Full Moon Festival, review: An island retreat for trendy millennials that's more 'fire' than 'Fyre'

But with a few exceptions

Max Benwell
New York
Tuesday 11 July 2017 19:31
Full Moon Festival at Governors Island, New York, 8 July 2017
Full Moon Festival at Governors Island, New York, 8 July 2017

When you hear the words, “boutique one-day music festival on an island in New York” you may jump to some conclusions. Some of them may be bad ones. The horrors of Fyre festival may come to mind. After all, it does all kick off at midday with a bit of mass meditation, and there's no free water taps on site.

But hold your cynical horses. While Full Moon Festival does occasionally play up to the stereotype of an overpriced selfie parlour where millennials cut loose for the 10th time already this summer, it’s also absolutely brilliant.

(Andrew Boyle

To begin with, the line-up is like a finely mixed, 12-hour playlist spanning genres and decades, and has been wonderfully put together by the organisers Matte Projects. You have hugely exciting acts like Kelela and Abra, who are so destined to blow up at any moment, their performances give off the energy of a lit fuse. They’re joined by the likes of Detroit’s original techno legend Larry Heard, 57, whose influence can be heard all over the festival’s three stages throughout the day.

Kelela performs at Full Moon Festival

Thrown into this mix is Connan Mockasin, a squeaky psychedelic folk singer from New Zealand who wistfully muses about dolphin love whilst decked out in silver silk pyjamas.

Topping the night off, the headliner Vic Mensa gives an electrifying performance as an actual full moon beams down upon the island. Meanwhile, DJ Harvey plays a thumping set in the very Instagram-friendly dance dome in the opposite end of the field. All in all, it’s more “fire” than “Fyre”, which is a relief.

The Full Moon festival site is very small – you can do a circuit of it within about 10 minutes – but it’s not crowded, meaning there are very few queues or risk of losing your friends, even if your phone dies.

The worst thing is definitely the lack of free water, forcing everyone to pay to stay hydrated despite the sweltering heat. (One water brand does hand out free bottles, but this stops at 5pm.)Everything is also very expensive – a can of beer is $10, small plates of food $12, and spirits and mixers $14. Maybe it's all a cynical money-making ruse, although I haven't personally hired out an island really, so maybe not.

(Andrew Boyle

If you are happy not to drink too much, and had a big brunch before you came, the range of music and chilled-out island vibes are really worth the ticket prices, which ranged from an extremely affordable $40 to a dearer $80 depending on how early you snapped them up.

If the water issues can be solved, and a better range of affordable drinks offered, then this is one to definitely book into your 2018 festival calendar.

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