REVIEW: EZOO 2016 – Wild Island

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This past weekend kicked off the 3-day long Electric Zoo festival hosted at Randall’s Island in New York City

In past years the festival had bad luck with weather usually canceling the third day. Thankfully like last year, the weather was sunny and beautiful allowing all three days to go unhampered. The festivals all started around early midday and ran until 11 in which the thousands of people were unleashed to attend the multiple after parties around NYC that I, unfortunately, was unable to attend.

The festival itself ran smoothly. The friends that I knew did not have any serious issues getting into the festival. The lines seemed to move at a steady pace given the number of people trying to get in. The earlier one got there the faster they got in because around 5-6 on Saturday and Sunday the number of people when you looked around grew exponentially. While waiting on line not only was their security but the NYPD was out in full force watching over the areas around the outside of the festival. They even had drug sniffing dogs patrolling the entrance lines and occasionally pulled people from the line. In the festival, they had various different things to check out. The T-Mobile terrace was really interesting. On there you had an overview of the main stage and possibly the best feature was the cell phone chargers. The food and drink options at electric zoo were really interesting. They had BBQ, burgers, dessert options for food. In the VIP area, they went a little further. I noticed they had a wait staff walking around with hors d’oeuvres, a premium bar, and I think my favorite was they were serving truffle fries. All around Electric Zoo, there were special 21+ only tiki lounges. EZOO staff were able to get usually faster service and some extra room to hang out. One problem I encountered in these areas was that you couldn’t leave the area with your drink. So if you were with underage people you had to leave them behind until you finished your drink. Other than the tiki lounges, drinks could be purchased all throughout the festival.

Only two kinds of beer options, though, 16 oz. Heineken and 12 oz. Tecate. One thing I really was not a fan of was the currency exchange. To buy anything at the festival people had to convert their dollars into EZ bucks. The going rate was $20 into 9 EZ dollars. This made things much more expensive considering a Heineken was 6 EZ bucks. Obviously, it is a sales tactic but it is quite frustrating and adds up. Even water came out to being $6 but thankfully anyone smart went to the free water refill stands throughout the festival. 

The decor at Electric Zoo was mediocre. There was almost no difference between this year’s decorations and last years. The riverside stage remained the exact same Octopus and The Hillside contained to a large tent but just with a different stage design inside. Throughout the festival, they had colorful animals statues but the only thing was it was the exact same as last year. The only stage that was different was the mainstage. This year it was a large standing cobra. Honestly, it wasn’t that interesting when compared to any other mainstage at a large festival. It was a tall thin standing stage. Last year featured the owl with large expansive wings. When the sun went down and the lights could really be seen it didn’t have the same effect as if the stage was wider. They also did not include the use of lasers that usually are really used at festivals especially when trance is played. Next year I really think they need an overhaul of all the stages. It would be even better if the festival could start later and end later, that way more of the festival is at night. That would really add to the experience but that is probably an issue with the City.The music this year seemed like they were broken down by different days. Friday, headlined byBassnectar, seemed to be seen as the primarily bass-heavy day. I, fortunately, could not attend that day because of a prior engagement and also for my lack of interest in trap and dubstep. Saturday, headlined by Tiesto, could be explained by how he played his set. The once primarily trance DJ is now moving in a different direction trying to keep up with the interests of his American audience. Don’t get me wrong his set was very good but the first half seemed to feature new material that focused more on bass.

 

Thankfully towards the end of his set, he played the material I love him for. Ending his set with his trance that I love so much. Other sets that I really enjoyed were 3lau, Matoma, Porter Robinson, andHeadhunterz. I was most excited about attending on Sunday. Compared to Saturday people arrived much earlier in the day. The set I was dying to see was Andrew Rayel on the Main stage. His set was possibly one of my favorites of the day, the only way it could have been better was if it was later in the day.Performing at 5 o’clock, the sun was still high in the sky. I am not usually one to always hang-out at the main stage but that was where everyone I wanted to see played. Sunday was my first time seeing TheChainsmokers perform and honestly, I wasn’t much of a fan of them until I listened to their Ultra 2016set and was blown away. Their set at Electric Zoo was absolutely wild. Their use of the confetti cannons and the lights only added to the experience. It was also my first time seeing Hardwell. I must day, damn.That is an experience I will probably not forget. With practically the entire festival converging on the main stage it was utterly intense.

There were only a few things that kind of were a letdown at this festival other than the décor. Sadly there really was a complete lack of hardstyle/Q-dance at this festival. Last year featured Coone a leadingQ-Dance DJ but sadly the most we were able to experience were a few songs by Headhunterz and onSunday a little with Hardwell, who seems to be including more of his sets. The people at this festival were generally for the most part really nice and helped add to the atmosphere.

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