All photos compliments of aLIVE Coverage on behalf of www.electriczoofestival.com
NYC took the spotlight as Electric Zoo‘s not-so-secret headliner when the popular music festival returned to Randall’s Island over Labor Day weekend. This year’s city-centric “6th Boro” theme placed our fair city as the focal point of production, and let’s just say, we fell in love all over again.
A more confined layout did not inhibit the three-day electronic music event from becoming bigger and better. The 6th Boro was still able to comfortably accommodate a crowd of more than 90,000 fans, plus one of the most diverse lineups we’ve seen yet. The announcement of collaborative sets from the likes of Eric Prydz and Deadmau5 and Sasha and Digweed revealed early on that organizers were playing with power. For as much underground techno as we saw on the industrial zone-inspired Awakenings Stage, there were enough top 40 heavy hitters (from ZEDD to DJ Snake) on hand to please the more mainstream crowd. Despite Saturday’s stormy onslaught, trance powerhouses, Above & Beyond, and dubstep dominator, Excision, kept the venue swaying and stomping through to the muddy end.
For the first time, Electric Zoo introduced five brand new stages specially designed to showcase its longtime metropolitan home. The main stage (nicknamed “The Elephant’s Roar”) depicted an oversized pachyderm stampeding through a familiar skyline. The Hilltop Arena gave New Yorkers a rare chance to applaud the MTA, and a tragically-lost artistic landmark saw a resurgence in the 6 Pointz stage, which was appropriately powered by local talent all weekend long, including former Webster Hall residents Dali and Alex English.
Curated stages helped add flair and focus to this year’s event. The Awakenings stage was THE spot for top-notch techno and house sets from names like Boris, Victor Calderone, Danny Tenaglia, Dixon and Julia Govor. Internationally renowned party brand Elrow brought Bollywood to life on Sunday with a colorful takeover of the Hilltop Arena, complete with costumed stilt walkers and an inflatable Taj Majal backdrop. Future house pioneer Jauz gave us something special to sink our teeth into with his curated “Off the Deep End” lineup on the Riverside Stage the same day. It was here that British drum and bass producer, Sub Focus, played one of our favorite sets of the weekend (with help from his ever present hype man, M.C. I.D.)
One area where Electric Zoo has always excelled is pairing bites with beats. This year’s food lineup was on point with local favorites like Bareburger, The Bao Shoppe and The Loving Cup providing dance fuel for all the hungry party animals. The revamped Chinatown and Little Italy Lounges gave those in the 21+ category a festive spot to rest their feet whilst sipping craft cocktails.
Whether you ventured to The 6th Boro in hot pursuit of the artists, or just to indulge in another one of New York City’s great multi-cultural offerings, you undoubtedly left impressed. It’s rare to see a city-based festival adapt year after year, but MADE Events manages to keep Electric Zoo fresh without fail. We’re excited to see the wild antics they have in store for 2018, when they return to Randall’s Island to celebrate their 10-year anniversary.