Exactly one year after Electric Zoo revealed the real problems facing the future of American dance music, Made Event returned to Randall’s Island to restake their claim as the northeast’s premiere dance music event. EZOO6 opened up with heightened health and safety measures, including a cooling tunnel and help tents as well as patrolling medical personnel to help anyone who may be dehydrated or in need of other assistance. The increased attention to detail and focus on safety set the stage for the weekend to come, and although there are certain things that are out of the control of those who run the event – like the cartoonish deluge that curtailed Day 3 to only allow for a couple hours of dancing – there was enough amazing music and even better people there to make it certain that EZOO7 is even better.
Musical highlights from the first 2 days included Detroit-based funkmaster GRiZ, a set from dance music titans Knife Party littered with tracks from their upcoming, ironically-named album Abandon Ship and techno god Gessaffelstein, who’s dark and gritty aesthetic put him alongside Kanye West to help produce both Black Skinhead and Send It Up from his groundbreaking Yeezus album. In a much-needed injection of taste and levity, OWSLA product Corey Baker aka Kill Paris played a live set that included bits and pieces all sorts of jams like Play That Funky Music White Boy, the Bill Nye the Science Guy Theme Song as well as the global anthem Seven Nation Army and those beautiful NERVO twins put down a set for DJs by DJs, displaying their incredible adeptness behind the decks.
The third day started hot and humid and after getting there early to beat the lines and stroll the grounds, there was a feeling of excitement that couldn’t be shook. The day kicked off with up-and-comers warming up the stages all over the place including Infuze, Paris Blohm, DJ protege Danny Avila before some of the bigger names started to fill the stages. Just as the day really started to pick up with sets from Alvin Risk, Henry Fong, Milo & Otis, I stepped out from The Chainsmokers incredible set, where they just brought out Bobby Shmurda to peek into the Sunday School grove when a stream of attendees flooded into the tent saying that the festival was shutting down due to stormy weather.
All stages were shut down and attendees were told to stand under the RFK Bridge to remain sheltered. As rain came down in sheets and accumulated what seemed like 2 days of rain in 25 minutes, the decision came down from the top to shut down the festival immediately and get everyone safely off of the island. The rain came, then went, then came again and while some festival-goers were understandably frustrated by not receiving the full value of their experiences (especially those who only went for the 3rd day), I couldn’t support the staff more for their decision to reduce the risk of potential injury and live to dance another day.