Interview with Made Event heads Laura De Palma & Mike BindraPosted 24 Aug, 2011
Electric Zoo is returning to Randall's Island for its 3rd year. It's been a great success so far with attendance increasing steadily every year. What are some of the most significant changes this year?
The first thing people will notice this year is that the production has increased exponentially. Everything from the enlarged site, to the much bigger tents and main stage, light shows and sets are a giant leap forward from last year. With Integral Sound (which has always been our calling card), we are doing things that have never been attempted before in a festival setting. Prepare to be blown away! VIP has been significantly upgraded as well and there is a new second VIP area located in the grove with more of a chill out vibe. As always the food and drink choices are very important to us and we have really stepped it up this year.
What was the impetus for expanding the festival from 2 days to 3 days?
Our vision was always to grow into a 3 day festival. That is why we chose Labor Day weekend, so fans would have an extra day for rest and travel.
There is always a new influx of emerging dance music talent each year. How do you stay current when putting together the festival programming?
We do our best to listen to what the fans are asking for. We are electronic music fans ourselves so we are just as excited to hear new artists and the hottest tracks of the year.
How do you choose the headliners? Is there anything you specifically look for?
We look for the biggest talents over the year and artists that truly resonate with their fans. We also have many long-term relationships with our artists and with somebody like Armin van Buuren, we have worked with him for nearly 10 years.
What are some of the must-see performances this year?
There will be so many great performances this year that we will be very busy running from stage to stage ourselves, but here are some great ones that may not be on everyone's radar...
Plastikman live 1.5
DJ Snoopadelic AKA Snoop Dogg!
SebastiAn's live show debut
Flow.11, a waterfront public art exhibit on Randall's Island opening in July in conjunction with Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) and The Bronx Museum of the Arts. Tell us about Made Event's involvement and what we can expect on the island?
We have been working with Aimee Boden, the Executive Director of the Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) to develop FLOW, and we're really excited about it! Aimee conceptualized the program with assistance from the Bronx Museum of Art. FLOW is an outdoor public art installation with five large-scale works exhibited on the park's shoreline.
In 2010 Made Event donated $1.00 for each single day Electric Zoo ticket and $2.00 for each two-day. This year we will donate $1.50 for each single day ticket, and $4.50 for each three day pass. What this means is that each and every festival goer contributes to this amazing program - bringing art to the beautiful public space that is Randall's Island.
We encourage everyone to check out the FLOW works on exhibit now at the park!
Besides the abundance of music, what other activities can festival goers look forward to on-site?
Derrick Little and his team are back again this year with their Face and Body Painting. It was a huge hit last year so definitely plan on getting painted! There's also the T-shirt remix station, back by popular demand. The Garden of EZ with Braindrop is a must see too!
Last year the Sunday School tent was re-imagined as a green forest. Are any of the stages this year under going similar transformations?
This year there won't be a green forest in any of the tents but we love the play of the green trees in the park setting and we think you are going to love the transformation that happens in the 'Garden Of EZ'. As for the tents, the set designs will be far beyond anything we have done before.
Obviously producing a festival of this size is a huge endeavor. Why did you originally want to produce an electronic music festival? What do you enjoy most about producing a music festival?
Our job is to blow people's minds... What could be better than that? And we get to spend all year dreaming up how to do it better than the last year. What we enjoy most about producing a festival is seeing a sea of thousands of smiling faces having the time of their lives. We've had many amazing moments on the dance floor ourselves so it feels great to give it back.
How do you stay calm and prepare yourself to produce an event of this size?
Calm? Who's calm? ;-). We both do yoga, I cycle like a madman and Laura gardens and makes jams and pickles...
What are your plans for after Electric Zoo?
Some serious downtime with friends and family, and hopefully a vacation. And planning for EZ 2012 of course... See you at the Zoo!