are out in full force today, with beautiful witches performing bubble magic dancing with me as I wander to the Sonic Sorcery stage.

 
Elements.3Image © Dan Martin Photography

The DJs there captures me, Psyborg and Gigabit playing a set that sounds like the backing track to a virus invading a computer system. Tribal Council has a perfectly choreographed flow of musical energy, with techno powerhouses Matan Caspi, Kase Kochen and Tranceducer leading into a night of beautifully building psytrance from headliners Volkiene and Earthling, which has the dance floor full of shaking bodies all evening.

The move to hi-tech in the later hours scares some away to the warm, rich techno of Paul Abad or the SAFE events drum & bass showcase at Love Camp. It shows how artfully the line-up of Elements has been organised, that the party is able to provide something for every taste at almost every hour.

Sunday’s artists seem to know they are receiving the shattered and scattered of us. It has been a big weekend for everyone, but the energy bouncing between us is one of vigour and amusement. There’s a life-sized Pikachu getting around and a general sense of camaraderie in the air as we explore the festival.

Elements 2019.6Image © Dan Martin Photography

The Conscious Nest is handing out harm-reduction information to those seeking advice, and Love Camp is full of tired bodies performing yoga to stretch the sore muscles caused by dancing and deflating air mattresses. As I see smiles beaming in the faces all around me, I feel like this is going to be one of those festivals where you bond with people you meet in the future who you shared this weekend with, even if you’re strangers now.

April Kerry lures me in to dance with spacey desert techno, while Miss Jade plays a psytrance set that is unrelenting and energetic for those soaking the most out of the last day. ZigMon is a highlight for me this party, playing a softly paced set full of warm escalations to organ-like highs. Smilk smooths out the afternoon to a banging German techno session full of clacking and cowbells.

Elements 2019.4Image © Dan Martin Photography

Elements 2019 has been a beautiful representation of what most of us love about parties. It’s a carefree, loose and joyous celebration of taking time to act as a conduit to the creative and ecstatic forces inside us.

One of the last songs to play at the close of the stage says ‘I just want to party until the end’, which perfectly captures the mood of the silly crowd.

All things considered, Elements nailed its third year with grace that shows it is an event well worthy of our attention. Its well crafted line-up, immaculate attention to detail in staging and décor, its unique blend of performers and artists and the crowd it has drawn has made Elements 2019 an unforgettable festival that enriched every attendee and sends us all back into the world refreshed and renewed.

After we sleep for a day or two, that is.

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