Photo Credit: Dianissa Boigues Garcia
Written by: Dianissa Boigues Garcia
Just as ELF promised, the festival was amazing!!! Even though there was a heat wave, with temperatures reaching high 90’s F, the awesome vibes of the festival stayed very much alive.
From the moment you entered the road leading towards the entrance, you automatically felt the welcoming energy of the festival. The line to the entrance wasn’t bad at all. We arrived around 11:30am and only waited 20 minutes to enter. Super organized.
It was really HOT but that didn’t affect people, honestly, it brought them closer together by sharing shade and helping each other out. The camping area was very well organized and very spacious, porta-potties were close by for extra convenience (all were SUPER clean at any time of the day).
The main camping area allows for car camping, and since there is no shade, having a canopy and tarp was a blessing because it was really your only shade until you walked towards the festival “town.” The great part was that it would begin to cool down once the sunset so you felt a big relief after the long, hot day. Luckily, I always travel with a hoodie to stay warm as it does get pretty cold during the night.
The camping sections were pretty spaced out as well, but there were quite a few campsites that would keep the party going. If you’re looking to get some rest, be prepared for noisy neighbors. This is where a sleeping mask comes in! It really helped me to get some rest. The first night was the noisiest but I was able to get pretty good sleep the rest of the weekend.
Everyone was so nice. No questions asked, they would offer help or would randomly spark a conversation. We met some amazing people, especially our neighbors. It felt like we had known each other for a long time. To me, this is the most important part of a camping festival: meeting your neighbors. It gives you a feeling of security when you leave your campsite unattended (remember to lock your tents!). I usually take DIY trinkets to give as a befriending gift to help break the ice as and start a conversation.
After making friends, we moved on to discover our surroundings. ELF is a pretty small local festival, which I LOVE. It gives it a much more personable feel. Entering the “town” you would find the food vendors followed by the regular vendors. There was a pretty wide variety of food vendors such as pizza (we loved it, it was wood-fired), wraps, vegan, sandwiches, even ice cream for those hot days. The short wait time and lines were great – another plus of a smaller festival. There were many other vendors with handmade clothing, glow sticks, biodegradable glitter; even a convenience store! We forgot our bug repellant and bought an all natural one there. Bug repellant is a must! Those mosquitoes go wild at 6pm on the dot.
The first stage you arrived at was the Octopus’s Garden which was right at the entry of the “town”. It was one of the first stages to open and it also featured the Hip-Hop showcase. Since it was the first stage to see, it really helped to add extra hype right when entering the festival. The second stage was the Zen Den, located between trees, with amazing light sculptures. It literally gave a feeling of calm and zen while admiring the amazing light sculptures. The third stage on the way to the river was the The Arcade, fake grass was laid in front which was great! It provided much more comfort for walking along/dancing and you could sit comfortably. It had a very wide space for dancing and people could walk through without much trouble. Almost everyone hung out by the fans blowing/spraying cool water, which was perfect relief from the heat!
The heat would lead most people to the river shore to cool off during the day. There was no shade so umbrellas were the go to to get some shade from the intense sun. Always take sun block! This was where the Wormhole Stage was located, one of the first stages to open as well. Everyone would just hang out in front of the stage in the water in their chairs lounging or dancing. There was no judgment at all, you were free to be you, and it was a wonderful feeling to know that you could be yourself. Everyone gave smiles, hugs and it was just an accepting environment. Since the Wormhole Stage closed for the evening, the Nest Stage would open, this was one of the last ones to be ready, it also had the fake grass laid out. It had awesome lights lasers that you could appreciate while looking over the water.
I made sure to catch a bit of Nolstalgix’s set. It was a fun/energetic set perfect for the hot sunny day. The Arcturians were amazing! I had never heard their music before and was very impressed. Pigeon hole threw down an insane set, perfect for The Nest stage. Last but not least, Dodge & Fuski killed it! One of our most anticipated artists, we were not disappointed!
We took a venture through the art walk. It was a wonderful cooling stroll with great shade as it was under a path of trees. Right in the entryway, there was a live graffiti contest going on. It was amazing to experience live art. As we kept walking, there were many booths of artists along the way with beautiful paintings and mushroom sculptures that would light up at night. There were daily works too, including Yoga, Meditation, Hoop making, Art Wire Wrapping, amongst others. There was never a down moment!
One of the most amazing moments of the festival was nature at its best. We witnessed a Lunar Eclipse followed by a Blood Moon (full moon). Everyone was able to see Mars! That experience alone made people come together to enjoy the moment and keep dancing!
ELF was happy to report that everyone complied with one of the core values: “leave no trace.” After posting pictures of the aftermath, they stated how happy they were.
The festival will keep growing for sure. If you haven’t been yet, make sure to check it out next year! We won’t be missing it!