Electric Zoo Wild Island Highlark


In some ways Electronic Music is a genre that never seems to connect with the Rock Music crowd, and truth be told I was never into it either until somewhat recently. When I started shooting DJs I decided to check out their music and not sure why but after all these years I finally “Got it.” It satisfied a different musical craving for me. One that was purely for fun and enjoyment. It’s the most modern form of music in a way and when my go to musical genres lacks creativity, these beats and noises give me excitement. Although to convince a skeptic to truly understand the appeal of Electronic Music, you must take them to a festival. I had a chance to cover Electric Zoo: Wild Island this year that took over NYC’s Randall’s Island for 3 days over Labor Day Weekend, and I came out liking the scene even more. Maybe you’re stuck on the “They’re not artists, they don’t play instruments” thing or you just don’t understand this genre but it’s time to stop hating and at least admit via these photos that it looks like a hell of a good time!


It’s one big party. Thousands gathered for a day and night of music and entertainment. Many dressed accordingly to the Zoo theme of the event, some purely in raver mode while others dressed in their skimpiest and sexiest night club attire. I love any arena where people can express themselves however they wish and be accepted. Club music can be synonymous with fist pumping meat-heads but I didn’t see any of that here. People were really friendly and it was obvious everyone was just enjoying themselves.

Spanning over 5 stages, this year’s EZoo lineup was full of the genres biggest heavy weights. The Saturday lineup in particular was truly something special. Steve Aoki celebrated 20 years of his label Dim Mak Records, taking over the entire ‘Riverside Stage’ showcasing their rising artists as well as veterans (Including some of my favorites Max Styler, ETC! ETC!, SBCR, 3LAU) and closing it out with Aoki headlining the stage himself. When he hit the decks, the entire area was a madhouse, just a sea of people doing as their general Aoki commanded.

The only downside to any music festival is when two acts you love to see are playing at the same time on different stages. Perhaps the most talked about DJ in recent years, the young phenom Porter Robinson had the task of performing at the Main Stage while Aoki’s epic set was shaking the island the next stage over. Possibly closest thing to an indie crossover, Porter’s brand of Electronic Music is cinematic and bleeds into the Synth Pop genre. He plays keys live which has given him more credibility as an artist and the crowd was in full support.

There really aren’t many DJs that can be the main headliner following Steve Aoki and Porter Robinson besides Tiesto. He is a trailblazer of this genre and at this point a legend, or icon, realistically both. The buzz of the crowd was palpable and the energy was insanely contagious. I truly saw the power of a DJ during this set. Tiesto moved the crowd with music, whether it was his own or not.


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Electric Zoo: Wild Island

Photos © Sonic Highlark. All Rights Reserved.

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