Words by Addy Walter

Electric Zoo on Randall’s Island Park is a three-day electronic music festival that consists of four stages and endless amounts of food and drink vendors. It was a warm, sunny labor day weekend, with a few bouts of rain on the last day that broke the heat. There were busses near the subways that drove festival-goers directly to the site – you could catch a glimpse of the newly renovated Antheon main stage as you were crossing the Robert F Kennedy bridge.

A few of the headliners included Martin Garrix, Diplo, Porter Robinson, DJ Snake, and Armin Van Buuren. While it was not the most diverse of lineups on the main stage, the other stages featured artists like DJ Deisel, CloZee, Wreckno, Moore Kismet, Meli Rodriguez and other phenomenal acts that really brought this festival to life. 



A personal favorite of mine was CloZee, who headlined the Levitron stage while Martin Garrix performed on the main stage. Her set had darker lighting that created a silhouette of her against the colorful screens, with the bursts of fire that lit up the stage on the deep bass beat drops, showing glimpses of her face. It all made for an ethereal experience – the perfect ending to a great festival.

Subtronics was another standout performance. You could tell he has been deep in this scene for a long time with the way he was able to amp up a crowd and get people moving, despite the exhaustion that long festival days bring to people. He had trippy visuals as his imagery, almost like you were looking at a kaleidoscope. He would stand on the platform where everyone in the crowd could see him and yell at the crowd to go wild with him. I was taking photos in the pit and couldn’t help but put the camera down and dance along with him and the crowd. His energy and love for EDM was contagious. 

The new main stage reminded me of a scene out of the Lion King, where it looked like the artists were on top of a mountain overlooking the crowd. The imagery on the screens behind the artists, mixed with the lasers, pyrotechnics, and occasional fireworks created an upbeat, exciting environment for fans. Security was great at passing out water to the crowd all day long, and two giant misting fans were placed at the center of the crowds to keep fans cool. The main stage was located on a cement area, which did cause a few of the fans to overheat, but security was immediate in their response to go help when this would happen.

Leaving the venue was also a seamless experience, which is an incredible feat when you’re trying to get thousands of people off an island in New York City. They had busses lined up and ready to take fans back to the subways in Harlem or straight to Brooklyn, so no one was left waiting for hours to get home. 

With any large festival, there is bound to be a few hiccups. The stages seemed to get louder each day, causing some sound bleeding into the different stages. They also removed the interactive art and visual displays that they had throughout the crowds in previous years, which was disappointing to EDM-lovers who thrive on the energy of that type of creativity and interactiveness. It seemed the only places you were able to enjoy the festival was at the stages – not your typical EDM environment. 

Event staff was also tasked with deciphering several different colored wristbands, which was meant to allow certain festival-goers into backstage areas. However, that access was inconsistent and seemed to change by the hour, making it difficult to move about the venue seamlessly. They also allowed VIP into the front areas of the stage, where media and security are generally only allowed access to, despite there being several other areas for VIP with better views of the stage. This creates an issue when you have media navigating this area with expensive equipment and security needing access to assist those in need in the GA crowd – VIP would block staff, spill drinks, and generally not have a sense of awareness of their surroundings while in these areas. It’s also highly distracting for the GA crowd that is trying to enjoy the performance while VIP is being escorted in and out of the areas in between GA and the artist.

Overall, this festival was exciting, and I would definitely go again. My only advice would be to encourage the logistics team for this festival to rethink how many wristbands are actually needed, and keeping certain areas free of VIP so the GA crowds can still enjoy their experience, and the staff can do their jobs in a safer environment.

If you’re an EDM-fan on the East Coast, I’ll see you at this festival next year!



Day 1


Day 2

Last photo by Addy Walter


Day 3

Last two photos by Addy Walter