Despite overwhelming setbacks, this year’s 14th annual Electric Zoo Music Festival, one of the largest and most significant electronic dance music acts in the world, concluded as epically as it began this past Labor Day Weekend in New York City.
During the EDM festival’s final day on Sunday, September 3, organizers were thrust into a difficult predicament when the event, held annually at New York’s Randall’s Island Park, reached capacity, causing many ticket holders to be turned away at the venue’s gates. Event organizers announced they were no longer admitting guests via social media as Electric Zoo continued to rage on, citing construction delays that doomed the festival’s first day as the culprit. Irate concertgoers eventually rushed the gates of the temporary music venue in protest of the decision, reports The New York Post.
“For the safety and well-being of everyone on-site, we will not be admitting any additional attendees today” Electric Zoo organizers announced on Instagram late Sunday afternoon, advising late-arrival ticket holders bound for Randall’s Island Park to head back home.
Plagued with construction delays, the Electric Zoo’s first day was officially canceled early afternoon on Friday, September 1, which left thousands of ticket holders disgruntled and seeking refunds for the initially scheduled three-turned-two-day event. Magnum PR, which promoted the Electric Zoo, announced the cancellation via social media to prevent unnecessary travel to Randall’s Island Park.
“This year has presented unparalleled challenges for everyone,” read an official message to fans posted on Instagram. “The global supply chain disruptions have impacted industries worldwide, and, sadly, our beloved festival has not been immune. These unexpected delays have prevented us from completing the construction of the main stage in time for Day 1.”
Highly anticipated musical acts set to perform on Day 1 of Electric Zoo included The Chainsmokers, Kx5, Kaskade, and Griz. Made Event, the New York-based electronic music event production company that owns the rights to the Electric Zoo festival, is expected to provide refunds to all ticket holders adversely impacted by the construction delays. Tickets ranged in price from $249.99 for a three-day, general admissions pass to upwards of $849 for three-day Platinum VIP daily tickets — excluding hefty service fees.
Despite Electric Zoo’s reputation as an underground music festival with a fastidious and devoted following, EDM commands a massive global audience. The EDM market, which is expected to reach just under $13 billion by 2027, has grown substantially since Electric Zoo’s 2009 inaugural one-day production, which drew roughly 26,000 attendees. In fact, electronic music artists represented a commanding 39% of all festival bookings in 2022 — up 6% from the previous year, according to data from electronic music-focused research organization International Music Summit.
Attendance for last year’s Electric Zoo Festival reportedly reached a record-breaking 107,000 fans across three days; the event’s daily attendance cap is typically 35,000. According to an employee from the festival, approximately 2,000 individuals were hired on the ground at Electric Zoo this year to perform roles that ranged from security to servers and bartending, though this figure couldn’t be confirmed. Attendance figures for the festival have yet to be released. Organizers for Electric Zoo at Made Event and Magnum PR couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Electric Zoo’s second day appeared to be the only one not obviously marred by complications and proved to be a vibrant, boisterous time for those who were lucky to reach Randall’s Island Park. While many traveled between the venue and Manhattan by way of public shuttle, thousands chose the more scenic, 20-minute walk across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge spanning the East River. Beauty News NYC was on the scene that day to capture high-energy crowds, vendors, music, and art that, for just a weekend, transformed Randall’s Island Park into a Hyperspace fantasy: this year’s official theme.