Going to the tenth anniversary of Electric Zoo this year, I had no idea that I would have such a different experience! This was my first time attending Electric Zoo as media, and it was an experience I will never forget. It is usually very difficult to get a good view of the Main Stage unless you decide to make your way through the massive crowd to the very front. When I found out I was receiving photo credentials for Electric Zoo, I didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away by the results!
My first attempt to entering the photo pit at the main stage was during Kaskade. I had never seen Kaskade live, and I was so excited to get up close and personal. In order to reach the photo pit, I exited far right of the stage and walked along a path at the edge of festival grounds. Once I reached the side of the stage I entered the pit. For years I have always been the one in the crowd watching security and other festival staff in the pit, handing out water, making sure everyone is alright, dealing with any issues that may occur. This time I was on the other side, walking beside the FDNY and medical staff, watching the crowd go wild as they anticipated the next set. The excitement in the air was immeasurable, and I will never forget this moment!
Being able to run down the middle of the crowd at Electric Zoo showed me that there is so much activity that is constantly going on. It impressed me so much to watch the other side of the festival staff from this point of view. They truly care about their patrons in New York, my hometown. Medics are continuously giving aid to festival goers and pyrotechnics staff are running back and forth making sure everything is set up correctly. I was at the center of it all, each time a new song is about to drop I could feel the crowd’s energy raise ten levels. When flames shot up into the sky, I got chills down my spine as I stared in amazement. I can’t believe I am here, I can’t believe I’m standing in the pit at the main stage. Truly unforgettable moment!
Upon entering Electric Zoo this year, I was a bit surprised that there weren’t as many installations as usual. The hype for the tenth anniversary set the expectations high for many attendees this year. Many expected there to be another animal-themed main stage, but the design this year although not the lion many were expecting, impressed with bright visuals during each set. It was an attractive stage when they were able to set it up for Virtual Self, and then customize it for Martin Garrix on day 2.
Day one of the festival had one of the best sets of the weekend by Chris Lorenzo. This is where I found the New Empire Shufflers meet up. In such a small space under the tent, they were able to create a high energy dance circle. The love you get from dancing with others during a house music set is incredible. Walking around on the first two days of the festival was underwhelming since the lineup didn’t cater much to my taste. I missing the dirty house and techno beats that I’m used to. Seeing all of my friends who had come from out of state was the major highlight of Electric Zoo for the tenth anniversary. New York is a wonderful destination for travel in general, and adding a festival into the mix makes it an unforgettable experience for all, regardless of your particular style of music choice.
After day one of Electric Zoo, I was excited to hear my kind of music. I spent the whole day hearing heavy dubstep/bass and I was craving some techno. Of course, there are the official Electric Zoo afterparties, but those are not the only option. In order to avoid to massive afterparty crowd from the festival, I chose to go to elsewhere in Brooklyn. I was excited to hear some bass-heavy techno by Julia Govor that made up for the techno energy I missed at during the actual festival.
One aspect many fans hope for improvement in the next installment of Electric Zoo is sound. Sound bleed has been an issue for many years in a row, and I noticed at the end of each night the main stage took over the entire festival grounds. While exploring both of the tents on the opposite side of the field, I noticed I could still hear the main stage unless I was actually inside the tent. It isn’t easy to stay inside a tent for a duration of a set when the heat level begins to slow you down. The one downside of sound quality at Electric Zoo is the layout of the space used on Randall’s Island, I understand it must be hard to set up stages with minimal sound bleed. Note for next year, bring a fan so that I can dance more inside each tent to counteract that issue.
Something I noticed every day at the festival was the adaptation of the most popular music from each artist. Each time I visit a festival I pay attention to songs that I hear the most from every artist I see. At Electric Zoo the song most played had to be “Losing It” by Fisher. I was surprised to hear Tiesto mix this song at the beginning of his set. I am usually not the one to sit and watch Tiesto at a festival, but he definitely kept my attention when he began to play house & techno. As I was leaving the photo pit during his set I get pulled back as I hear “Your Mind” by Adam Beyer. A welcome surprise to many from Tiesto.
Despite some interesting changes to their lineup including more bass heavy headliners, Electric Zoo will continue to be one of my favorite festivals in the New York area. I know that fans will be looking forward to seeing how the new ownership and theme of the festival continues to develop over the next decade. The animals are ready! Congratulations on your tenth anniversary Electric Zoo!