Looking at this year's Electric Zoo lineup makes me a little sad as a trance fan. With the exception of Above & Beyond and the Group Therapy tent on Day 1 I feel there is far too little trance at one of the largest outdoor festivals in North America. 85,000 fans will descend to New York over Labour Day weekend and I fear that most of them will not be able to experience the euphoria and downright pounding beats that one can take in at a bona fide trance event.
At last year's Electric Zoo I found that the bookings struck just the right balance of trance acts vs. the other genres with Markus Schulz and Gareth Emery at the Hilltop Arena on Day 1; A&B on the main stage while Ferry Corsten/Andy Moor/Mat Zo/ATB/Sean Tyas B2B Simon Patterson on Day 2; Gabriel & Dresden, Kyau & Albert and others were playing at the Red Bull Riverside while none other than Armin Van Buuren was the final headlining act on the Main Stage to round out the weekend. Not bad.
What do we have this year? Above & Beyond will be headlining the Group Therapy Stage with Ferry Corsten, Mat Zo, G&D, and others will be supporting the trance friendly tent while Marcus Schossow will be the sole trance representative playing an early time slot on the Main Stage on Day 1; Above & Beyond will receive double duty honours as they will be one of the main headliners on the Main Stage while Eco and Kyau & Albert receive earlier time slots on Day 2; W&W and Dash Berlin will be the only acts spinning trance on Day 3.
So what's the big deal? At first glance it seems like there are even more trance acts on the main stage than last year so why am I even complaining? There are a few reasons. For one, there is a high likelihood that there will be nothing close to 140 BPM styled trance or any tech trance played whatsoever at Electric Zoo this year. Sean Tyas & Simon Patterson brought that in spades last year.
Anjunabeats have a huge presence at this year's Electric Zoo but where are some of the acts from other major labels such as Coldharbour Recordings, Subculture, Vandit, and Perfecto Records? I wish someone like Giuseppe Ottaviani or Arnej would have made the cut. One saving grace are the official after parties as some of the trance heavyweights are set to appear like Markus, JOC, Aly & Fila, and super hot producer KhoMha. Many trance fans will flock to these events but will the EDM newcomers follow along? I'm not so sure.
Where's Armin this year? Our greatest trance ambassador and the man responsible for spreading trance all over the world thanks to this ASOT broadcast and events will not be at Electric Zoo for the first time since its inception in 2009.
Last year I had a great time being able to jump from one tent to another to discover new genre and DJs previously unknown to me. Electric Zoo is such a great festival to discover new sounds and talents that I find myself a little sad that to see 85,000 fans, many of them newcomers to the genre, will not be able to discover more trance acts this year.