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A New Zoo Revue

05:30 PM Monday 5/10/10 |   |

When it’s time to bid goodbye to summer in New York City, there’s definitely a new king of the jungle. In only one year, the Electric Zoo Music Festival has climbed to the top of the heap with help from the cream of the electronic and dance crop.

This year’s event, which will take place over the September 4-5 Labor Day weekend, features a host of big names. Saturday headliners The Chemical Brothers will be joined by Paul van Dyk, Benny Benassi,ATB, Richie Hawtin, Major Lazer, Kaskade and many others.

Sunday will be capped off by Armin Van Buuren, with Above & Beyond, John Digweed, Fedde Le Grand, Boys Noize, Bassnectar and lots of other hot acts filling out the rest of the day.

Already on board for the party areA-Trak, Diplo, Dirty South, Erol Alkan, Laidback Luke, Markus Schulz, Paco Osuna, Rusko, Steve Aoki, The Glitch Mob, Tom Middleton, Victor Calderone and Wolfgang Gartner, with many others joining the roster in the coming weeks.

But if you want to get in on the fun and save money, you’d better hurry. Sales of early bird, two-day passes end at midnight tonight.

VIP upgrades for the weekend will be announced soon.

I was curious how Electric Zoo organizers, Made Events, scored a beautiful venue like Randall’s Island Park – with its central location on the East River providing not only easy access by car, bus, bicycle, foot and ferry, but beautiful views of the water and the Manhattan skyline – so I sat down with Made’s Mike Bindra and Laura De Palma to find out their secret.

“We’d been doing live, single artist events in outside venues across the city for about seven years now, so we worked our way up to this,” De Palma explained.
Bindra continued, “We had a history with the city from doing events in city parks – and Randall’s Island Park is a city park – so because we’d done things successfully at different locations through the years it was fairly easy.”

To sweeten the pot for the City of New York, Made worked out a deal where a $2 donation from each ticket sold goes toward the beautification of Randall’s Island.

As for overcoming the perception of some that festivals like Electric Zoo and other electronic and dance events across the country are merely drug- and alcohol-fueled raves, both Bindra and De Palma feel that stigma is quickly becoming ancient history.

“Because the electronic music genre has progressed so far, I don’t think it’s viewed that way anymore, to be totally frank,” Bindra said. “And not only has the genre progressed beyond that, it’s just crossed over into many other genres of music – whether it be hip-hop or rock or any other radio-friendly genre. It’s all melding together, it seems. The Internet came into the picture and kind of democratized everything.”

The pair also said when they were dreaming about the right time to graduate from single-artist events to a full-blown festival, there was really only one choice.

“It’s pretty easy to get there,” De Palma explained. “That’s why we selected that location.”

“It was many years coming,” Bindra added. “The first time we went out to Randall’s Island to look at it was probably six or seven years ago. So we’ve been eyeing it as a potential spot for a long time.”

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