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Full Moon Fest Brought French Disco (And Sand) to Brooklyn's Buzziest New Venue

The five-year-old boutique festival brought Yelle, Tensnake, Rüfüs Du Sol, and more to the heart of Bushwick.
Julien Tell

Full Moon Fest is named after Thailand's famous celestial celebrations, but nobody would ever mistake it for the infamous beach parties on Koh Phangan island. Thankfully, you won't find expat bros sweating through their tank tops as they chugging shroom shakes. In fact, the festival's connection to Thailand's full moon parties is tenuous at best. Instead, the one-day event on August 1 had more in common with swanky European clubs or Ibiza soirees—even the sand you're dancing on was imported from France.

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Photo by Julien Tell for Full Moon Fest/MATTE ProjectsPhoto by NY Is Killing Me

Produced by New York-based creative company MATTE Projects, Full Moon Fest is a five-year-old festival that usually goes down on Governors Island. But this year, the event moved to The Brooklyn Mirage, a buzzy new pop-up venue in the heart of Bushwick. Organizers explained that the new location "allowed us to expand our capacity [and] gave us complete creative control to customize every aspect of the festival."

Rüfüs Du Sol (Photo by Danny Roche for Full Moon Fest/MATTE Projects) Photo by NY Is Killing Me

What that means is that in addition to The Brooklyn Mirage's already bombastic features—like 20-foot-high walls covered in tropical plants and panoramic views of Manhattan from raised platforms—Full Moon Fest built a main stage where revelers could bask under the sunshine, and pimped out the two cavernous warehouse stages with elegant lighting displays, disco balls, and streamers.

Although it has hosted parties from affiliated promoters Cityfox and others, this was the first full-scale festival at The Brooklyn Mirage. Judging from the number of people going gaga over its features, the venue clearly works—although one guest (surely a Manhattanite) was overheard remarking, "This is so ghetto!" (We'd like to know where she goes out.)

Tensnake (Photo by Danny Roche for Full Moon Fest/MATTE Projects)

On the main stage, Tensnake spun a broiling set that got the crowd of roughly 6,000 attendees jacking to tech-house at sunset. Following that, Yelle took the stage and cycled through their greatest hits like "Je Veux Te Voir" and "A Cause Des Garçons," along with new material from their latest release, Complètement fou. While lead singer Julie Budet delivered energetic doses of French quirkiness backed up by GrandMarnier drumming live and on a drum machine, their limpid set ultimately felt a little too low-energy to close out the outdoor portion of the festival.

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Yelle (Photo by Danny Roche for Full Moon Fest/MATTE Projects)Yelle (Photo by Julien Tell for Full Moon Fest/MATTE Projects)

Once the party moved inside, NSR and David Kiss from New York DJ collective The Deep took over the Moonlight Jungle stage, delivering a punchy set that ranged from Ibiza villa classics like Kings of Tomorrow's "Finally" to techno bangers like Jimmy Edgar's "Burn." The clattering four-four kick drums reverberating through the cavernous room stood in contrast to the sounds coming from next door, where the Crew Love stage repped the house and disco end of the spectrum via acts like Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, No Regular Play, and Slow Hands.

The Crew Love Stage (Photo by Elliot Black for Full Moon Fest/MATTE Projects)Photo by Elliot Black for Full Moon Fest/MATTE Projects

Photo by NY Is Killing Me

Full Moon Fest comfortably occupies the space between full-fledged festivals and weekend parties. The vibe was relaxed, and the best place to hang out all night with your friends was on one of the towering outdoor platforms, where you could chill out while bathing under the eerily bright moonlight. Gazing at the twinkling Manhattan skyline, you're reminded that you're not in Ibiza, or France, or Thailand, but Brooklyn. Just, you know, a version of Brooklyn with imported palm trees and French sand.

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