Live Concert Photography: Full Moon Festival 2016

Live Concert Photography: Full Moon Festival 2016

Matte Projects is a creative production company that focuses on the conception, production and promotion of music-related events, perhaps more famously known here in New York for creating the Full Moon Festival six years ago, a carefully curated festival and dance party, largely inspired by Thailand’s world-renowned full moon parties. And although it’s been a couple of years since JOVM has covered the Full Moon Festival, its sixth year marks a return to Governor’s Island for two days of partying, art installations, and dancing from early afternoon to late in the night with one of the most enviably gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty around – and under this month’s blue moon, no less. JOVM on lovely Governor’s Island to photograph the goings-on, eat a lot of great food, drink way too much and dance all night. Check it out.



(Photo Caption: Lower Manhattan as seen from Governor’s Island. The first two were taken with my trust Canon T1i — the first daylight one with a 24-70mm lens, the first nighttime one with a 50mm lens; with the last two taken from an iPhone 6.  The second daylight Lower Manhattan photo was taken while standing on the back of a Governor’s Island-bound ferry.)


(Photo Caption: Governor’s Island from the Governor’s Island Ferry.)

Of course, as was the case two years ago, the folks at Matte Projects and Full Moon Festival continued to further cement its reputation for being a culinary delights as  Matcha BarMile End, Best Pizza, PokitoPig and KhaoClean Shave Ice,  Chalk Point Kitchen and Gordo’s Cantina all hosted stands at the festival.

(Photo Caption: Pollo Tacos from Gordo’s Cantina. They were very good — and i’m looking forward to stopping by their Long Island City location when they officially open in a few weeks.)

(Photo Caption: Sweet Heat Hot Dogs from Mile End. These hot dogs had a buttery jalapeño pepper sauce that was amazing. Also, the fried onions on top were pretty great, too.)


Full Moon Festival’s sixth edition may arguably have one of the most musically diverse lineups in its history.

Day 1, August 20, 2016

Led by its creative mastermind, producer and electronic music artist Aaron Jerome, SBTRKT (pronounced as “Subtract”) has developed an internationally renowned reputation for remixing the work of M.I.A., RadioheadModeselektorBasement JaxxMark Ronson and Underworld, and for releasing two critically applauded full-length albums, a few EPs and a number of singles – all of which have either received airplay or have been playlisted by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6. Interestingly, throughout his recording and performing career Jerome has preferred to be as anonymous as humanly possible and during live shows he’s been known to perform wearing modern interpretations of native and indigenous society ceremonial masks designed by A Hidden Place, as well as performing with frequent collaborator Sampha.

Earlier this year, Jerome announced a new project that he described as a “non album,” a collection of songs specifically designed to be an ongoing listening experience, while bringing new music to fans in a faster fashion than the traditional album cycle.

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(Photo Caption: SBTRKT during an incredible DJ set at Full Moon Festival last week.)

Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo, the internationally acclaimed,  eThekwini, South Africa-born and Johannesburg, South Africa-based producer and DJ Black Coffee can trace the origins of his recording and performing career to when he majored in Jazz Studies at Technikon Natal. While as a student there, he worked as a backup singer for Madale Kunene before forming an Afro-pop act S.H.A.N.A (short for Simply Hot and Naturally African) with classmates Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor). The somewhat short lived act was signed to Melt 2000; however, his DJ and production career explored when he was selected as one of two South African participants during 2003’s Red Bull Music Academy – and with an increased buzz around him, he released “Happiness,” which was featured on the DJs at Work compilation; in fact, by the release of his sophomore effort, Have Another One, Black Coffee had become a household name in South African electronic circles for a propulsive, forceful tribal sound and for putting on locally-based artists and producers, all of whom have started to receive attention across Africa, Europe and elsewhere.

Adding to a rapidly growing international profile, Black Coffee has played at some of the world’s biggest and most renowned clubs and stages including Southport WeekenderPanorama BarCirco Loco and Boiler Room and has made appearnaces at a number of music festivals including SummerStage, ADE and Red Bull Music Academy in his hometown of Johannesburg, CoachellaUltra Music Fesitval and others. I’ve seen the brother do his thing live and he’s arguably one of the best electronic music arists, producers and DJs in the entire world.

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(Photo Caption: Black Coffee rocking the Full Moon Festival crowd last week.)

Born Terrence Thornton, Norfolk, VA-based emcee Pusha T is perhaps best known as one-half of critically applauded and commercially successful hip-hop duo Clipse, with his brother Gene “No Malice” Thornton. And with the help of their friend, Norfolk, VA-born producer, multi-instrumentalist and eventual mega-hit artist Pharrell Williams, the duo quickly exploded into the national scene with the release of their 1997 full-length debut Exclusive Audio Footage. And as a result, Pusha T has made a number of guest spots over the years including on Kelis’ “Good Stuff,” Nivea’s “Run Away (I Wanna Be With You),” all while recording three more albums as a member of Clipse, including the duo’s critically applauded and commercially successful third album Hell Hath No Fury. After the duo’s fourth album, they announced that Clipse would be on hiatus while each individual member would pursue solo projects and other creative endeavors.

In 2010 Pusha T was signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music and made guest appearances on a number of labelmates’ releases including “Runaway” off West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and West’s GOOD Fridays singles series and as a solo artist Thornton has collaborated with an increasingly lengthy list of artists and producers including Swizz Beatz’s Monster Mondays series, Lloyd Banks’ H.F.M. 2 (Hunger For More 2)FutureTyler the CreatorJay Z and others. Interestingly, over the last few years Thornton has been incredibly prolific, releasing a handful of mixtapes and his solo debut, My Name Is My Name. Adding to a growing profile, last year Kanye West personally appointed Pusha T to take over the reins at GOOD Music. And we should be expecting a full-length in the near future.

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(Photo Caption: Pusha T performing at Full Moon Festival last week.)

Comprised of actress, model and frontperson Zoë Kravitz, James Levy (keys) and Jimmy Giannapoulos (drummer, production), Brooklyn-based electro pop trio LOLAWOLF have received attention across the blogosphere with the release of their 2014 self-titled debut EP and their 2014 full-length debut, Calm Down. Zoë Kravitz is the spitting image of her mother Lisa Bonet — and she’s arguably one of the more beautiful women I’ve personally taken photos of.

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(Photo Caption: If there’s one thing that Zoë Kravitz gets from her father, it’s the uncanny ability to control a stage and demand your attention. That woman killed it and was going to let you know about it, as well.)

Born Kenny Dixon, Jr., Moodyman is a Detroit, MI-based electronic music artist and DJ, known as the owner of KDJ Records and as a member of renowned techno/house music act 3 Chairs. Dixon’s appearance was an incredible and propulsive DJ set that had the early arrivers moving and grooving.


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(Photo Caption: Moodyman during a DJ set at Full Moon Festival last week.)

JIL is a somewhat mysterious New York-based R&B-leaning electro pop act that pairs thoughtful and plaintively sung lyrics with slick, hyper-modern and icy productions consisting of stuttering drum programming, shimmering synths, etc.

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(JIL performing at Full Moon Festival last week.)

Day 2, August 21, 2016

Largely influenced by James BrownAretha FranklinDevo, reggae, Fela Kuti and a ton of Nigerian music, Philadelphia, PA-born singer/songwriter and producer Santi White is best known under the monikers Santogold (which she performed under between 2003-2009) and Santigold has throughout the course of three full-length albums SantogoldMaster of My Make-Believe and her most recent effort, 99¢ has developed a reputation for a sound that has at times been compared favorably to the likes of M.I.A. as her work sonically manages to blur, mesh and completely destroy genre lines as you’ll hear elements of techno, house music, dub, reggae, alt rock and others while ironically commenting on our sociopolitical zeitgeist. Interesting, as the result of a growing national and international profile, White has collaborated with an equally impressive list of artists and producers including Diplo, Jonnie “Most” Davis, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O., Switch, Q-TipTV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, has opened for the likes of Jay Z and Kanye West during their co-headlining tour, Beastie BoysRed Hot Chili Peppers, the aforementioned M.I.A., Bjork and has a number of singles make prominent appearances in ad campaigns, including a 2013 campaign for Honda Civic among others.

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(Photo Caption: Santigold during an entertaining set that included several costume changes — including a Stop Making Sense-inspired suit jacket, a bubble machine and more.)

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its six-year history, you’d know that the New York-based neo-disco/electronic dance music/funk collective ESCORT have been mainstay artists. And over that same period of time, the collective founded by producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balls featuring frontperson Adeline Michele as members of a core group of five that frequently expands to 17 for live shows has received local and national attention for an incredible live show of funky, danceable tunes, their two full-length albums and for their frontperson’s incredible stage presence, cementing their reputation as a must-see live act.

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(Photo Caption: ESCORT performing their blogosphere dominating hits and several classic disco and house covers at Full Moon Festival. Usually photographers can be a very jaded lot and even the photographers were shaking their asses in the photo pit.)

Despite his relatively young age, Bristol, UK-born and based electronic music artist and DJ Julio Bashmore has specialized in a sound that owes a sonic debt to classic house.

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(Photo Caption: Julio Bashmore during an incredible DJ set at Full Moon Festival last week.)

Comprised of Matthew Correia (drums), Spencer Dunham (bass), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar) and Pedrum Siadatian (guitar), Los Angeles-based indie rock sensations Allah-Las can trace their origins to when three of the four band members worked at renowned record store Amoeba Music. Formed back in 2008, the Southern California-based have received both local and national attention for a sound that draws entirely from the 60s and includes elements of folk rock, psych rock, surfer rock and garage rock – while firmly establishing themselves as part of a burgeoning retro/garage rock scene that includes The Mystery LightsThe Black AngelsRaccoon Fighter and others.

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(Photo Caption: Allah-las performing during Full Moon Festival last week.)

Born Karly Loiaza, Kali Uchis is a Pereira, Columbia-born, Alexandria, VA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who came to national prominence with the 2012 release of the Drunken Babble mixtape, a mixtape that was described as “genre-defying” as the material possessed elements of doo-wop, reggae and R&B. And as a result, Uchis has collaborated with Snoop Dogg on the single “On Edge.” Building upon that buzz, Loaiza released the Por Vida EP, which featured production from Alex Epton, Diplo, Bunx, Tyler the Creator, Kaytranada, BadBadNotGood, and Caleb Stone.

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(Photo Caption: Kali Uchis and backing band during their Full Moon Festival set last week.)

London, UK-based producer, electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and DJ Marus Marr has received international attention over the last few years for a number of critically acclaimed singles released through renowned dance pop/electro pop label; in fact, “Brown Sauce” was mentioned in Pitchfork’s Tracks while “The Music,” appeared in the major motion picture Pusher and landed at number 3 on Spin Magazine’s Best Dance singles in 2013. And if you were frequenting this site over the course of 2015 you might recall that Marr collaborated with internationally acclaimed indie pop artist Chet Faker on an EP that featured the slickly produced Daft Punk and Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson leaning track “The Trouble With Us.

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(Photo Caption: Marcus Marr during an incredible DJ set at Full Moon Festival.)


Of course, if you go to enough festivals, it’s the people that can truly make or break the entire experience and Full Moon Festival had some of the city’s most attractive, most interesting characters. Check it out.

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IMG-0069 (Photo Caption: My dear friend E with a Full Moon Festival bucket. Although the thing was $20s, the mixed drink within it was really quite tasty — and it could get you fucked up.) IMG-0070

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(Photo Caption: E and I had arrived at the festival site early and we wound up chatting to this adorable couple at one point.)

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(Photo Caption: Festival friends are the best. E and I wound up befriending this lovely woman and we wound up hanging around each other for most of the festival. And as you can see the Full Moon bucket was immensely popular.)

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(Photo Caption: Is there anything better than free stuff? I’d say no. This woman was handing out free bandanas and sunglasses. Everyone started sporting something with the Stoli logo and some point.)

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(Photo Caption: Yours truly enters the fray.)

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(Photo Caption: Kali Uchis’ bassist a few hours before his set. As you can tell, he had a look that just immediately captured my eye.)

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IMG-0653 (Photo Caption: The lovely Melissa Mushaka of Mushaka Productions.) IMG-0658

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For these photos and more check out the Flickr sets below.

August 20, 2016:

August 21, 2016: