Last weekend, underground techno fanatics, deep house ravers, and synth heads alike all converged at an upstate summer camp two hours outside of New York City to dance and make memories at the Mutual Dreaming-curated party, Sustain Release. The two-night festival was the first of its kind, representing an electronic music scene that prefers to distance itself from the stigma of EDM while providing the next level in DIY event production, born out of a love for an inherently rebellious and experimental approach to dance music.
Set at Camp Lakota, a sleep-away camp that opened in 1924, a little over 500 people experienced something that rarely happens anymore: a music festival free of police-state security and corporate sponsorship. There was no fire spinning, no ignorant Native American styled headdresses or furry boots, and the vibe was all elated dancing, conversing, fueled mostly by the desire to not sleep for a minute of any of the meticulously curated weekend.
Conceptualized by Aurora Halal and Zara Wladawsky, Sustain Release was just that: a sustained sense of release from the confines of EDM, club kid culture, or dance floor pretension. The DIY nature and lack of branded sponsorship created an air of creative freedom and expression. The only sponsor, if you can call it that, was the beacon of NYC’s underground techno scene, Bossa Nova Civic Club, who had a stage named after them.
By the end of the weekend, enlightened by the music pumping through the designer Tsunami Bass speakers, the diverse group of festival-goers did something else atypical of music festivals: they actually cleaned up after themselves. Here, a small gallery documenting the unforgettable weekend that was.