Women in Music 2016
Electric Zoo Overcomes 'Curse' – Of Drug-Related Deaths, At Least
While the fest was forced to end early again, at least everyone remained safe this year.
Severe thunderstorms forced New York city's Electric Zoo festival to cancel it's final day on Sunday, Aug. 31. A flash flood warning was issued to the greater New York area around 4 p.m., and the storm hit Randall's Island shortly after. Although attendees were briefly allowed to seek shelter under the tented stages, everyone was soon asked to evacuate and take cover under the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.
"In collaboration with New York City officials, Electric Zoo has made the decision to shut down the festival for the remainder of the day," said a statement released on behalf of Made Event, the festival's organizers. "We apologize to our fans, but ultimately our main concern is for the safety and security of all attendees, artists and staff."
This was the second year Electric Zoo's last day ended in abrupt cancellation. Last year, city officials shut the event down after several attendees were sent to the hospital due to drug overdoses and dehydration, and dozens of arrests were made. Two concertgoers ultimately died.
As a result, this year's festival returned with extra caution. Security was heightened with high-tech cameras and drug-sniffing dogs, and police -- both in uniform and undercover -- roamed the grounds. Mat Zo tweeted that "even artists" were getting searched for illegal substances, and every single attendee was forced to remove their shoes upon entry.
A few of Sunday's acts were scheduled early enough to leave their mark. Milo & Otis drew a sizable crowd in the Beatport Riverside tent, particularly when it started drizzling, and over at Main Stage West, Washington, D.C. DJ Alvin Risk surprised new fans by singing live over his tracks. And at Main Stage East, The Chainsmokers (the duo behind the viral hits "Selfie" and "Kanye") brought Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda on stage, whose "Shmoney Dance" has recently become an internet phenomenon.
There were about six hours of music remaining when the event was called off, and organizers emphasized there would be no re-entry. Sunday's storms passed within an hour, leading many fans to lambast organizers on social media for jumping the gun, especially as the Made in America festival soldiered on just two hours south in Philadelphia. But the risk of pushing through the inclement weather was probably too high. (Remember what happened at the Hudson Project in July.)
Still, eager to make the most of the long weekend, many of the DJs who were scheduled to play Sunday night -- Kaskade, Bingo Players, Fedde le Grand -- took to Twitter to assure fans they were in talks with city clubs to play make-up sets. Slake, a relatively new venue near Penn Station, scooped the most impressive last-minute party lineup with a bill that included What So Not, Chase and Status, Heroes x Villains, Milo & Otis, LOUPVCK, Netsky, Mat Zo, Alex English, and more. Tickets reportedly sold out in less than 30 minutes. Elsewhere, Fedde le Grand performed at Pacha and ATB played club Marquee.
Electric Zoo's Facebook page has begun to swell with single-star reviews and users dubbing the event "cursed." Many allege that Sunday's early ending was the festival's final straw, but that may not be the case. While not ideal, the storms allowed organizers to quit while they were ahead -- ahead of last year, at least. This year's installment was not about taking risks, but about proving the festival was mature enough to play it safe. And all told, there were fewer arrests, smooth evacuations, and no reports of serious injuries. Bad weather is a bummer, but it doesn't tarnish an event's reputation like drug overdoses or violence.
So far, organizers haven't confirmed if refunds will be issued for Sunday ticket-holders, but stay tuned to the festival's social media channels for updates.