Skip to main content

According to a slew of irate attendees, the 2021 edition of Elements Music & Arts Festival lived up to its name after a storm ravaged the campgrounds—and the event's infrastructure.

After proprietors promoted a "lakefront paradise" experience, the Pennsylvania-based festival was blasted by ticket-holders reporting crippling logistical issues and an alarming lack of organization. Elements began Friday, September 3rd and will conclude today, September 6th.

A public Facebook group developed to air grievances against the camping festival, dubbed "Elements Shit Show 2021," has amassed over 1,300 members in less than 24 hours. Its contents paint a grim picture of an understaffed, ill-equipped event with legions of incoming refund requests due to what many have deemed neglectful conduct.

One attendee named Yasmin tells that the festival ran out of water and food, and its "unsanitary" restrooms were covered in feces. Another ticket-holder, Nickie Cheung, also criticized the festival's portable toilets, calling them "abhorrent" in a post shared in the "Elements Shit Show 2021" group.

"I talked to the camp security and they mentioned that a group of tents had actually set up over a sewage drain and some people were climbing over barbed wire fences to go to the bathroom because the portapotties were abhorrent," Cheung wrote. "There was no guidance on where to and where not to camp and absolutely no oversight or caution as to make sure people stayed safe and healthy while living there."

Yasmin, who requested we refrain from using her last name for the sake of anonymity, says she eventually suffered a panic attack due to "unsafe" conditions and what she felt was a flagrant lack of support from Elements' staff.

After arriving at the General Admission parking area at 9:45AM, Yasmin claims she waited approximately three hours to park in a muddy field. She then lugged her belongings to a will call booth to check in, a process which took another hour. "From there, we went through security where they didn’t check any of our belongings," Yasmin said in an emailed statement. "Then, we waited in another line for about an hour for a Penske truck and a bus (the box truck to load our camp goods and the school bus to take us with). Once we were en route to the festival and campgrounds, the drive took around one hour to get there as there were cars everywhere."

Prospective attendees wait to be transported to the campgrounds of Elements Music & Arts Festival.

Prospective attendees wait to be transported to the campgrounds of Elements Music & Arts Festival.

Once she arrived at the campgrounds, Yasmin says the festival's staff failed to direct her to her designated spot. "I about lost it," she continued. "Was seriously having a panic attack. Exhausted. I was waving people down on golf carts who were zooming around and seemed like staff for help. They would look me in the eyes and keep driving."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

pasted image 0

Teksupport’s Latest Cutting-Edge Event Space Is an Inventive Greenpoint Warehouse

Teksupport and ArtsDistrict are coming together for a series of innovative techno events in 2023.


Google's Freakish AI Text-to-Music Program Is the Most Advanced of Its Kind

MusicLM can navigate nuanced text prompts and generate higher-quality sonic output compared to its competitors, but Google isn't ready to release it.


"The Signal": Ushuaïa and Hï Ibiza Broadcast Massive 2023 Opening Day Party Plans

Black Coffee, Eric Prydz and more are joining the opening day festivities on the White Isle, the clubbing capital of the world.

Yasmin maintains she was so anxious about the logistics surrounding her Monday departure that she was unable to enjoy the festival. So she packed her stuff on the rainy Sunday morning and took a shuttle back to the dilapidated parking lot, where she found her car stuck in mud. With no Elements staff or security team members there to help, she had to resort to paying the landowners—a local family who did not attend the festival—to use their tractor to tow her vehicle out of the lot.

A video shared in the public Facebook group, wherein a yellow tractor tows a car in a boggy parking lot, appears to corroborate Yasmin's story. 

Elements organizers, who had been searching for volunteers one month before the festival, took to Facebook on the morning of Saturday, September 4th to issue an apology and attribute the disorganization to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Days earlier, heavy rains walloped central Pennsylvania after the National Weather Service predicted the area would be subject to one of its wettest days on record, PennLive reported.

"Hi everyone 💖 we would like to take a moment to sincerely apologize for how difficult it was to get into the festival yesterday for some of our community," the Facebook statement reads. "The logistics team is adapting and working in real time to come up with solutions for any arrival/parking issues that arise from the aftermath of the hurricane."

That same morning, rumors of attendees contemplating a class action lawsuit circulated on social media. A number of exasperated ticket-holders voiced their concerns after allegedly waiting over 16 hours to arrive at the festival's campgrounds.

One person even invoked the disastrous Fyre Festival of 2017 while bemoaning the ill-fated Lakewood event for "poor logistics" and "covid issues."

According to the event's Covid FAQ microsite, all attendees were required to submit proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test to gain entry. We are unable to confirm negligence by Elements Festival personnel, but one attendee asserted that onsite staff "abandoned" safety protocols. 

"You needed to prove you got vaccinated to enter, that was so reassuring. That was abandoned," the attendee wrote, calling the festival "irresponsible" in a scathing Instagram post. "They just let anybody in. No proof needed. The ONLY reason we decided to attend the festival was because they sold it with such a strict covid policy. Once we realized they weren't scanning the crowd pass or people's tickets we knew it was a lost cause. Their stringent covid safety policy was a sham." reached out to Elements Festival but representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.



Elements Festival Issues Apology After Attendees Compare 2021 Event to Fyre Festival

Organizers issued a statement via social media to apologize for "disappointments," but refrained from mentioning refunds.

aLIVE coverage - ELEMENTS Festival

Elements Festival Attendees File Class Action Lawsuit Seeking $5 Million In Damages

Three plaintiffs allege the Pennsylvania-based electronic music festival created "an uncomfortable and dangerous situation" for attendees.


Elements Festival Shares Roadmap of Improvements After Controversial 2021 Event

The organizers of the Pennsylvania electronic music festival are looking to make amends after their ill-fated 2021 edition.


Skrillex, Porter Robinson, More Confirmed for Elements Music & Arts Festival 2023

Over 100 artists will perform across 10 stages at the Pennsylvania festival in 2023.

aLIVE coverage - ELEMENTS Festival

GRiZ, Ganja White Night, More to Perform At Elements Music & Arts Festival 2021

The festival will also feature performances by Bob Moses, Claude VonStroke, Diplo, CloZee, Yotto, Tokimonsta, and many more.

Copy of Copy of Elements_2019_05_25_17_13_45_3551_JBPhoto

Elements Music & Arts Festival Drops a Lineup to Rave About For Memorial Day Weekend

Dance music titans like Diplo, Bonobo, Claude VonStroke, Chris Lake, STS9, Bob Moses, Four Tet, Tokimonsta, Rusko and more will assemble on the East Coast.

Elements - Photo by aLIVE Coverage 3

Elements Festival is Perfecting the Balance Between Summer Camp and Wellness Retreat

Finally, a festival that is as much a fun-filled party as it is a recharge for body and soul.