Is Electric Zoo forever cursed? Check out the details of last weekend's debacle.
The Sunday Curse of Electric Zoo
It can now officially be declared that Electric Zoo is cursed. Although not in attendance, I am certain there were thousands of people who saw this coming, following the several ominous signs leading up to the Labor Day Weekend music festival. Last year, Electric Zoo experienced the tragic loss of two lives within the confines of Randall’s Island, requiring the third and final day to be cancelled. Following massive attacks from the media, the Electronic Dance Music Scene took heed, strengthening their drug tolerance from shielded eyes, to drug-sniffing canines. Owners of Electric Zoo forewarned about the heightened security precautions, but many did not believe they would follow through with a potential decrease in ticket sales.
WE WERE WRONG. Not only were there canines trained to weed out the drugs from entering the festival’s Randall’s Island, but there were also five different security checkpoints prior to entering the six-stage festival grounds. There were even pictures circulating of bins marked around the festival to dispose of your narcotics anonymously—in case you had a change of heart. It seemed that there were more security measures at the entrance of Randall’s Island, than in any domestic airport in the United States. The good news: there were no reported deaths for this year’s Electric Zoo festival.
Most recently, it seems that there is a constant stream of bad news stemming from this summer’s festival season. Burning Man experienced a tragic loss in a pre-main event Burning, several abroad music festivals experienced loss, none of which contradicting the negative headlines about every dehydration/drug-related illness case, that luckily did not result in death. The Scene even had Diplo publically speak against, and ban the accessorizing of Kandi for his Mad Decent Block Party several weeks ago. In summary, we have Pasquale Rotella’s ban of anything LED in his empirical festival catalogue, and now hip-hop-maestro Diplo banning ravers’ Kandi for his mini festivals. When did it no longer become about the music?
The issue of festival ticket prices is not a new one, but sparks heavy discussion following this year’s rain-out of Electric Zoo. Likely due to prison-like security measures prior to gaining entry in the festival, many ravers held back from attending SFX’s premier music festival. Moreover, due to the decrease in expected ticket sales, owners of Electric Zoo subcontracted their sales through LivingSocial, offering a massively reduced price for the three-day music festival. As you can imagine, this brought much outrage to those of whom were awarded pre-sale prices, because of their loyal return to Randall’s Island over Labor Day Weekend. While representatives of the festival seem to have handled that issue, they are not yet off the hook for the poorly managed refund dispense debacle.
No ‘Big Business’ ever seeks to succumb to loss, especially when a monetary refund is in order; but it could not be that difficult to return one third of the price paid to each of the festivalgoers, following Sunday’s cancellation. For unknown reasons, it took (still has taken) a much delayed response-time for representatives of the festival to guarantee each raver’s refund. To make matter more complicated, many of whom purchased tickets through LivingSocial still have yet to receive their refund. Perhaps the complication lies within the frugality of Electric Zoo, in not refunding the full days’ worth, since the entire day was not lost by extreme weather conditions. Arguably, there were only five, or six, hours remaining of the festival. In defense of those in attendance, missing out on Sunday’s festival-closing sets expected from: Jack U, Kaskade, Showtek, Alesso, and Dash Berlin, require a significant refund due to loss of epic raging.
It seems that this summer’s festival season has experienced significant inconveniences from weather-related occurrences. Additionally, social media has been home to several artist’s rants related to the same issue: in that of Bassnectar during Hudson Project’s cancellation, and Diplo (representing Jack U), of last weekend’s Electric Zoo. Though, Diplo and Skrillex did promise a free make-up for not being able to drop it low on Randall’s Island (as did Bassnectar during Hudson Project).
Not all was lost from the Sunday Curse of Electric Zoo. Those able to attend experienced incredible sets from the likes of: Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Carnage, Gesaffelstein, Zomboy, Armin van Buuren, Madeon, Paul van Dyk, Pete Tong, Keys N Krates, and most notably that of Laidback Luke. Laidback Luke deserves special recognition due to his incredible set, supported by unbelievable VJing which melted thousands of sober faces. His introduction of seemingly 3-D visuals raised the bar, yet again, in the profound art recognized as VJing.
We won’t know if Electric Zoo will try again next year, but if they do—hopefully Labor Day Weekend 2015 will be the breaker of its curse. Maybe a few extra tents next year, rather than the overly-friendly friskers of the five stage feel-up security stalls.