We are only days away from the biggest electronic music festival in New York, and there aren’t enough fistpumps in the world that could make us more excited for it. But the Zoo can be a dangerous place, full of exotic animals, predators that lurk in the form of costumed freaks. The jungle is fierce my friend, but luckily for you, you have a guide. A guide who knows what lies in the bush, a scout of the first order who’s seen it all and knows what to avoid. A mentor, chaperone, and soothsayer rolled into one. We got this; we got YOU.
The first thing to consider before going to these festivals is what to bring. Of course you’ll need an outfit with bright colors, $2 sunglasses from St. Marks, some sunscreen for sure, and a picnic blanket you should to chill out on the plentiful grassy spaces. If you’re going for the day, you might want to consider bringing a large water bottle or camelback to refill at the free water stations, which will no doubt save you a good deal of money throughout the day.
Getting to Randalls is easy and painless. By far the best way to go is via cab, since the RFK bridge will drop you right into the festival from Manhattan, The Bronx, or Queens. Depending on the ticket purchased, you have two other options provided by the festival: shuttle bus or ferry. The ferry is sold out, but shuttle buses are still available through Electric Zoo and there is a public MTA option through the x60 bus from 125th and Lexington.
The next order of business involves carefully scheduling the migration plan to maximize the action. The truth is, huge festivals like this are always hit or miss, and this is especially true when it comes to EDM. The biggest names are not always the best, and the side stages often showcase the best true talent. The biggest difference between EDM and most other live music lies in the underlying skill of playing an instrument. For rock, this means being moderately talented at guitar, drums, bass, or keyboard. These are also the same skills necessary for the best producers when they make synthesized music in a studio. But always remember that production skills do not beget DJ skills, and some of the best producers out there simply can’t DJ even if their exorbitant fees depended on it. DJing is an art form that requires vast knowledge of current music, mixing skills, the ability to double drop a bassline, change it up to please a tired crowd, EQing on the spot, scratching, blending, and juggling. If you just paid $100 to a see bunch of DJs, wouldn’t you rather party with the ones who keep you on your toes, rather than those who just hit play on a CD player?
If you’re going to be dropping in on the Riverside Stage, be sure to pick up a pair of free 3D glasses for an extra triply light show to circle your head around.
To help you decide, we’ve broken it down by day, based on who you should see and who you should skip. Never forget what it means to DJ, and always be mindful of the drop.
DO SEE: Laidback Luke, Brodinski, Dillon Francis, A-Trak, Luciano, Gesaffelstein, Pretty Lights
SKIP: David Guetta, biggest shit eating grin DJ of all time. Check out this video of him just standing there.
DO SEE: Wolfgang Gartner, Rusko, Bingo Players, Mustard Pimp, Axwell
SKIP: Steve Aoki, if you are stage diving and pouring drinks for people, you aren’t doing much DJing, aren’t you?
DO SEE: Tiesto, Flux Pavillion and Doctor P, Bart B More, Diplo, Paper Diamond, Congorock
SKIP: Skrillex, who DJs on a single laptop. ‘Nuff said.
In addition to live music, Electric Zoo is a food festival of sorts, in case you are hungry. Some of the vendors participating in this year’s festival include Crif Dog (but no Asia Dog:( ), Korillabbq, Roberta’s, Fornino’s Meatballs (it’s a SPICY meat ah ball), Pushcart Coffee, Mexicue, and a bunch others. And for those who are under the age of 21, there will also be a face and body painting station and some shit called “The Garden of EZ”. This is apparently a place where you can meditate and chill with a bunch of neon butterflies, if your brain needs a rest from the music.
So there you have it, Electric Zoo 2012. 100,000 attendees expected. Three days of heavy beats, strong doses, and trippy extracurricular activities. Plan smartly, go prepared, party safely and have a blast; we’ll see you there!