Celebrating its 11th installment, New York City’s iconic Electric Zoo Festival has proved why it has stood against the tests of time. Since its inception, the curators behind New York City’s most prominent EDM festival have the production down to a science. This time around, Made Event totally outdid themselves as they presented the most spectacularly transformed edition of the festival yet, Electric Zoo: Evolved.
Over the course of this past Labor Day Weekend, Electric Zoo: Evolved took its 107,000 attendees on the most blissful dance music journey of the season. From the moment I walked through the gates on day one, every little change was significantly eye-catching. Having had attended the festival over the past two years, it was easy to point out that this was surely Electric Zoo’s most noteworthy year yet. New interactive drink and play areas and art installations were put into place throughout the festival grounds- and all the new stage design concepts were to die for. I was amazed throughout the festival’s entirety at how remarkable this new chapter had turned out.
There were too many highlights to point out over the course of the weekend, starting off with all the prodigious headliner performances such as those from Eric Prydz, Above & Beyond, Afrojack, Diplo, Dog Blood, Armin van Buuren, Oliver Heldens, Benny Benassi, Alison Wonderland, and Kaskade’s mesmerizing sunset set. Each day, a wide array of stage hosts brought their own distinct vibe to their particular curated productions. The one and only DESTRUCTO (aka the Garry Richards) hosted the ALL MY FRIENDS stage throughout all three days, always full of prominent house-heavy artists like MALAA, Nora En Pure, Anti Up, Walker & Royce, Dom Dolla, Camelphat, Solardo and more. Every time that I passed by the AMF stage throughout the weekend, it was tough not to stop and vibe out to all of the captivating house sounds blasting from a distance.
On Friday, Brownies & Lemonade exposed that West Coast trap/bass sound that we can’t seem to get enough of with sets from Nitti Gritti b2b Wuki, Peekaboo, Slumberjack, Getter, 4B, and Yultron. The Hilltop arena brought dubstep lovers to the top that day as well, with sets from artists like Subtronics, Sullivan King, Liquid Stranger, and Excision. After closing out the main stage on day one, Eric Prydz hosted an EZOO special debut of his very own PRYDA arena all day on Saturday. The techno-consumed stage featured mind altering sounds from Prydz himself as his PRYDA alias, Miss Jennifer, Ben Bohmer, Cristoph, Yotto, Jooris Voorn, and Green Velvet. The ALL MY FRIENDS tech-house venture continued on, while the Riverside stage was popping off with distinct beats from Zeke Beats, Riot Ten, Bear Grillz, a significantly dirty b2b set from Cookie Monsta and Funtcase, and Flux Pavilion to conclude the night.
On Sunday, SLANDER and NGHTMRE’s Gud Vibrations crew completely smashed the Hilltop Arena, particularly GTA, Whipped Cream, and SAYMYNAME. The highlight of day three had to be the fact that Seven Lions hosted his very own Ophelia Records curated event at the intricately designed Riverside stage, representing his label with such a distinguished amount of talent including Crystal Skies, Blastoyz, Wooli, Dimibo, Dabin, Said The Sky, and Kill the Noise. Jeff concluded the grand finale of his Ophelia Presents debut with his inspiriting and soul-altering music, followed by a special appearance of everyone from the label that had played that day for a family photo inclusive of everyone present in the crowd. This moment was so magical, I still get goosebumps when I even think about it.
Now while the music evidently plays an important factors in a festival’s success, the overall vibe is just as significant. With New York City having a plethora of such distinct people and cultures, Electric Zoo is always home to some of the most genuine and kind-hearted souls out there. People travel from all over the country just to be a part of the uplifting weekend. Everyone that you encounter at Electric Zoo is always smiling and full of the most contagious and electrifying positive energy. Throughout its entirety, live music from over 50 international electronic dance music artists brought pure happiness to over 100,000 individuals. That in itself says a lot about the power of music, as it has the potential to truly unite us all, and Electric Zoo: Evolved did just that.
It was an honor to cover this year’s iconic Electric Zoo: Evolved, as everything from the music, to the people, to the revamped stage designs was exquisitely in tact. It may just be the striking amounts of energy that New York City in itself exposes on an every day basis, but I’m still gleaming in joy from all of the unforgettable events that took place last weekend at Randall’s Island. Three days full of spellbinding live music, nonstop dancing, and being surrounded by quality like-minded individuals was everything we needed and more. A truly remarkable music festival production, it was beautiful to be a part of Electric Zoo’s exotic metamorphosis. Change can be known to be a good thing, and it sure was for Electric Zoo: Evolved. See you next year!