EZoo 2012 Preview: The E-Zoo Experience by Sam Scroxton

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The most frequently asked questions after E-Zoo 2011 were, “How was the dust situation?” and, “Did you contract Zoo-Flu this time?”. These were asked by those who did not attend. With over 85,000 people in attendance over three days, there were few who didn’t get to go (even for one day). To answer the question, no, I did not contract Zoo-Flu, and the dust was handled perfectly. The Main Stage was pushed back leaving a large portion of the “dance floor” as cement (what might have originally been a parking lot at one time). Additionally, on Friday morning, many wondered why the grass was not freshly mowed. Come Saturday evening it was fairly obvious to us all why- the long grass was quickly trampled creating a blanket over the bare earth holding back that horrible dust we all once complained about. In addition, each tent had flooring installed to prevent the clouds of dust we all experienced last year. It was a HUGE improvement!

Another question people asked was in regards to the set up for GA and VIP. With any festival, the debate is whether or not a VIP ticket is actually worth its higher price. At E-zoo you had not only a plethora of additional luxuries with your VIP pass, but you found yourself to the far left of far right of the Main Stage, up front, and with shaded areas and seating. At no point in time did the VIP area seem over crowded or uncomfortable. So, to this question I must say that VIP was worth it.

The other stages, Hill Top Arena, Red Bull Stage, and Sunday School Tent, were all smaller. Originally, when I saw some of the line up, and the neglect to have some bigger names on the Main Stage, I worried because these names had the Main Stage in previous years. The Main Stage, was, of course, the largest most intense stage there (and rivals pretty much any festival I’ve been to to date), and had screens and speakers that seemed to go on forever. The finales on each day included confetti and fire works. But I wasn’t worried once inside the Hill Top Arena and Red Bull Stage (where I spent most of my time), because they were simply mini Main Stages. There was nothing left to desire once inside these tents. The stages themselves were huge and immaculately put together with design that was surely the apple of Made Events eye. In fact, the Hill Top Arena’s stage was so huge, that once the DJ made it on, I realized just how massive it was because we were quickly soaked into the bright and electric background and could lose sight of the DJ as the music took you under.

Hill Top Arena was quickly renamed “Trance Tent” by many for Friday and Saturday. As was Red Bull Stage for most of Saturday. In my opinion, and many agreed, the line up and the scheduling was near perfection. This was the first of the three years that attendees were heard bearing sighs of relief due to the fact that there wasn’t much of a need to run from stage to stage to catch their favorite artists. There was very limited overlapping when it came to a persons desires to see their long time faves as well as test new artists.

Another item people were curious about prior to Zoo was the food and drinks. Many people were saving just as much money in order to chow at the Zoo as they had put aside to actually purchase their three days passes. On forums such as TranceAddict.com and many other genre/artist specific sites, I saw threads and notes in excitement regarding the food. Although I didn’t care much about it, the food looked fantastic, and the lines were very long each day so the vendors did well. However, $6 slices of pizza were the only mediocre item available. So, my request for 2012 would be some cheaper snack foods, or simple foods to keep us going.

One of my favorite parts of last years Zoo was the entry and exit of the venue– smooth as silk. There was not one issue for me on any day, and I had two friends who needed assistance and were helped so quickly that it was almost as if nothing ever went wrong. In my opinion, this is the most important aspect of any festival this size. Made Event obviously not only knew this, but took it to heart. Bravo!

Even with word spreading like a virus that craigslist and other like pages were selling fake tickets, I did not hear about a single issue with fake passes. Hopefully this was due to consumers being smarter than expected and realizing exactly what to look for when buying passes (the small metal sensor chip installed on each wristband). Brilliant!

All in all I was thoroughly impressed with E-Zoo last year and I can only imagine what Made Event has prepared for us this year. From the perfectly placed picnic tables in the shade, to the beautiful art all over the gorgeous weeping willows near the entry. There was no point in time where I felt over crowded, or under-impressed. I didn’t encounter a single soul that was miserable or complaining. The police and staff were happy, helpful and super respectful. Made Event outdid themselves last year, and to people who made statements about it being an overpriced event, I simply remind them: Made Event offers early bird pre-sale opportunities early in the year, single day ticket sales by early summer and an easy payment plan option implemented this year to accommodate everyone’s financial needs, in addition to an expected and improved set ups, state of the art visuals and a very talented local and international Dj lineup, so there is simply no room to complain.

A huge thank you to all the staff, police, the amazing DJs, everyone at Made Event- and, the entire crowd for staying respectful and caring of individuals around them! I can’t wait until E-Zoo Labor Day Weekend 2012! See you all there.

-Sam

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