Electric Zoo

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Electric Zoo Festival
Electric Zoo Festival
GenreMusic festival
FrequencyAnnually, Labor Day Weekend
VenueRandall's Island Park NYC
Location(s)New York City, U.S.
Cancún, Mexico
São Paulo, Brazil
Tokyo, Japan
Beijing, China
CountryUnited States
Years active14
InauguratedSeptember 5, 2009 (2009-09-05)
FounderMade Event
Most recentSeptember 2–4, 2022
Previous eventSeptember 3–5, 2021
Next eventSeptember 1–3, 2023

Electric Zoo was an annual electronic music festival held over Labor Day weekend in New York City on Randall's Island. The festival represents all genres of electronic music, bringing top international DJs and live acts from multiple countries to four stages.

In its 2009 inaugural year, 26,000 people attended to see artists Armin van Buuren, Deadmau5, David Guetta and Ferry Corsten. In 2011, Electric Zoo expanded to a 3-day festival and with 85,000 attendees. Electric Zoo received International Dance Music Awards nominations in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 for "Best Music Event".[1]

Hilltop Arena


Electric Zoo 2009[edit]

Electric Zoo 2009 was held during Labor Day weekend on September 5, 6, 2009. It featured 55 artists over the course of the 2 days the event spanned.

Electric Zoo 2010[edit]

Electric Zoo 2010 was held on Labor Day weekend on September 4, 5, 2010. There were 66 acts during the 2 day festival.

Electric Zoo 2011[edit]

Electric Zoo added one more day to the event from previous years, leading to the event being 3 days (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) instead of 2, which led to the performances of over 100 artists (expanding from the 66 of the previous year). The dates of the event were September 2, 3, 4, 2011. The overall attendance for all three days was 85,000.[2]

Electric Zoo 2012[edit]

Electric Zoo 2012 was the largest festival yet as over 110,000 people attended over the three days (8/31/12 - 9/2/12) with sold out crowds on Saturday and Sunday. The event was headlined by Above & Beyond, Pretty Lights, David Guetta, Laidback Luke, Dada Life, Tiësto, Porter Robinson and Skrillex.[3] Made Event offered free water refill stations, designated help points and employed security staff.[4]

Electric Zoo 2013[edit]

Deaths and cancellation[edit]

The final day of Electric Zoo 2013 on September 1, 2013 was cancelled after two attendees, Jeffery Russ and Olivia Rotondo, died from hyperthermia and an overdose of MDMA during the festival, and four others had fallen ill.[5] The organizers of the event and a number of performers provided their condolences to the victims. In response to concerns that the incident could affect future music events in the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's press secretary Marc LaVorgna stated that while the city would investigate the incident, live music events "have been part of the fabric of New York City for decades."[6][7] On September 3, 2013, Bloomberg made a statement on the matter, lauding organizers for being "nothing but cooperative" in the wake of the tragedy.[8]

Electric Zoo 2014[edit]

In response to the incidents that occurred at the 2013 edition, festival organizers worked with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to conduct a review of Electric Zoo's health and safety practices.[9] A stronger security and medical presence was present at Electric Zoo 2014, with a particular focus on preventing illegal drugs from being brought into the festival grounds, and providing additional medical services to attendees. All attendees were required to watch a two-minute-long, anti-drug public service announcement to activate their wristbands before they entered the festival. Additionally, to minimize sun exposure, the festival's daily start time was pushed forward to 1:00 p.m. ET from 11:00 a.m. ET.[9][10]

The festival was cancelled part-way through its final day, this time due to severe thunderstorms hitting New York City and the United States northeast.[11][12]

Electric Zoo 2015[edit]

In December 2014, it was announced that ID&T, organizers of the Tomorrowland festival and a fellow SFX subsidiary, would serve as a "creative partner" for Electric Zoo 2015.[13] The festival was revamped with an "immersive" zoo-themed atmosphere patterned off ID&T's other franchises, featuring new animal-themed stage designs. The revamp was headed by ID&T creative director Jeroen Jansen, who assisted in launching ID&T's other festival brands in the United States. The partnership came as part of an effort to re-launch the festival in the aftermath of the 2013 deaths; steps were also taken to address comments and complaints received via a survey after the 2014 edition, such as entry times and the number of washrooms available.[14][15] Alesso, Above & Beyond, and The Chemical Brothers were announced on May 1, 2015 as the first headliners of the festival, with the remainder of the festival's lineup revealed throughout the month.[16]

The concert was held over the Labor Day weekend, September 4, 5, 6, 2015.

Electric Zoo 2016[edit]

Electric Zoo 2016 took place for its eighth year at Randall's Island during Labor Day weekend, 2–4 September 2016. Billboard worked with the event to announce the headliners for the 2016 festival, which included Tiesto, Hardwell, and Bassnectar.[17] Other artists began getting announced on 28 April 2016 via Electric Zoo's social media pages. Stages for the 2016 festival were curated by Anjunadeep, ANTS, Buygore, Dim Mak, Elrow, and Sunday School.

Electric Zoo 2018[edit]

Electric Zoo 2018 was held during Labor Day weekend on August 31–September 2. It was called "The Big 10," in honor of the festival's 10th anniversary.

Electric Zoo 2019[edit]

Electric Zoo 2019 was held during Labor Day weekend on August 30–September 1.

Electric Zoo 2021[edit]

The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[18] The event returned in 2021, with safety protocols including all stages being open-air,, and requiring proof of vaccination in order to attend. The stages featured a new theme, "Supernaturals", including "The Den" (house and techno), "The Gateway" (melodic trance and melodic bass), "The Teleporter", and the main stage "The Hive". The festival was nearly hampered by rains from Hurricane Ida.[19]

Electric Zoo 2022[edit]

Electric Zoo 2022 was held during Labor Day weekend on September 2–September 4.

Electric Zoo 2023[edit]

Electric Zoo 2023 was held during Labor Day weekend on September 1–September 3. The edition was marred with notable problems, however. Chiefly, the first day (Friday) of the festival was cancelled only 3 hours before the expected start time, due to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation refusing permit requests, despite festival officials claiming the cancellation was a result of "global supply chain disruptions", causing the main stage construction to not be finished on time.[20][21] The main stage remained incomplete throughout the remainder of the festival. Other issues included a 2-hour delay to the Saturday start time,[22] hours-long lines at the will call booths on the festival grounds, as well as the festival reaching capacity and denying further entry around 6:30 pm on the third day. Electric Zoo sent out a social media update that they had reached capacity "due to the challenges caused by Friday cancelation [sic]," spurring ticket-holders to rush the gates at some entrances.[23] Barred from entering, some ticket-holders stampeded through the entrances and ran past security.[24]

Electric Zoo Mexico[edit]

On December 15, 2013, Made Event announced the first edition of Electric Zoo outside the United States. Electric Zoo Mexico took place May 3 and 4, 2014 in Mexico City.[25]


Arty at the Electric Zoo Festival 2011
Electric Zoo Festival 2011 at night

In 2010, Made Event donated $42,000 to FLOW, an outdoor art exhibition project in coordination with The Randall's Island Park Alliance, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Rockefeller NYC Cultural Innovation Fund. The organizers of Electric Zoo also donated $2 from every ticket sale in 2011 to the project.[26] In 2011, Electric Zoo also partnered with Music Unites, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to auction off a Pioneer CDJ-2000 signed by Electric Zoo artists, and helped bring music education to underprivileged children in innercity school systems.[citation needed]

In 2011, Electric Zoo introduced an on-site recycling program for all trash, water in cardboard containers, compostable plates and utensils, began using 100% biodiesel alternative fuel from NYC fryer grease, and required that all food vendors source only organic, hormone-free, humanely raised animals.[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

DJ Magazine's top 50 Festivals[edit]

Year Category Work Result Ref.
2019 World's Best Festival Electric Zoo – New York City, USA 41st [28]

International Dance Music Awards[edit]


Year Category Work Result Ref.
2010 Best Music Event Electric Zoo - New York City, New York Nominated [29]
2011 Nominated [30]
2012 Nominated [31]
2013 Nominated [32]
2014 Nominated [33]


Year Category Work Result Ref.
2020 Best Festival Electric Zoo Nominated [35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ No award ceremony was held in 2017. In 2018 winners were chosen by the Winter Music Conference themselves. 2019 marks the first year of public voting since the Winter Music Conference's restructure.[34]


  1. ^ "28th Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2013 - WMC 2013". Archived from the original on 2017-03-02. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  2. ^ "Electric Zoo: 85,000 Electronic Music Fans Attend 3-Day Festival + Gallery of Photos" (Press release). Plexi Global. 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  3. ^ Arnold, Michael (May 14, 2012). "Official EDM Lounge Electric Zoo Preview". www.edmlounge.com. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Hebert, Ben (September 11, 2012). "Electric Zoo Marks The Perfect End To The Summer of Electronic Dance Music in America". WhiteRaverRafting. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020.
  5. ^ Mckinley Jr, James C. (September 12, 2013). "Overdoses of 'Molly' Led to Electric Zoo Deaths". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  6. ^ Yee, Vivian; Rashbaum, William K. (September 1, 2013). "Weekend Revelry Cut Short After 2 Die at Electronic Music Festival". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  7. ^ Mason, Kerri (September 1, 2013). "Electric Zoo Festival Canceled After Two Deaths". Billboard. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  8. ^ Dawsey, Josh (September 3, 2013). "Mayor Lauds Electric Zoo's Record". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (August 31, 2014). "A Bit of Caution Beneath the Thump". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  10. ^ Bashan, Yoni (28 August 2014). "Electric Zoo to Clamp Down on Drugs This Year". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  11. ^ Kreps, Daniel (31 August 2014). "Electric Zoo Festival Canceled Due to Severe Weather". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 1 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Storms in Northeast Shut Down Concerts, Delay Flights". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2014.[dead link]
  13. ^ Middleton, Ryan (17 December 2014). "Electric Zoo Partners With ID&T For 2015 'Transformation'; Pre-sale Tickets Announced". Music Times. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  14. ^ Buerger, Megan (May 8, 2015). "Can Electric Zoo Bounce Back After Tragedy?". Billboard. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Electric Zoo reveals new stage designs for Transformed festival". Dancing Astronaut. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  16. ^ Buerger, Megan (May 1, 2015). "Exclusive: Chemical Brothers, Alesso, Above & Beyond to Headline 2015 Electric Zoo". Billboard. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  17. ^ Medved, Matt (April 5, 2016). "Electric Zoo 2016 Announces Phase One Headliners: Exclusive". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2016-07-18. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  18. ^ Heffler, Jason (July 10, 2020). "Electric Zoo Forced to Abandon 2020 Festival After NYC Mayor Cancels Large Events Through September". EDM.com - The Latest Electronic Dance Music News, Reviews & Artists. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  19. ^ Masood, Saad (September 24, 2021). "Inside Electric Zoo's "Supernatural" Return to Randall's Island". EDM.com. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  20. ^ Tolentino, Daysia (2023-09-04). "Electric Zoo attendees frustrated by chaos at disorganized three-day festival". NBC News. Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  21. ^ "Electric Zoo Festival Canceled Friday Because It Didn't Have Permits — And the Problems Didn't Stop There". Billboard. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  22. ^ "Electric Zoo Music Festival Hits Capacity, Spirals Into Chaos As Fans Storm Gates". HuffPost. 2023-09-04. Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  23. ^ Hatfield, Amanda (September 3, 2023). "Electric Zoo hits capacity at 6:30 PM & bars further attendees from day 3; people rush gates". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  24. ^ Humphries, Monica. "Chaos erupts at Electric Zoo after the music festival closed its gates early, prompting fans to stampede and push their way into the venue". Insider. Retrieved 2023-09-20.
  25. ^ Spada, Andrew (16 December 2013). "Electric Zoo makes the move to Mexico, May 3rd and 4th". Dancing Astronaut.
  26. ^ Wood, Andrew (19 August 2011). "Electric Zoo Gives Randall's Island a Positive Charge". The New York Observer.
  27. ^ Schwecherl, Laura (September 2, 2011). "Electric Zoo is Going Green!". Joonbug. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  28. ^ "DJ Mag's Top 50 festivals 2019". DJ Mag. 16 May 2019.
  29. ^ "31st Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2018 - WMC 2018". Archived from the original on 2018-09-02. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  30. ^ "27th Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2012 - WMC 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  31. ^ "27th Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2012 - WMC 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  32. ^ "28th Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2013 - WMC 2013". Archived from the original on 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  33. ^ "29th Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2014 - WMC 2014". Archived from the original on 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  34. ^ Pell, Damion (26 February 2019). "The 33rd annual International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) announces nominees". Decoded Magazine.
  35. ^ "WMC - 34th Annual International Dance Music Awards".

External links[edit]