Festivals 101

How to survive a weekend of EDM—and other vices—at Electric Zoo.
August 20, 2014
(A turned up crowd at Electric Zoo)
Electric Zoo is back once again for three days of EDM-fueled madness beginning on August 29. While tons of partiers will be heading out to Randall’s Island for the love of the music and to experience sets by mega-watt acts like David Guetta, Zedd, Kaskade, and others, let’s face it: the annual electronic music festival has become somewhat infamous thanks to last year’s two molly-fueled deaths. Of course, the truth is that while music festivals of all stripes are a blast, they can also be exhausting and potentially dangerous. Electric Zoo’s organizers are doing their part by requiring attendees to watch an anti-drug PSA this year, but here are a few more helpful tips for getting off of Randall’s Island alive.


A small backpack filled with these essentials: 

Your smartphone  

Keep it on airplane mode, as there’s likely to be no service at the festival and you won’t be able to charge it. Use it only for snapping photos.

A reusable water bottle  

Make sure it’s empty so it won’t get taken away when your bag is searched on entry. Water is essential to your festival survival and you don’t want to keep paying for it all day long.


Festival vendors only take cash and the ATMs will have ridiculous surcharges, which is quite the racket they’ve got going on.


It’ll probably get taken away at the bag search, but slather it on moments before you go in to avoid getting burned as you dance all day under the blazing sun.


Picking your festival crew is incredibly important and can make or break your weekend. It really all depends on the kind of experience you’re looking for.
If you want to go with a big group, make sure the crowd is diverse in terms of personalities and musical tastes. You don’t want to be that annoying group of 10 who sticks together for every hour of the festival. You can break up during the day and see all the different acts you want, and then come together at night for the headliners.
If, however, you only have a single buddy, make sure it’s someone who has exactly the same festival attitude you do. Are you going to stick together the whole weekend, see every show together, wait for each other outside the port-a-potties? Then you’d better have plenty to talk about.
You also want to make sure you’ve got at least one reasonably responsible pal with you, and choosing the right person for this role is essential: you don’t want to be stuck with a judgemental killjoy all day, but it’s important to have someone around who can take the reigns if shit gets real.


We keep hearing stories about people who overdose, or who get heatstroke and pass out, or worse. You’re going to want to get turnt at a music festival, and that probably means drinking heavily or ingesting other fun substances. Just make sure that you know your limits and pace yourselves, set up check-in points and times with your buddies, and for goodness’ sake, stay hydrated!
Electric Zoo at Randall’s Island Park, August 29–31; $369 general admission three-day pass/$599–$1,299 VIP three-day-pass/prices vary for one-day passes. Visit electriczoofestival.com for more info.