Published on September 5th, 2012 | by Sophie Solomon4
Electric Zoo 2012 Roundup (Past & Present)
Four years of Zoo have come and gone, leaving everyone with memories of fist pumping, blaring beats and virtual abstractions. As a veteran of all four Electric Zoo Festivals, I have witnessed its evolution. Last year was the first year it expanded to three days. The past two years took advantage of the extra day to bring in even more talent. In my opinion, this year’s lineup was one of the most exceptional; not only talent-wise, but in the way the time slots were allocated. The strategically stacked lineup allowed festival goers to set hop amongst their favorite DJs, without many (if any) scheduling conflicts.
The physical grounds mimicked last year with three tents on the right side of the Main Stage so close together that it took all of 5 minutes to walk from the first to the last, yet set sounds hardly intermingled. The tents were way more packed than last year, which was to be expected, but the fences down the middle make it more organized, which allowed for better texting instructions for friends (when they went through). Water re-fill stations dispersed in convenient areas in the festival as well as water bottles with caps, not boxes, were a welcomed surprise this year. Mixed drinks sold in the festival area not just the VIP along with the usual beer and wine was a welcomed addition to Electric Zoo this year as well.
The light and visual production in the tents were the most extravagant and intricate I have ever seen. From what seemed like high definition geometric shapes, cartoons and swirling lights to Riverside’s 3D productions, the visuals that accompanied the music were highlights. Main Stage production was top notch as well. Many djs used the crowd camera to insert fans on to the main stage backdrop, which looked awesome among the surrounding lights and visuals.
Now, down to the music. One word, exceptional. After raging at Tomorrowland in July where a lot of the sets I caught sounded very similar (from the DJs I saw at least), the acts at Electric Zoo switched it up to the max! It felt like the DJs played with the expectation that everyone was a seasoned listener with a sophisticated ear. I must say that is what makes live sets so memorable, feeling like the DJ knows exactly what you want to hear and doesn’t trick you by playing the same songs you have heard all day, over and over again.
The Electric Zoo crowd is always one of the best crowds in the world. Last year there was a lot of energy, but I felt it even more everywhere I walked and looked this past Labor Day weekend, more costumes/props were worn and played with throughout the festival. More groups of friends and strangers gesturing to each other to take in the music entered my vision throughout Randall’s Island Park.
The magical shimmering trees that came out at night were relics from last year, but I think their own colored beauty (pink, red, blue green) and glow embody the aura of Electric Zoo Festival perfectly. Thousands of diverse people with unique ideas about what electronic music means to them come together to celebrate what many in the scene refer to as PLUR: peace, love, unity, respect. It creates a beautiful backdrop, connecting with something larger in the world, that for once is purely based upon personal mental and physical happiness. In an odd way we are all a little bit selfish together, each knowing we are allowed to be carefree on our own, yet simultaneously enjoying the bliss with everyone around us. Til next year animals!