After a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic, New York City’s Electric Zoo was back on Randall’s Island for a three-day, jammed pack music extravaganza. Situated just a short bus ride from 125th Street in Upper Manhattan, Electric Zoo celebrated its 12th anniversary and return in a post-covid world with a special “Supernaturals” theme.
With the likes of Fisher, Loud Luxury, Alesso, Zeds Dead, Claptone, Kaskade, Shiba Shan, Rezz, Illenium, Duke Dumont, and Galantis, to name a few, performing during the festival and at after-parties spread out through the city until sunrise, the party literally never stopped, and I now understand why New York is known as the city that never sleeps.
Entry included proof of vaccination, shown right before scanning your ticket. Surprisingly, this didn’t slow entry into the festival and getting through all the lines was fast and easy. Food, drinks, and merch purchases were streamlined with purchasing available through your entry wristband. Designated spaces for 21+ to drink and lounge were also located throughout the grounds to recharge and relax with friends.
The EZoo team also developed their own app, which provided helpful notifications throughout the day, the schedule and line-up, and a map of the venue, making it easy to interact with my surroundings and design my experience the way I wanted it.
The festival included five different stages of varying sizes, designs, and music genres. While the main stage boasted big names, it was at the smaller stages, like Riverside and Sunday School, that the intimacy between the artists and crowd was most noticeable.
A standout performance for me was Cosmic Gate. I’d never heard of them before, and I was on my way to the main stage, when the design and production of the Riverside stage immediately caught my attention. Built as a pyramid with all the sides and walls covered in LED screens and lights to display visuals, it was a visual masterpiece. The DJs were set in the middle of the pyramid and elevated only a few feet, so it felt like they were almost in the crowd with me. Cosmic Gate performed a beautiful trance set, full of emotion and storytelling, and I was so grateful as it’s rare to get such an intimate experience at a large festival.
To top it all off was the ferry ride after the festival that took us from Randall’s Island all the way down to 35thstreet on the East Side of Manhattan. Surrounded by good people still stoked from the magic of the music, the view of the lit-up city skyline, and floating down the East River was all so dream-like.
Electric Zoo met the challenges presented by the pandemic and provided a top-notch large-scale festival, while delivering all that I expected and more: big names, rising talent, high-quality production, delicious food, accessible transportation, and a safe space to be expressive and myself.