Co-written by Nadine Pasterczyk and Rayson Diaz
Another Labor Day Weekend has come and gone. It always seems to go by too fast, but that’s what happens when you’re having fun, right?
With 2019 being the best turn out since 2013, this year’s edition of Electric Zoo surely had one of the most energized crowds I’ve seen all year. All 107,000 guests got to experience something special and something spectacular with one of the most diverse lineups this festival has ever had to offer. Each day was filled with its own sort of adventure which left us astounded at closing time each night.
Stepping through those oh so familiar gates and letting the music take hold of me, bringing me from stage to stage yet again was such a welcoming feeling.
I started off my musical experience at the Main Stage with Whethan, who played a hard-hitting festival set. It was during this point that it was quite clear that the crowd was ready to give this Labor Day weekend everything they had.
After taking a quick break I went back to the Main Stage for what would surely be the highlight of this weekend — Kaskade’s sunset set! Opening with his track ‘Fun’ the sun began to set over the hour. Little by little, Kaskade took the crowd’s hands and lead us on a journey. Standing high above the crowd on the DJ table, Kaskade played his mash-up of ‘Something Something Champs’ to end this magical hour.
Up next was the Mad Decent label head, Diplo. One of the things I love about Diplo is that you never know what you’re truly going to get when he DJs. No two sets are the same with this masterful hand at the deck. This set was a mixture of groovy house tunes with tracks such as Armand Van Helden’s remix of ‘Add SUV’ and more popular songs such as ‘Lean On’ and ‘Heaven Can Wait’. It was clear that Diplo came prepared to play a set that reflected New York City’s culture, which is filled with acceptance, tolerance and diversity.
I closed out my Friday festival experience with none other than the GOAT himself, Eric Prydz. This was by far my favorite set of the weekend. The main stage production shined bright with Eric’s pristine visuals. This set had so many highlights that it would be impossible to say that there was ever a dull moment. My favorite moment during this set was when Eric dropped his track ‘2night’ under his Pryda alias. This is my favorite Pryda song and ever since it was released in 2011, I’ve been dying to hear it live. It was hard not to get emotional during this moment as me and my friend locked eyes and began to ride the feels train. This was definitely one of my favorite Electric Zoo moments since I first began attending the festival, 8 years ago. Closing off with his legendary track ‘Opus,’ Eric began to clap his hands and bowed to the crowd before leaving the stage with the biggest smile on his face.
Personally, this was my most anticipated day of the festival. With main stage acts from house legends EDX and Benny Benassi to the spine tingling sounds at the Pryda Arena — Saturday was sure to be a pleasure.
Cristoph captures my heart as soon as I stepped into the Hilltop Arena. There’s just something about the way he takes your mind on a journey with his masterful flow. I just about lost my shit when he dropped his own edit of Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’. The way the music took hold of my body was unreal and there was no way I’d be leaving for the entirety of the set.
Once the set came to a bittersweet end, I made my way to the massive main stage where Benny Benassi was throwing down like no tomorrow. Playing hits from ‘I’m Losing It’ by Fisher to a hyped up remix of his own track, ‘Satisfaction’ — you could tell he had completely taken over the crowd like some musical magician. Soon enough though, I had to part ways with this magical touch, but I was now headed to the All My Friends Stage for Dombresky where I really had a great time dancing it out to those funky house vibes.
After dancing my ass off at AMF, it was back to the Pryda Arena for me, where I finally got to see Joris Voorn spin ever so skillfully. It was everything I dreamed of and more.
I stayed glued in my spot because up next was my most anticipated artist of the entire weekend, Eric Prydz performing a Pryda set. The only thing about his sets that’s disappointing is the fact that he plays so many IDs that never get released (but really Eric, you should release them *wink wink*) — however, that’s also part of the beauty of his sets. And what a mind blowing experience that set really was tracks that we will never know the name of to Pryda hits like ‘Vega’. All good things come to an end though and I began making my way back to the main stage for Electric Zoo veterans, Above and Beyond!
Ah yes, a trance lover’s dream come true. Hands were in the air all around me. Hearing what Tony and Jono had to play was like taking a breath of fresh air. I will say though, I did have one stand out moment and that was when they dropped a mashup of ‘Salva Mea 2.0’ and ‘Sticky Fingers’ — just wow. Words can’t describe how I felt in that moment, only the feeling I had would do it any justice. And of course, the push the button moment. As someone who has pushed the button at Electric Zoo in the past, it brought tears to my eyes to see the lucky fans get up there and do their thing. Above and Beyond certainly brought their magic to the main stage that night and sadly, it was over. But that’s ok, because we still had one day left to dance the night away.
My Ezoo Sunday was dedicated to Seven Lions’ own Ophelia stage takeover at the Riverside Stage. The lineup was unique and diverse with great artists ranging from psytrance to dubstep. Starting off my Ophelia experience with Blastoyz, (for transparency, I am not very much into psytrance sets at all), but Blastoyz changed my view on that because his set was melodic and fun. Playing special mashups of classics such as ‘In The End’ by Linkin Park and Dash Berlin’s legendary trance vocal track ‘Man On The Run’, it was without a doubt a great way to start my Sunday.
Next up was MitiS on the Ophelia stage. While I love MitiS’ emotional melodic musi, I didn’t know what to expect out of this set. For the next hour we were taken on a trip through dubstep and future bass mixed together. Playing tracks from his musical catalog like ‘Forever’ and a future bass remix of Gareth Emery’s track ‘Concrete Angel’, this set had that Illenium future bass vibe. Overall, it was a great set and it was nice to experience something new musically rather than the same old sound, which is one of the things I love most about checking out emerging acts. The quality of music and DJ sets are unique as well as experimental.
The last act I saw at the Ophelia stage was Anjunabeat’s very own Jason Ross, who played a much different than usual set. Changing it up from the usual Anjunabeats sound, he played more of a progressive set to fit the sound of the Ophelia label. Playing the sunset time slot, Ross gave the Ophelia fans what they wanted and they approved. This set is a good example of watching an artist adapt to a different crowd and witnessing that artist switch up their set to reflect that.
Next up was the king of trance, Armin van Buuren! To be honest, I was expecting a more mainstream set from him as he was playing the main stage, but he tore it up playing trance bangers and mash-ups that brought tears to my eyes. Not to mention, he dropped one of the new tracks off his forthcoming album, ‘BALANCE’. As always, Armin brought his A-game and brought us all into A State Of Trance.
I closed out my Electric Zoo experience with Dog Blood, the collaboration between Skrillex and Boys Noize. They originally played the festival back in 2013 at the riverside stage. It was really exciting to see how far this project has gone and changed over the last 6 years. The stage was set as it was the perfect time for Dog Blood to come back to NYC’s premier electronic music festival. This set featured most of Dog Blood’s small but notable music catalog. Playing tracks spanning from ‘Next Order’ to their newly released single ‘Midnight Hour’, it was a well-orchestrated and masterful set. As expected, Skrillex’s energy was over the roof, he even stood atop one of the industrial size fans meant for the crowd towards the end and got on the mic to say “turn the lights down low, I want to see my motherfucking people”. If you are a Dog Blood fan, this was the set you were longing for. Giving us those industrial and heavy bass vibes Boy Noize is known for, with a mix of Skrillex’s sound.
As always, Electric Zoo delivered an absolutely fabulous experience that created memories that will last a lifetime. See you again in 2020, animals!
*Featured image via aLIVE Coverage for Electric Zoo*