In a year where rap and EDM bear more striking similarities than ever before, let's misappropriate some words from rising rapper Makonnen and say that on Day Three of Electric Zoo, the club (not the festival) "went up on a Sunday."
For the second year in a row, Electric Zoo's third day of revelry did not go according to plan. Yes, on Main Stage West acts like Henry Fong and Alvin Risk did bring their progressive hard electro jams. And by 4 PM in the Riverside tent, Milo & Otis led what was a growing crowd in a tropical, trap and twerk-driven party. At the same time, The Chainsmokers had played both a brostep and festival trap edit of "#SELFIE" on Main Stage East, The Magician was bringing disco-style feels in the Sunday School Grove, and Sandro Silva was dropping bangers galore. And then it rained. Well, it was more of a torrential downpour that was accompanied by thunder, lightning and 60 MPH winds. At first, festival-goers ran for cover in the tented areas. Once the tented areas became filled and the rains showed no signs of relenting (and the promise of greater storms increased), the decision was made to cancel the festival altogether.
The decision was met with angst, as many at Electric Zoo had also attended the similarly rain-sodden Hudson Project just two months earlier (July 11-13). However, it's entirely likely that the idea of the Festival's enormous Main Stage productions, as well as the scaffolding inside of tents, the heavily glass-filled interior of Sunday School, and the what would be drenched wooden slat boards placed inside tents and on the outdoor vinyl area could pose injury. As well, for the past few years, Randall's Island's grounds have been re-sod with grass, and the idea of the grounds being ripped entirely to muddy shreds was not ideal.
In many ways, for as wild and absurd as EDM in America has become, Electric Zoo's cancellation showcased a new-found level of extreme professionalism to EDM overall that made it feel far more controlled, streamlined and less "insane" than ever before. This wasn't a drug-fueled monolithic bass beast, this was a safe, sound, and now-corporate genre that thankfully lacked the kind of spontaneity and ridiculousness that would allow a festival to continue where the partiers and talent were placing themselves at risk of death, injury, or at worst, being knee deep in the mud.
However, if you still wanted to go crazy, Sunday night's New York City club offerings were for you. Sunday's expected Hilltop Arena headliner ATB played at Marquee. Sunday School Grove trio Joseph Capriati, Alan Fitzpatrick, and Ame were at Brooklyn's Output, and Pacha hosted Main Stage West-scheduled DJ Fedde Le Grand, Main Stage East player Danny Avila, and Main Stage West opener D.O.D. However, we save Electric Zoo's most #PLURNT moment for last.
The expected concussive blunt force trauma of Electric Zoo's final day bass and house-gasm expected to reach it's climax with Diplo and Skrillex's Jack U set was felt at Manhattan's Slake where Heroes x Villains, Milo & Otis, LOUDPVCK, and What So Not rocked one floor, while Netsky, Chase & Status, and Mat Zo (and more, including rapper Bobby Shmurda) rocked yet another floor, too.
Overall, this was a profoundly intriguing weekend in dance culture overall. There's a photo on Twitter of a bloody nosed reveler from Slake last night. In the same weekend, Dillon Francis (while not at Electric Zoo) was hit by a can to the head during a live set and it left a nasty gash. As well, Electric Zoo's supposed Main Stage East headliners Diplo and Skrillex performed as Jack U at both Burning Man and at Dallas' Mad Decent Block Party. Of course, at Electric Zoo, Zedd played chart-topping American Billboard songs and black-suited Gesaffelstein (literally) chain-smoked and arguably dropped the weekend's best set, an acid house-driven journey into the future. At no point in any of these conversations, did we discuss trance hearts, peace, love, unity or respect. While there were no definitive answers as to where American EDM is headed out of Electric Zoo, nobody died, people had fun, and folks took festival energy into nightclubs on Sunday night. Perhaps, that's it. While not #PLUR, it's hopefully not too #PLURNT. A lack of dying, a lot of fun, and letting the energy surge to another level while heading in some wild new directions.