3 Reviews. 3 Perspectives. We give you: The 3D/360 Review.
The General Admission Experience:
By Evangeline Axiotis
I’ve been going to Electric Zoo every year for the past five years. And this year, due in part to the disappointment of the last two years, I didn’t plan on going. But, as fate would have it, I still managed to end up at the Zoo. I guess the Rave Gods just have their eye on me. I was very excited, and really curious to see how they were planning on “transforming” the festival this year.
When I walked through the heavily secured entrance with long lines, I didn’t feel the butterflies I did the first time. Instead I was checking my phone for battery life and calculating how many hours it would last me. I was also the sole sober human in a sea of underage attendees that had been pre-gaming since 10am. I remember those days of waking up the morning of EZOO and shotgunning beers. It was early afternoon and everyone around me was in full on rage mode. Young girls and boys clad in their neon best were eager and ready to rage, probably fresh out of high school.
Main Stage definitely got a great makeover since last year. It felt like they added 2x more speakers and the sound quality was legit. I thought the visual was weird, though. They used an owl-like structure, which is Insomniac’s thing, but is also scary looking.
By sunset I was buzzed, exhausted, and hangry. Like so hungry, not even the music could distract me. And I was excited to eat, because Ezoo brought in a stellar lineup of eats to the festival, in addition to the music.
I sat down in the grass to enjoy a burger and fries, but there was nowhere to really sit without being trampled. Everyone was standing or moving to get to the next stage. Some couple next to me was making out while I was stuffing my face.
And the music – Audien, Above and Beyond, and Ferry Corsten all killed it. I’m sure not 21 anymore, and not quite the rager I used to be, but that doesn’t detract from my ability to take in what Ezoo really has to offer—amazing live music. The beautiful sounds were almost enough to drown out Netflix calling my name from my room…
The Press Experience:
By Adam Wamsley
Electric Zoo successfully completed their first three-day festival weekend since its start three years ago. Despite the unfortunate setbacks in the past, they tackled this one flawlessly. With the “Transformed” theme, the festival hoped to put its crippling reputation of third-day cancelation behind them.
With a massive phoenix-shaped MainStage, some well above-par food vendors, and festival grounds littered in glowing and sparkling neon animals to fill your Instagram feed with, it was clear that EZoo had not given up.
As a photographer, I’m lucky enough to frequently attend these events as a part of my job, yet this can also be a bit of a double-edged sword, the shine wearing off pretty quickly. The idea of a euphoric crowd —beautiful, like-minded, music lovers partying into the neon night — quickly turns into reality — bunch of drunk, sweaty, bros looking for the next bang and girls in flower headbands and bikinis more concerned with their selfie pics than about the music. Throw in a shrunken festival layout and I was preparing myself for a rough ride.
To my surprise, I was happily proven wrong. As the days wore on and crowds grew dense, it was amazing how everyone happily kept their space, danced hard, and continued to keep the energy high into the final hours of each night.
It’s alarmingly impressive how everyone was able to completely rage while keeping a safe distance from one-another. Yet, people were still in perfect range of the speakers to not miss a beat.
With five stages covering top40 bangers, trap, trance, house, and tech vibes, there def was a gamut to pick from. The Main Stage housed the usual suspects, throwing some easy-to-digest jams, big drops, and boat loads of confetti, and fireworks overhead. You then had two tents to pick from: The Hilltop Arena (which wasn’t the one actually on the hill) housing some heavy bass and plenty of great live acts, and the Sunday School Groove ten,t which killed it on Sunday (go figure) with All Gone Pete Tong’s stellar lineup pumping mind melting deep and tech tunes.
A hidden tree house held some fresh artists on the festival scene and an endless supply of vitamin water (cant argue there… stay hydrated). Lastly, but definitely not least, my personal favorite: the Riverside stage, where a looming octopus enveloped the artist and crowd alike, while giving you a unique genre based dose of sound and visuals each day.
I must admit, the trance lineup at Riverside on Saturday was a much welcomed escape from the rest of the fest, Ferry Corsten and Markus Schulz (artists used to extend sets and all night musical journeys) used their time wisely to take you on a quick musical adventure outside of the typical rise and drops. Sunday at Riverside was a chill oasis of tropical vibes reaching their pinnacle with Robin Schulz and Thomas Jack who set the calmed the air and set the stage for the grand finale back at Main Stage.
Everything considered, Electric Zoo: Transformed was indeed a great success despite years past. Judging by the looks of everyone leaving: smiling, exhausted, and slowly making their way off the island like scene from The Walking Dead after Alesso’s hard-hitting finale, I’m sure we can expect a swift climb back up to the top from this MADE production. I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us next year.
The All Access Pass:
By Talia Aroshas
I was supposed to just have a press pass, but when you roll up into a festival with all your friends who work in the industry, magic happens and boom–you’ve got an all access ride at Ezoo. Now, don’t get me wrong–Ezoo is an amazing experience no matter what kind of ticket holder you are, but as is with all things in life, an upper class distinction means finer accommodations. And in the case of Ezoo, this means nice toilets with tp always on hand. Because as anyone who has ever been to festival can tell you, nice bathroom life is living in the lap of luxury.
We arrived Friday afternoon around 4pm, and after an easy check-in process, beelined for the bar in the secret artist’s lounge to fill our glasses with vodka sodas as we took in the scene and planned out our evening. As I looked around and realized I was in the company of some of my fav DJs I thought, “Well, this is going to be a damn good weekend.”
We then filled our water bottles and hurried off to the Riverside stage to see one of my main girl crushes, Alison Wonderland. Upon first leaving the quiet lands of backstage and entering the zoo, one thing was clear: the set up was far minimized from previous years. White, simple tents replaced ornate, colorful ones, and aside from the MainStage, there were no large-side stages. Although Riverside, with the decorative octopus that lay across it, was quite the site. Overall though, the only thing the simplicity proved was that the over-the-top doesn’t matter: as long as the music is banging, the festival will be too. Because it absolutely was.
To confirm I wasn’t crazy, I asked around.
“Oh yeah def. I’ve been coming to Ezoo for five years. This is the simplest set up I’ve seen. But who cares, right? The music is awesome. It’s fucking Ezoo. I’m so excited.”
The Zoo animals were clad in their rave best, and loving the beats Alison was giving them. After her set, we meandered the grounds for a bit longer, scoping out the incredible eats, before heading back to the back of stage area with the drinks, and back out to the Hilltop for Galantis, who absolutely blew my mind. Like, they were so good it almost didn’t matter that Hilltop was incredibly hot, sweat and smelly. The amazing kick-off day ended with The Chemical Brothers, as a middle age man offered some bud to me and my friends. He was there with his wife of the same-ish age, and it was adorbs but also very odd, but mostly adorbs.
“You come to these things often?”
“All the time!”
“Bless your soul. And here I was at 26 feeling like a relic. You have made my day. And today I saw a unicorn. I mean, you know, sort of. “
As awesome as Friday was, Saturday topped it. Because aside from the day’s line of events including an impressive escape from the lounge where I spotted a guy I met at a party a few months ago who I’ve been avoiding since he sent me a Instagram ready selfie with the request, #pic4pic, I also ended up on stage at Hilltop, Riverside with Markus Schulz, and abducted by a group of wonderful Asian girls for a good hour before leaving them in tears and heading back to my friends.
Oh, and I also partook in some of the amazing grub. And while chowing down, I chatted with some security guys who told me the food was their favorite part about the festival, besides their paycheck, of course.
I caught the closing act, Above & Beyond, with the only person I would ever want to, my friend who is also like their biggest fan ever. And her Tinder date that she met that night. It was magic. I mean the show was but, yes, they did hit it off too.
Sunday confirmed what I kind of already knew: I’m too old for a three-day festival. Even with all access. Firstly, I couldn’t even pull myself out of bed until 3pm, and once I got to the festival, things certainly didn’t get any easier. Chairs were my everything, but they were far and few between where I was. Hours spent at the Riverside stage meant standing on my aching feet, while hating any human that tried to talk to me. I do have to say, however, that observing everyone else having a good time was a good time enough. Oh those crazy kids, they revive me.
Alesso closed the festival with a spectacle of lasers and hit songs only a EDM king like him is capable of. But better than his set, was just the fact that Ezoo withstood all three days. A much needed Labor Day miracle after three years of lost hopes. And I’m so glad I was there for it.