Last weekend, Electric Zoo celebrated its tenth year with a three-day party featuring some of the world’s premier DJs and artists. Despite a leaned-out stage production, the festival boasted improved sound quality, incredible artists, and all-in-all seemed to go off without a hitch.
Set underneath the New York City skyline, EZOO once again proved that it is New York City’s premier electronic festival, and it’s an f’in party.
One thing that was very obvious this year was the lack of stage production. Unlike grandiose stage sets from years past (the elephant and the phoenix, for example), this year’s festival rocked toned-down tents and stages mostly compiled of video and lights work with a hefty amount of fireworks from the mainstage. While things were certainly less “fancy” to look at, I believe money was used to invest in sound system upgrades. I was surrounded by EZoo veterans who claimed that the festival never sounded better. If that’s the trade-off, I’m perfectly okay with it.
While there was an obvious uptick in sound, there was also a significant amount of sound bleed between the stages. This could easily be remedied by going further into the tent or stage you desire to hear from, which is perfectly acceptable given the size of the grounds. What I will say is that keeping the stages close together makes it easy to bounce between sets, so festival-goers can really see as many sets as they’d like. I truly benefited from this (and was a point of contention for me at Tomorrowland, where it could take you 20 minutes to a half hour to walk anywhere.)
All-in-all, it was a well-organized, smooth festival experience. While it was a little over-packed, attendees were gracious and the flow of traffic was easy. Security was quick and easy as well, and the festival staff seemed to be in good spirits. As I’ve mentioned before, Electric Zoo is a festival by New Yorkers, who took what they had and made something amazing. That theme seems to stick, even ten years later.
ARTISTS & STAGE CURATION
One thing was also very obvious this year – EZoo brought in the big guns when it came to talent. For mainstagers, the likes of Tiesto, Alesso, Kaskade, and Martin Garrix made the ticket worth it in-and-of itself. For me, stage highlights included HYTE (with incredible sets from Pete Tong, Matthias Tanzmann, and the Chris Liebing B2B Dubfire set), Anjunabeats (where else do we get a 3x B2B with Andrew Bayer, Ilan Bluestone, and Jason Ross?), and Deadbeats, the meticulously curated Zeds Dead stage.
There was really something for everyone, which is always a positive for festivals like these. Also shout-out to the Treehouse for being a fail-safe for great music all weekend. EZoo has always supported local artists, and its nice to see Hometown Heroes like The Golden Pony, Hiyawatha, and the Cartel Twins dropping beats all weekend.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
While not many people were eating at the festival, it did seem like there were plenty of options. I spent $40 on burgers and fries, but the food was actually enjoyable (and also was the energy to keep dancing all night long.) There were some back-ups for drinks and definitely some places with long lines, but all-in-all I never felt like I had to wait long for anything. The fact the festival decided to go cashless was a great idea – the wristband system IS faster, and it never really feels like you’re spending real money.
So when it comes down to it, I had a great time listening to amazing music with incredible people. And I loved that I could have the complete festival experience in my home city. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next year. You can learn more about Electric Zoo here.
A collaborative effort by Mary Parhiala and Jonathan Wilcox