Despite the tragically abrupt ending to last year’s Electric Zoo, the festival has announced it will return to Randall’s Island in New York City for Labor Day Weekend (August 29-31). Last year, organizers were forced to cancel the final day of the festival after two drug-related deaths on the festival grounds. Authorities also reported at least four other drug overdoses, one report of sexual assault and 31 total arrests over two days.
Electric Zoo Returns To NYC With More Security
Many have speculated whether or not the festival had worn out its welcome in New York, but organizer Made Event has promised increased security at this year’s Electric Zoo. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, this year’s festival will add drug-sniffing dogs, more thorough pat-downs and an undercover police presence.
Apparently, these measures are enough to soothe the concerns of the New York City Parks Department, but it begs the question of whether electronic music festivals have reached a point of diminishing returns?
Just last month, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival made headlines after a mob of gate-crashers trampled an event security guard and one festival goer was found dead inside his car in the parking lot. The mayor of Miami and the Miami city council have called for the festival to be banned from the city.
Drug culture and rowdy behavior are certainly not unique to EDM festivals, but there seems to be something about that atmosphere that promotes this behavior in excess. There are dozens of other music festivals across the country every summer, yet these kind of issues only seem to affect festivals that lean heavily toward the EDM audience.
Electric Zoo 2013 – Official Trailer
The genre has skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade, and the crowds do trend toward younger, college-aged kids who have a tendency to binge on everything: Netflix, Natty Light, Molly, DayGlo hot pants, etc. Another possible contributing factor is the EDM community’s wholesale embrace of MDMA (Molly). It is on t-shirts, it is referenced in songs, “Molly” has basically become a mascot for this massively popular genre of music–perhaps to the point where people are forgetting just how dangerous the drug can be.
Much like rap concerts had a stigma for violence in the 90s, EDM festivals have developed their own stigma that will be hard to shake. It is worth noting that a number of huge EDM festivals, like Electric Daisy Carnival, have been able to exist without controversy. Unfortunately, it only takes a couple bad cues to kill the drop, brah.
Electric Zoo has yet to release a lineup, but tickets will go on presale April 29 via the festival’s website.
Article by Jason Schellhardt