10 Highlights From Electric Zoo 2017
Electric Zoo Festival is one of those festivals that holds a near and dear place in my heart. My first weekend after moving to New York last fall, I went to E-Zoo and experienced my first east coast rave.
Since then, I've been frequenting every EDM venue in the city from the famed Webster Hall to Terminal 5.
There was no way I was missing Electric Zoo 2017 (especially after the killer lineup and stage designs). And despite rain (are you seeing a trend here too?), mud and cold weather, animals descended onto Randall's Island for a weekend of music, dancing and good vibes.
1. The Outfits
Electric Zoo is one of those festivals that always attracts a colorful crowd of ravers dressed to the nines. And with an animal themed festival, creativity saw a new level. Ravers descended upon Randall's Island dressed in everything from cow onesies to inflatable dinosaur suits. Between the rotund Pikachus bouncing around the festival grounds to the numerous Deadmau5 helmets that floated over the crowds, Electric Zoo 2017 saw an absolute influx of creative costumes. The cow crew was one of my personal favorites, and these PLUR harbingers paused for pictures with ravers all weekend long.
2. The Food. All The Food.
I spend my money on exactly two things: festival tickets and food. New York is known for its food and Electric Zoo honored this culinary tradition by bringing some of the best food that the city had to offer over to Randall's Island. From New York staples like pizza and tacos to bao, chicken fingers, ice cream and sushi, Electric Zoo truly had something for everyone. Ravers could wander along two long lanes of food options throughout the festival and pick their favorites all weekend long.
3. Illenium Announces New York Awake Tour Date
I talk about Illenium a lot. I know. But the melodic bass producer had one of the best sets of the festival (not just my opinion, other people said it too!). His sophomore album, Awake will be dropping in late September, and will be accompanied by a North American tour, kicking off in Illenium's current home of Colorado. Illenium's Electric Zoo set had a surprise visit from Said the Sky, some new music and an exciting announcement. Illenium announced that he would be bringing his Awake tour to New York on December 9 (if I heard correctly). New York Illenials, keep an eye on Illenium's website for the most up-to-date information.
4. Tritonal Brings Out Giant Beach Balls and Love For Texas
The tragedy brought on by Hurricane Harvey shook the US from coast to coast and many ravers felt the fallout from the disaster. Tritonal, who originally hail from Texas, dedicated their set to the people struggling in Texas and sent all their love and support to family, friends and fans back in the Southwest.
Tritonal's PLUR was well-received by the crowd, but the crowd also went nuts for the twenty or so giant beach balls that Tritonal brought out. Each beach ball was about five feet in diameter (and surprisingly heavy!) so when Tritonal threw them into the crowd during their hit collaboration with the Chainsmokers "Until You Were Gone" everyone went nuts.
5. Raving in the Rain to Above and Beyond
In case you haven't heard yet, Saturday at Electric Zoo was rainy. And rainy in the way that Moonrise was rainy. Rainy as in pouring rain that made keeping your eyes open for more than ten seconds at a time impossible. But there was a very good reason that ravers stayed out in the rain, legendary progressive trance trio Above and Beyond was headlining Saturday night and no raver wanted to miss that. It was a mark of the love that the crowd had for Above and Beyond that thousands stayed out in the pouring rain for the headlining set. And I'll be honest; despite the cold, the wind and the rain, there was something unbelievably epic about raving in the rain to Above and Beyond.
6. No Lines For Water
I preach festival safety and the importance of hydration so much that I should be a spokesperson for hydration packs. That being said, one of my biggest peeves at festivals is when water is inaccessible or takes so long to get that people just give up and buy the expensive bottled water. All weekend long Electric Zoo kept their many hydration stations running smoothly. I never had to wait more than five minutes to fill up my pack and with numerous hydration stations near every major stage, other festivals could take a leaf from E-Zoo's playbook. Well done Electric Zoo.
7. The Madness That Was Elrow
Electric Zoo had several of its stages curated and hosted by artists this Labor Day Weekend and on Sunday, Hilltop Arena was taken over by Elrow. Elrow brought a Bollywood theme that kept the energy pounding from the moment the stage opened to the second it closed. Between the brilliant lights, decorations, props and constant beats, Elrow was a feast for the senses. Ravers flocked to Hilltop (which on the previous night had been a bass paradise) for a little bit of Bollywood action.
8. Re-imagined Stages
Electric Zoo's stage announcement keyed attendees to a fever pitch and seeing the stages in person was not disappointment. Every single stage paid homage to the theme of the 6th Boro and New York was alive and well throughout the festival grounds. From the extravagant main stage with Elephant tusks and brilliant light displays to the 6th Boro Station which any MTA-familiar New Yorker would recognize, the stage designs seamlessly brought New York and the jungle together into one huge display of brilliant special effects and extravagant size.
9. Jauz's Birthday Celebration
Both Zedd and Jauz had birthdays during Electric Zoo (Zedd had main stage sing happy birthday to him on Saturday and Jauz had his entire stage sing on Sunday) but Jauz really brought the celebration. Before leaving the stage after his huge set, Slushii announced Jauz's birthday and the entire Off the Deep End stage sang to the now 24 year old producer. With an Oreo cake, visits from Slushii, Crankdat and Ookay, and an epic shark squad picture, Jauz was the undisputed birthday boy of the night.
10. Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz's Epic Back to Back Set
The closing set of Electric Zoo is a coveted slot given to only the biggest and the best, and this year Zoo animals were given a treat, a rare back to back set of Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz. The set was a masterpiece of techno and progressive house beats, with incredible lasers, lighting and energy. Some of the crowd was a bit divided on the set, but for techno lovers, the set hit the sweet spot. Personally I loved it. The two legendary producers mixed in their own tracks with the relentless techno beats that they kept pushing all night, and they closed out Electric Zoo in style.