The beauty of an outdoor music festival, like Electric Zoo, is that it’s outside. There are no walls, barely any crowd size restriction, and the music is loud enough that you can hear it as you approach the gates. The bass thumps and echoes across the rest of the world, washing out the noise of everyday life as it goes. If this is your first time attending EZoo, then I say welcome to the madness! Here are some tips and tricks for having the time of your life!
The first time I attended EZoo, I decided to take the walk along the pedestrian bridge on the south side of Randall’s Island Park. The walk itself isn’t very long, it took me about 20 minutes with each step bringing me closer to other attendees. This year I’ll be taking the ferry to get there, since the ferry and shuttle tickets are included with the price of a regular GA ticket. If you decide not to take them, it’s at no cost to you.
* There are two pedestrian bridges from Manhattan to Randall’s Island (the Footbridge on 103rd and the FDR Drive, the RFK Bridge at 125th St) as well as a footbridge from the Bronx and Queens.
* If you’ve reserved a ferry pass with your ticket, the ferry departs from the East 35th St ferry Landing (35th and the FDR Drive). The ferry will keep running until everyone is where they need to be, so don’t get in a frenzy if you miss the first one.
* If you’ve reserved a shuttle pass with your ticket, the shuttle departs from East 125th St, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The shuttles will be clearly labeled so that none of you animals accidentally hop on an MTA bus.
Dancing in the sun for 10 hours is exhausting. It’s easy to keep dancing, and forget to hydrate. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, there are new rules in place prohibiting back-pack hydration packs, such as camelbaks. Never fear! You can still bring a clear plastic bottle with you. Sponsor, T-Mobile, will also be providing free clip-on refillable water pouches.
While it is crucial to remain hydrated during the festival, I’ve found it’s good to start hydrating before you get there. So grab a sports drink, like Gatorade or Powerade before you get to the park. Drink it before you go inside, and keep the empty plastic bottle to refill during the day. That way it’s no great loss if you drop the bottle while dancing.
We all know that drinking water is important, but so are electrolytes. Yes, there will be 3 hydration stations providing free water, but in order to replenish electrolytes, try skipping the inevitable mob at the water stations, and grab coconut water or a smoothie at a vendor’s booth. That way you’ll have a bit more energy.
Speaking of energy, last year at EZoo, there were high caffeine energy drinks being sold in the crowds around the main stages. If you choose to drink them, just be sure you’re aware of how much you’re consuming, on top of how much water and or alcohol. You know yourself best, so use caution, and have fun!
If you’re in the crowd, keep an eye out for vendors selling drinks individually, and Zoo Keepers, who have been put in charge of passing out water and helping attendees have a good time. Zoo Keepers are trained personnel who are there for you, so take advantage!
Electric Zoo is huge. Download the app, check out set times for all of your favorite acts, and plan accordingly. Don’t forget to upload money to your bracelets too!
The EZoo Mobile app provides set times, artist recommendations and a detailed map. While the map can access your cell phone’s data to tell where you are on the map, the entire app is fully functional in offline/airplane mode. Which means there shouldn’t be as many pesky connectivity issues. Remember to update your app before you get to the festival, that way you’ll have the most accurate info!
If you’re not really sure which artists you want to see, try moving around between stages. There are interactive art installations, on top of the different genres to be found in the tents. Wander a bit, have some food, make new friends, trade kandi and relax. If you’ve never seen a Vinyl-Only set, you should definitely try to squeeze one in. It’s a totally different vibe than the main stages, but so worth it!
If there is a DJ you really want to see, and you’re not planning on posting at that stage all day, get to that stage for the last 10-15 minutes of the previous performer. That way you can easily move through the crowd, and as people leave for other stages, you can shimmy forward much easier. Plus, you may just find you like that other performer! Don’t be upset if the diehards at the barricades don’t let you push in front of them, as they’ve most likely been there all day. Let them be, don’t feed the animals, and you’ll get along fine!
This year Electric Zoo is going cashless and everyone must upload “EZ Bucks” onto your wristbands. Click here and follow the instructions on how to do so. Purchased a living social deal? No problem. Once you pick your ticket up at will call there will be top up stations at the festival where you can add these EZ Bucks or you can do it right on the Ezoo phone app. Unfortunately, like everything else there is a fee and you will be charged $1 for every $10 you add to your bracelet, but I’ll take that over having my crumpled up dollars fall out of my pocket while shuffling during a set.
Personally, I love the scale of Electric Zoo. There are so many people coming together for the same shared love of music. So with that said, don’t get aggravated when there are tons of people trying to do the same thing as you. Yes, there are going to be lines, and crowds, and people are probably going to get into your personal space, but if you take it in, and enjoy the energy of the festival, your experience will be 200% better!
Jordan deJongh for EDMNYC