Electric Zoo Transformed Music Festival began on Friday, September 4th on a balmy summer day. People from all walks of life and all different countries came together to celebrate electronic dance music in its most creative form yet and share the experience of a lifetime. With a great festival comes great talent. Day One brought both rising and established acts to the stages set up around the massive field. Here are the performers who killed it right out of the gates.
One of the surprisingly earlier acts of the day was Don Diablo. The future house aficionado played out many of his originals including “Universe”, “Anytime”, and “On My Mind”. The Dutchman skillfully and seamlessly weaved from song to song, keeping the rhythm strong at all times. The crowd moved to the heavy house sounds and by the end of his set, Don Diablo had completely captivated the audience.
Alison Wonderland was another amazing act to watch. Her energy permeated throughout the crowd as she stood on stage dancing and hair flipping to the beat. From her viral remixes to her original records, one of the most exciting moments of her set was when she dropped “U Don’t Know”. It’s incredibly inspiring to see how far she has come in her career and watch her fan base exponentially grow year after year.
When it comes to melodic music, there is no one who does it better than Primary Wave’s artist, Audien. He came onstage in a black tee and trendy shades, looking completely in the zone for his set on the mainstage. As expected, he played his monstrous high-octane remix of ‘Pompeii’ by Bastille which was certainly a crowd favorite. The Connecticut-based artist was all smiles when he played his newest song ‘Something Better’, featuring Lady Antebellum. The record is soaring up the Billboard charts and continues to get added to radio stations nationwide.
Last but not least, it is important we show love to arguably the hottest act of the summer, Galantis, who released their debut album ‘Pharmacy’ two months back. The duo’s fierce energy paired with girls hoisted on ravers shoulders and mosh pits galore, it was the ultimate party set. They sprinkled their set with several of their originals off the album, including ‘Gold Dust’, ‘Forever Tonight’ and their smash hit ‘Runaway’.
Besides the relatively steep prices on food and beverages – when the EZoo dollar is stronger than the US dollar, we know we can do better – it was an excellent experience graced by good weather. Off to Day Two!
Crisp air and clean spirits filled Randalls Island on day two of Electric Zoo. Although the island was a bit more crowded than Friday, good vibes were prevalent and excitement was at an all time high. Saturday afternoon boasted a variety of talented acts such as Dirty South, TJR, and Brillz. In the evening, the main stage was flooded with fans as Nervo, Adventure Club, and Above and Beyond preformed.
One of the most memorable acts of Saturday was Nervo. The ladies took the stage with energy that poured over the crowd. Some of the tracks that were played were “Sandstorm”, “Reason”, and “Deep Down Low”. Nervo enthralled the crowd with smooth transitions, excellent song selection, and high energy. The duo definitely made an impact at Ezoo for many fans.
Another memorable act was Excision. Excision played in the hilltop arena under the huge tent that fans seemed to be bursting out of. I had the privilege of watching Excision front and center to take pictures. The bass rocked the crowd with every beat, and I swore I could feel the music in every pour of my skin. Overall, Excision destroyed the crowd with bass and took the hilltop arena by storm.
Flocks of festival attendees started heading towards the mainstage when superduo Adventure Club took the throne. To many peoples surprise, their set was primarily progressive house. However, they redeemed themselves by playing their single ‘Gold’ featuring Yuna. Their melodic dubstep music received the greatest reaction from the crowd and brought back emotional memories for several couples sprinkled out.
When Above & Beyond came on, the mood changed. Everyone came together as one, it was one large dance music family that had just met. The love and friendship that was spread across the field was something I had never encountered before. ‘Sun and Moon’ was a crowd favorite of the night and the stars began to peer out in the dark night. Cue the fireworks! It was an impeccable performance by Above & Beyond that will never be forgotten.
Security was incredibly friendly at all hours, providing all attendees with information about the festival grounds, where to find food and beverages, and even danced with festival goers when the beat was right. Onto the final day of Electric Zoo!
As Electric Zoo comes to a close, we thought it’d be better to recap the entire weekend rather than focusing on just Sunday for our day three review. Made Event, the organizers behind the festival, made security a top priority this year. They added many drug-sniffing dogs, created countless wristbands with very specific access, and enforced their own currency called ‘EZ Bucks’.
Once you made it past check-in, the first thing on everyone’s agenda was to go to the “Tap-Up” booth where you gave staff cash or credit in return for EZ bucks. When the EZ buck is stronger than the US dollar, you know we have a problem. $20 converted to 9 EZ bucks, which essentially got you a water and a sandwich. Despite the high prices, the talent was on point all three days. From standouts Galantis and Alison Wonderland on Friday, Above & Beyond on Saturday, to The Glitch Mob and Alesso on Sunday, there was no shortage of elite talent.
EZoo fans were blessed with beautiful warm weather the entire weekend, breaking the festival’s curse that canceled Sunday the past two years. One aspect of the festival that was rather disappointing though was the lack of branding. It is the Zoo after all. Besides the few stilt walkers dressed as zebras, the Riverside stage which morphed a zebra, octopus and snake into one odd fantasy creature, and the zebra bench in the T-Mobile VIP lounge, there were very few indicators of the festival’s theme.
Moreover, the mainstage looked like it was shorted due to budget cuts. For a lack of better words, it looked unfinished. Electric Daisy Carnival’s stage setups blew Electric Zoo out of the water without question.
On a brighter note, security throughout was very friendly and sometimes even danced to the beat. When Oliver Heldens is playing out his future house tracks, it’s hard not to.
All in all, it was a decent festival that unfortunately lacked strong attendance. Sunday was definitely the most popular day of the three, possibly because they were in direct competition with Made In America, a multi-genre festival in Philadelphia. Let’s see how Electric Zoo comes back next year.