Even as coronavirus cases spike across the country, In My Elements plans to move forward as an open-air music retreat beginning today, Friday, July 10th. The music festival/wellness retreat at an “undisclosed lakefront summer camp” in Northeastern, PA is set to take place with 250 individuals (225 attendees and 25 staff, volunteers, and performers), supposedly with an abundance of caution.
While many musicians and festivals, including country musician Chase Rice and hard rock July Mini Fest (formerly known as Herd Immunity Fest), continue to draw public ire, In My Elements pledges that it will be better and safer.
The main crux of the messaging regarding safety for In My Elements is centered around “two part testing.” According to Billboard, attendees (including all staff and performers) were required to visit mobile testing centers in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston three days before the festival’s opening. Those test results were available within 24 to 48 hours and sent to In My Elements organizers. Then, when festival-goers begin arriving on Friday, they will be tested again on-site in their vehicles, with those results available within 15 minutes. If anybody tests positive, their entire vehicle will be sent home and they will be refunded the full ticket cost, in addition to travel vouchers and a 50% discount on a future event from the BangOn! production company.
This abundance of testing is made possible by the event’s inflated ticket price of $596. For that price, attendees are given access to all of the music and workshops, two part testing, and a bed in a cabin. In accordance with social distancing guidelines, cabins will be limited to six people, and those six people will participate in activities and travel together for much of the event, though there will be times when attendees are able to move freely throughout the site.
“This is not a money-making endeavor,” BangOn! founder Brett Herman told Billboard. “We’re able to manage the risk, understanding that things could change 180 degrees at any time. Our goal with trying to do this now is to find a path and understand under what conditions could this work.”
In addition to two-part testing, event organizers plan to enforce social distancing guidelines throughout the weekend. This will begin the first day at a general orientation session where concepts such as consent to come within six feet of a person will be discussed, as well as a mask making seminar. During performances, “social distancing ambassadors” will monitor the crowd to remind people of distancing regulations and reprimand those disobeying the rules.
“I’m cautious, but I’m also a realist,” Megan Venzin, an In My Elements attendee, told Billbaord. “No one knows how long it will be before a return to live events will be considered safe. However, the concept that the BangOn! team has developed is the most comprehensive I’ve seen yet. They’re going above and beyond to cultivate an experience that meets today’s comfort levels. If In My Elements pulls this off, it means we’ll have a blueprint for bringing the music back, and I’m all for [that].”