Electric Zoo Is the Quintessential New York Festival

Aug 17, 2021

4 min read

As summer draws to a close, Insiders in New York engage in a yearly Labor Day ritual that began in 2009. Electric Zoo has served as The Big Apple's landmark festival and the official end of the summer season for over a decade. This year's event is especially poignant as EZoo returns to its grassy island home for the first time in two years. 

Festival founders Mike Bindra and Laura De Palma imagined the quintessential New York festival after observing successful dance events go off in Central Park. Electric Zoo saught to elevate the significance of one of house music's most iconic cities, while laying a path for those who continue to push it forward. Bindra's background positioned him as the prime candidate to transform Randall's Island into a destination festival location. His work as a former talent buyer for seminal NYC nightclub Twilo introduced NYC club kids to acts like Paul Van Dyk, Above & Beyond, Loco Dice, and Marco Corolla. And his Miami Music Week event Sunday School for Degenerates had grown to be an institution.

EZoo Hilltop Arena 2018EZoo Hilltop Arena 2018

Electric Zoo/ Made Event

The inaugural Electric Zoo was an all-ages family affair. Small children grooved on the shoulders of parents that helped establish New York's dance music community. New school festivalgoers shuffled in fluffies nearby, blissfully unaware of the historical significance of the emerging festival culture. Even now that is EZoo is 18 plus, cross-generational unity is part of its genetic makeup. 

EZoo reserves a place on the dance floor for every sound that jacks your body. House heads no longer have to go to Miami for a slice of the storied Sunday School debauchery. They can set up camp to enjoy the sounds of today's hottest beats from John Summit, Martin Ikin, Duke Dumont, Dom Dolla, Claptone, Sonny Fodera, Chris Lorenzo, and Mason Maynard.

Born Dirty @ Electric Zoo 2019Born Dirty @ Electric Zoo 2019

Alive Coverage

Techno was a larger part of the original festival, however, the quality of artists hasn't let up in the slightest. Saturday's lineup in the massive Hilltop Arena will play host to Deadmau5' techno alias Testpilot, Artbat, Township Rebellion, and mau5trap up and comer Rinzen.

Are you trying to ride a rail? Bass heads will be elated to enjoy full stage takeovers by Brownies and Lemonade, Deadbeats, and Wakaan. The bass music lineup is thick at EZoo this year. A good portion of the stages host sub-smashing acts for all three days. Zeds Dead, Peekaboo, Subtronics, Moore Kismet, Liquid Stranger, Dirt Monkey, Riot Ten, Vampa, Buku, Atliens, and Hekler are just some of the over 40 bass acts on the bill. EZoo even has a taste of hard dance on Sunday with Lady Faith, Darksiderz, and Rob Gee closing out the Hilltop Arena.

Sunset on Electric Zoo's MainstageSunset on Electric Zoo's Mainstage

Electric Zoo/ Made Event

Uniquely positioned between the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan Electric Zoo’s world-class lineup is only rivaled by the majestic views surrounding the festival grounds. There's a magic moment at golden hour when the sunset paints the sky a brilliant orange, and the lights of the skyline and the lasers over the dancefloor begin to glow. The soundtrack to a sunset DJ set needs to be appropriate. And this year Aussie party tech kingpin Fisher (Friday) and dance music legend Tiesto (Saturday) rise to the occasion.

EZoo Manhattan SkylineEZoo Manhattan Skyline

Electric Zoo/ Made Event

Known for its abundance of street vendors New York's food culture is just as iconic as its skyline. EZoo has become a food destination of its own with a delectable selection of unparalleled eats. The food lineup hasn't dropped but you can expect a wide range of eats. From delicious dumplings to Instagram-worthy giant mozzarella sticks, cheesy New York slices to vegan and vegetarian delights. There's something for every taste and dietary need at EZoo.

Mozarella Sticks at EZooMozarella Sticks at EZoo


Getting to EZoo couldn’t be a more New York experience. Because of its central location, there are multiple ways to get to the island. You can walk or bike from either of the three surrounding boroughs. You can take the subway and the bus, or an official EZoo shuttle from Brooklyn. But by far the best way to get there is the ferry. The serene ride with the Manhattan skyline in the background is gorgeous.

EZoo ends at 11 PM but the party doesn’t stop there. Once you brave the exodus, no less than 15 afterparties await you. Your favorite artists and their friends are taking over the Brooklyn Mirage, Avant Gardner, Quantum, and Webster Hall when the lights go out at EZoo to keep the party going into the wee hours.

EZoo CostumesEZoo Costumes

EZoo was founded on the idea that you should always let your freak flag fly. Each year, festivalgoers outdo themselves with outlandish costumes that leave many wondering how anyone can manage to rage all day inside a full-body gorilla outfit (this is a good time to remind everyone to stay hydrated!). This year’s Supernaturals theme takes that to the next level by encouraging attendees to grab their healing crystals to join festival mascot P Eazy on a trip through a portal to a metaphysical realm. EZoo is your last opportunity of the summer to truly get weird.

The last two years have been trying and we’re all glad to be back on the dance floor. And with the relative uncertainty of the present, it’s comforting to know that one thing we can depend on is a wild time at Electric Zoo.