Pphhheeeewwww! Electric Zoo 2012 has come and past yet again folks and it all happened so fast that it feels sort of like a dream… the kind of dream you wish you had every night, of course. Made Event held its 4thannual and most successful Electric Zoo Festival to date on Randall’s Island in NYC this past Labor Day Weekend. Electric Zoo saw its official attendance for all three days jump 25,000 from last year’s festival to a combined total of 110,000. Made Event brought a vast array of artists—both big name talent and up and coming artists. Tiesto, Skrillex, Above and Beyond, Morgan Page, Pierce Fulton, W&W, 12th Planet, Sander Van Doorn and many many more. It’s tough to think of many things better than having three days of endless music and artists to see, backed by a truly stellar production setup that blew minds, all the while being on an island…creating our own little zoo for a weekend. Check out below as we break down the ups and downs to this years EZOO festival!
SERVICE: This years festival ran at a much more efficient pace compared to the first three years. Made Event had that party on lock from A-Z and you could feel it while you were there.
Everything from the security lines to the food and drink lines to the bathroom lines were well-organized and you never really felt like you were wasting time standing in lines—which is one of the worst feelings, in my opinion, especially at a music festival when you hear stages poppin’ off and you’re standing in line missing all the fun. I mean come on; even the free water refill stations (yes, that’s correct FREE water refill stations) had maybe a 5-minute wait at most. It really felt like the festival was structured and made it all the easier to have good time.
PRODUCTION: Electric Zoo certainly reinvested a lot of money back into the production aspect of the festival. All four stages had unique setups making each tent distinct and unique for the audience and it was truly something to see. The festival grounds, in total, featured over 900 linear feet of LED panels, 850 automated light fixtures and 12 35-watt lasers, which were all powered by biodiesel generators to minimize emissions into the ozone… ya know, gotta help the environment.
MAIN STAGE: As you would expect, the main stage at Electric Zoo was the spot to be for most fans all weekend and the places was absolutely bomb. The stage featured a number of high resolution motion controlled video panels that helped create a large sense of scale for the stage and could be reconfigured live to create unique looks for each artist, which allowed them to bring there own effects and visuals to the stage and make it their little home while they were spinning. The main stage definitely held it down all festival and hosted some of my favorite sets of the weekend. To name a few personal favorites from the zoo on the main stage were the Aussie gals Nervo, Sander Van Doorn, Tiesto, and Skrillex (mainly due to his awesome space ship that he played in, to close out the festival).
RIVERSIDE: The Riverside tent had a fantastic production setup. It was home to a custom-designed 3D LED technology that was used for the first time ever at a live electronic music show. Believe me, it was epic. For the headlining sets featuring A-Trak, Steve Aoki, Diplo on their respective nights, festivalgoers were immersed in an unparalleled audio-visual experience with BILLY BOY sponsored 3D glasses. Each headliner got a custom designed visual show to suit their style as an artist. I have a more than a few stories from the weekend about getting distracted numerous times walking by this tent… damn; it always just looked too fun to pass up. Especially when you see Aoki white raver rafting throughout the tent. I mean honestly do you think you’d be able to pass that up either? Didn’t think so.
HILLTOP ARENA: This has been my favorite spot at Electric Zoo for the past two years and I definitely have a few memories of cooking it in this tent numerous throughout the weekend. Morgan Page, Ferry Corsten, and Above and Beyond were just some of the few DJs that were responsible for my high EDM culture times in this tent. Even though at times it felt like temperatures were 105 -110 degrees in there one thing was for sure—you could not stop the people from dancing and getting down to some of the hottest names in EDM. The tent featured a wall of LED panels and mirrors set at specific angles that worked in tandem to bathe the tent in a sea of lights and lasers. Like I said, this was my favorite!
SUNDAY SCHOOL GROVE: This tent had to have been probably one of the most creative and incredible productions setups that I have ever seen. Even though the Sunday School Grove tent was the smallest of the four it definitely didn’t let its size speak for its originality. The tent featured two original custom-designed school buses with integrated LEDs with 3D projection mapping on the bus that created an immersive mixed-media experience. Honestly, really cool stuff. This tent played host as artists, such as, Boys Noize, Luciano, Sasha, and Argy throughout the weekend and they brought the roof down in this tent for all the animals that were groovy enough to get down at “school” this Labor Day weekend.
ABOVE AND BEYOND: Back to back nights of Group Therapy with the legendary group, Above and Beyond. This was my second rodeo watching them. I caught them back in Miami this spring during Ultra Fest and each time I seem to catch a set of theirs it gets better and better. This was just the therapy I needed all weekend.
MEDIA ACCESS: Electric Zoo held it down for its media partners this year as we were granted all-access to all of the VIP and Media designated areas on campus. We were given the highest luxury of festivals … all I’m going to say is air-conditioned bathrooms. That paints a pretty picture in your head, ehh?
INTERVIWING NICKY ROMERO: It was a pretty cool experience to catch up with the one and only Nicky Romero in the media tent as Hardwell was spinning. Nicky isn’t only a truly talented musician but also a really nice guy. He fills us in on playing the main stage this year, his love for NY, and his opinions on dance music in America. Keep an eye out for this one!
CELL PHONES: Ugh! This had to be my biggest frustration with the whole weekend. Cell service sucked to say the least and it was nearly impossible to connect those on the outside world and even more importantly those there on the island. It’s obvious cell phones at any festival with thousands and thousands of people are always going to be a disaster. There really is just nothing you can do about it except let them do their thing and hope them messages get sent and received. Not the best of circumstances…
SEPERATION FROM SQUAD: When you have roughly 35,000 packed onto Randall’s Island with limited- to no-cell service you are bound to run into some problems. One of the true killers of the festival was losing friends, co-workers and sometimes yourself. The only time I found myself in a bad mood at the zoo was when I would lose a brother out in the crowd. My squad was a small group that shared a magical bond throughout the weekend and when we lost one of the animals it was … well flat out devastating! Felt like losing a child.
SCHEDULE VS. YOU: Unless you’re Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent there is no way you can see everyone you want to. That’s just a fact. Festival strategy (process of elimination) has to come in to play at some point because you simply can’t seem ‘em all!
TRANSPORTATION: There was four ways to get to the zoo. Car, bus, ferry or walk. I personally did the whole walking experience all three nights since I was posted up in the Upper East Side for the weekend and it was horrible. Cabs were nowhere to be found once we made it back to Manhattan and the subway station was about 120 degrees and packed to capacity. The car and bus idea looked like it sucked as well. Safest bet was the ferry to 35th street. Who wouldn’t like a nice ferry ride down the east river after a rave? I know what I’m doing next year…
SKRILLEX CLOSING FESTIVAL: Listen, I’m not against Skrillex or dubstep in anyway but I feel like a few other candidates could have been chosen to fill that slot and kill it. I feel like Skrillex closing out EZoo was a bold move for the Made Event team. In my opinion, a classic house or trance DJ/producer should be the one to close out a festival such as Electric Zoo. I mean Armin Van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Carl Cox, even a guy like Luciano could have handled the job just fine. It just felt like a dub guy was way to narrow and only attracted a limited audience, which is the last thing you want for the end of a festival. All I’m saying is an Armin ASOT closing set would cause pandemonium throughout the festival grounds. Come on Made Event, the idea is shock and awe. I don’t know if all felt that way with Skrillex closing it out this year.
You can check out all our photos from Electric Zoo here. Until next year…