Electric Zoo New York 2018: The 10 Best of “The Big 10”
This year, New York City’s favorite electronic dance music festival celebrated it’s TENTH anniversary in the city that never sleeps. I would say that Electric Zoo 2018 was even better than ever, but quite honestly, Electric Zoo continues to top itself with each successive festival. Having gone to Electric Zoo myself the last three years, I can say that expectations were both met and exceeded, with perhaps the most diverse lineup, the best selection of food vendors to date, and the most bedazzled, decked out crowd that I have ever seen at E-Zoo.
Given that Electric Zoo celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, Hedonist/Shedonist is rounding up a list of the top ten best parts about Electric Zoo 2018. For those of you who missed it, perhaps you’ll be inspired to get your tickets early next year. For those of you who were likewise in attendance, let us know what your favorite things were in the comments!
As arguably the biggest headliner at Electric Zoo 2018, this one might be a little obvious. That being said…Tiesto is a legend for a reason. His set, which included some classic Tiesto songs as well as some epic party remixes of popular songs by artists such as Macklemore, French Montana, and the Eurythmics, was the perfect end cap to the weekend. Not to mention it was crowned with a spectacular fireworks show that spectacularly close off a successful year.
If Tiesto was the perfect way to close out the weekend, Marshmello was the best DJ to turn up the heat. His set – and the ever-ubiquitous Marshmello headpiece (costume? hat?) – was pure fun. His was also one of the most interesting sets in terms of lighting and pyrotechnics used to accentuate the sounds. Marshmello drew in a huge crowd on a Friday night. Where fans might have been coming in slowly but steadily throughout the first day, by the time he came on stage, the field was packed to capacity. As one fan of Marshmello told me, “you can’t listen to Marshmello without a huge smile on your face” – and I think the crowd agreed.
Another EDM heavy-hitter, Alesso played some of his biggest hits of the night, capitalizing on the energy and vibrancy of a crowd that reached nearly 100,000 people. In a poignant moment with his fans, Alesso played “Wake Me Up” as a tribute to his friend, the late Avicii. It brought everyone together in a way that only an EDM festival can.
This year, the costumes at Electric Zoo were NEXT LEVEL. Having been three times in a row, I can safely say that each year the costumes seem to get more and more elaborate. This year, it seems like more people than ever actually opted to dress up. There were so many unique costumes, from a guy dressed up in a rainbow suit and wig and 12-inch platforms, to a full-blown unicorn costume, to a squad of panda bears. It was definitely a sight to be seen.
New York native DJ/producer 4B did his home state proud with a killer dance set that brought in a large midday crowd to the main stage. As one who DJ Snake called out as “the next big thing,” 4B went deep into hard electronic beats, as well as drew upon the more subtle trap sounds that can be found in his famous hit “Pop Dat.”
Young newcomer Cray – short for “Cheney Ray” – played an incredible opening set on Sunday at Electric Zoo. The young and personable DJ/producer, who is known for crossing genre boundaries and even infusing her productions with her own vocals, showed up to a loyal fan base known as her “chickens,” who went Cray-z when she appeared on stage. Fun, energetic, upbeat, and infused with a sense of humor and style, this cosplaying, gamer-loving, cat mom turned EDM superstar is one to keep an eye on.
The Zoo is always decked out for its animals, but this year particularly so. Performers walked around in large animal costumes, including a particularly memorable giraffe entertaining those at the main stage, and set the mood. There were also plenty of life-size animal installations, including a giraffe made out of leaves, a giant, hot pink, fuzzy gorilla, and a blue striped rocking zebra. Festival-goers lined up to take pictures and create fun, lasting memories with all of the props and decorations at the zoo.
Hot Weather/Cool Treats
During the day, the weather was H-O-T HOT. Thankfully, Rita’s Italian Ice, John’s Juice, and Red Bull slushies abounded. The myriad of cool treats both tantalized the taste buds and helped cool a girl off when the sun reached its afternoon peak. In the early evening, right before the sun was about to set, the weather cooled down to a perfect evening breeze…perfect for dancing or trying out San Matteo’s personal pizzas.
San Matteo Pizzeria
Speaking of which, at some festivals, the food can be hit-or-miss, and you end up paying $15 for a crappy slice of cold pizza. Not so at this year’s Electric Zoo, where the vendors – and in particular, San Matteo Pizzeria – really stood out. A favorite of ours at festivals past, I was really happy to see one of the best pizza shops in NYC make an appearance and serve up pies at one of the best music festivals in NYC. Spicy sopressata served piping hot out of a Neapolitan pizza oven while listening to Cash Cash and Manila Killa? Sounds like a winning combination to me.
It was great seeing Electric Zoo be so environmentally conscious this year. They teamed up with Boxed Water is Better to help eliminate plastic waste, and many of the vendors used paper straws. This same sort of sustainability bled over into the food offerings as well – there were several vegetarian and vegan friendly options, including cauliflower bites and vegan desserts.
Electric Zoo NY always delivers an amazing festival experience, but this year for The Big 10, it really outdid itself. It’s something you should go to at least once in your life, though I promise that if you go once thinking “one and done” like me, you’ll probably come back again…and again and again.
All photos taken by the author. Please do not reprint without permission.