About This Festival
An Organic Genesis
Stalwart dance music promoters Mike Bindra and Laura De Palma (under the moniker Made Event) launched Electric Zoo in 2009, after years spent presenting DJs and electronic music in and around New York City. Their pedigree is strong; in the late 90s/early 00s, Bindra was general manager and booked DJs to play at Manhattan’s legendary Twilo when it was among America’s premiere nightclubs.
Seeing success with large-scale events in Manhattan’s Central Park, including shows featuring Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren, the married couple was inspired to helm their own full-blown, multi-stage festival, securing the city’s Randall’s Island Park as a seemingly ideal location to present a “zoo” of electronic sounds across the widest range of dance music genres possible.
The locale is unique in that it is indeed an island, but it’s one that’s set in the heart of New York City. Found along the East River between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, Randall’s Island hosts more than nine miles of prime real estate separate from the mainland. It’s a situation that offers traveling fans the opportunity to check out the city itself when not at the event soaking up the music.
Scheduled annually over Labor Day weekend, the first Electric Zoo launched as a two-day event that featured over 50 acts. Just two years after that inaugural weekend, the 2011 edition of the festival expanded from two to three days and more than 80 acts, a format they continue to follow.
Best of Both Worlds
Musically, the festival goes to great lengths to present a panorama of sounds to satiate the diverse sonic appetites of its audience. In the first year, legends like Frankie Knuckles, Danny Tenaglia and François K spun alongside more recent dance music superstars Steve Aoki, Kaskade and James Murphy.
2015 presented an equally balanced lineup of pioneers and modern-day DJs with the Chemical Brothers rolling out a state of the art performance encapsulating their long and storied career next to such acts as Above & Beyond, Alesso, Cashmere Cat, Com Truise, the Glitch Mob, Hot Since 82, Dirty South and Nervo.
Artists performed on one of five stages: the main stage, the Hilltop Arena (an enclosed area that replicated a nightclub), the Riverside stage (which was encased in a massive octopus structure) and the Sunday School Grove, an extension of Made Event’s ongoing party that launched in Miami back in 2006. The fifth stage was the somewhat hidden Treehouse area, tucked away on the opposite end of the festival grounds from the main stage.
Electric Zoo continues to grow and solidify its place as one of the East Coast’s premiere EDM festivals, offering an idyllic island-in-the-city party destination.