The 9th edition of Electric Zoo took place at Randall's Island in New York City this past Labor Day weekend and I luckily got the chance to cover this event and attend all 3 days. The lineup was stacked this year with incredible headliners including DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, and Eric Prydz b2b with deadmau5.
We also found out this weekend that Destructo is now the mastermind behind Electric Zoo as announced it on twitter as well as came out to the festival grounds and was mobbed for pictures, hugs, & any interaction the fans could get.
Friday started off beautifully weather wise and I made my way through the rather smooth security line right to the Riverside Stage for Spencer Brown. Spencer killed it for 90 minutes in front of a few dozen fans as people began to make their way into the grounds and check out the set-up. As Spencer was finishing up the crowd started to file in more and more as Grum came out on stage and began getting ready for his set.
As Grum took over the stage, their was probably 50-75 people watching and one the best dance circles I've ever seen broke out during his set. After Grum, I stayed for my final set at Riverside for the day with marLo. Quite possibly my favorite set of the weekend, marLo brought a full blown Trance session to the stage on his birthday, none the less. Playing current hits and some amazing classics including Robert Miles “Children”, the stage was blown away.
After marLo I decided to get some food and check out the grounds before Seven Lions. Electric Zoo is a cashless festival, and that makes the lines extremely fast at all the food and drink stands. The food and drinks at this festival were a huge highlight. Everything I ate and drank all weekend was incredible and it really added to my experience. There is plenty of room to sit down and take a break and enjoy your food which is a big plus.
One of the few downsides of the festival though was the bathroom set up. They only had 1 exit and 2 entrances so it let to major bog downs and people getting really pushy in the bathroom stations. That is another downfall of this festival which is no fault of the organizers – the crowd. With hundreds of phones stolen over the weekend and many people seemingly coming to just do drugs and get wasted, you had a very mixed crowd. There were pockets of people at the main stage hardly even paying attention to music and were either texting, sitting down, smoking cigarettes, or just talking in a circle.
Back to the music – after eating I headed over to the Main Stage for the 1st time to see Seven Lions. The Main Stage design this year was absolutely amazing. From the straight up breath taking elephant head center piece, to the artificial NYC cityscape, it was a HUGE step up from last year. The sound, lasers, and visuals were all A+ and it really helped bring the “Zoo” feeling to the stage.
The Seven Lions set was incredible as usual. The people around me we're not into it at all and that killed my buzz a little bit, but I moved to a better section and enjoyed it much more. After Seven Lions I went back to walk the grounds until DJ Snake. DJ Snake lit it up per usual and had the crowd going crazy. Friday wrapped up beautifully and Saturday was upon us.
Saturday started for me at Riverside again with BROHUG who had the crowd going crazy. Was a great set and everyone at the stage really enjoyed it. After BROHUG I made my way over to the Hilltop tent for the 1st time to check out Kayzo. He absolutely killed it and had the packed tent going hard the whole set. He shouted out his hometown of Houston and made the crowd go crazy.
After Kayzo I headed to the Main Stage for the rest of the night for some incredible music, but some of the worst weather I've ever experienced at a festival. Tritonal tore the house down with their set playing new songs and some amazing classics of theirs and others and really got the crowd going.
As Tritonal finished up, you could see all the shufflers begin to gather for Tchami. The rain started to increase during his set but that didn't stop the crowd from shuffling away. Tchami absolutely killed his set and in typical Tchami fashion just played music and didn't talk in the mic for every drop. As the rain really started to come down, we got to Zedd for probably my favorite set of the weekend. Celebrating his birthday at Electric Zoo, you could tell Zedd was that much more into it. Playing an absolutely amazing set, he included all of his hits and some mind-blowing remixes.
At this point as Zedd closes up, a lot of people start to leave as it is straight down pouring and under 60 degrees outside. Above & Beyond took the stage in the downpour, (which seems to happen for every festival set this summer) and played a masterful set. All the fans that stayed to experience it for sure didn't regret it. With some incredible visuals and a set that debuted a few new tracks, it was a great musical end to a SLOPPY night.
It was now Sunday, and my 30 year old body was starting to feel the pain. As I woke up and saw it was down-pouring again, I decided to take my time going to festival. Getting there late I decided to go to the Awakenings tent for the 1st time and check out Yotto. The sound quality was not great in my opinion at that stage, but Yotto didn't care and took it deep for 2 straight hours.
Post Yotto I made my way to the elrow tent to check out some Claptone. The weather has cleared up at that point but people were still packed under the tents to stay out of the mud. Many people at Claptone seemed to not know him, but really enjoy his set.
It was now time for some trance at the Main Stage as the weekend is almost over with Armin van Buuren. Armin played an incredible set mixing in pure trance hits as well as Main Stage pleasing songs to keep everyone on both sides happy. Armin wrapped up to a see of applause and the crowd got ready for the main event.
Eric Prydz and deadmau5 came out to thundering applause as it seemed like the whole entire festival attendance was their at the Main Stage to take in these two giants. The two spun b2b for 90 minutes playing an extremely techno heavy set. With incredible visuals, lasers and just amazing mixing and song selection, it was one of the best sets by the two I've ever heard. It was quite funny to see some of the people in the crowd get angry as they were expecting to here “Ghosts & Stuff” and “Call On Me” but instead got a 90 minute techno masterpiece.
As the fireworks go off for the final evening the crowd heads out, I thought to myself that I can only expect next year's 10th edition to be even more incredible with Destructo at helm and a 10th anniversary to celebrate. See you next year New York City.
FULL ALBUM OF PICUTURES – ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO ERIC GALENZOGA