My weekend at the (Electric) Zoo

 Electric Zoo on Randall's Island in New York City celebrated its 10-year anniversary this past Labor Day weekend. (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

Electric Zoo on Randall's Island in New York City celebrated its 10-year anniversary this past Labor Day weekend. (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

I was underdressed. That was my first thought before I scanned my media pass to gain access to the event. Electric Zoo, an electronic dance music festival, was held this past Labor Day weekend on Randall’s Island Park in New York City. The festival was celebrating its 10-year anniversary and has a video to showcase highlights of the event.

Many festival goers went all out, some sporting animal onesies like unicorns and lions. In the heat, others opted to go for a more daring, showy look in animal prints or bare skin; one group dressed up in grass skirts and leis. Since there was such a large crowd at the festival this year, especially due to the wide publicity as a 10-year anniversary event, matching outfits to find friends in the crowd looked like a good idea.

Themed outfits sported by festival goers went along with the various colorful animals dotted along the entrance to the festival. The highlight was an all-white giraffe that people could sign.

A milestone event beckons for an amazing line-up and EZoo (another name for the festival) brought it. Saturday’s main headliners were Kaskade and Martin Garrix. Kaskade’s logo was emblazoned on the screen for most of his set. The American DJ played melodic, chest-thumping mixes that had the crowd swaying and putting their hands in the air. The next song? Well, there was jumping and head banging everywhere. Some of the songs he mixed included top hits “Sweet Memories” and “Us.” He led the crowd into hand clapping at some parts of his set. At one point, the only lights visible were that of phone flashlights being waved in the air.

Dutch DJ Martin Garrix was the main headliner of the night, performing to a roaring crowd and even hotter flames that jumped from the stage. He performed many of his top hits, my personal favorite being “Scared to Be Lonely” featuring British singer Dua Lipa. Festival goers sang all the lyrics in unison; no one was lonely in the large crowd. Martin Garrix waved to the crowd, standing in the shadow of his logo with smoke enveloping him as he jumped out of view and fireworks exploded on top of the stage.

The last day of EZoo was just as good. Arriving earlier in the day, I was able to see Philippines-born artist Manila Killa. I had never heard his music before but many of his beats will be on my playlist for this semester. His logo emblazoned in the background pulsed to music that was featured under the “Creamy” playlist on Spotify.

I was able to catch the end of American DJ 3Lau’s electrifying set on the main stage. However, I was really there to get a good spot for American DJ Illenium. More specifically, his song “Beautiful Creatures.” The rays from the sunset shown on the faces of the festival-goers as the stage transitioned for the arrival of Swedish DJ Alesso. The crowd sang along to “Heroes (we could be)” and “Under Control” among other catchy lyrics and deep bass.

The crowd-pleaser of the night was DJ Tiesto. Every song he mixed had the crowd jumping up and down, fist pumping and occasional foot stomping. Flames and a light show accompanied every song. Recent release “Jackie Chan” was played with other hits such as “BOOM.” Tiesto’s mix of “Light” by San Halo with Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” was my personal favorite.

What I especially love about electronic dance music, otherwise known as EDM, are the beat drops for every song that all the DJs play. The roar of the crowd as a song rose before the drop added to the anticipation of what was going to be played next.

Electric Zoo 2018 delivered with its lineup and released waves of exhausted festival goers already talking about heading out to next year’s event.


Kimberly Nguyen is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.nguyen@uconn.edu.