If you think this is impressive, stop by Randalls Island over Labor Day weekend to see its rearing-cobra successor. Photo: Electric Zoo
Whizzing through Randalls Island Park on the back of a golf cart, I see skeletons of scaffolding rising from grassy fields like stalagmites from a cave floor. Right now these half-built metal towers resemble what a construction worker on LSD might build, but they’ll soon become the fantastical, animal-shape stages of Electric Zoo, the enormous festival that will host 90,000 electronic dance music (EDM) fans over the weekend.
“We’re just checking out the tents we are decorating and wow, I thought they would be like four times bigger!” designer Patty Gutarra says, with somewhat sarcastic cheer. “I was like, wait, where’s the rest of the tent? This is like a pocket tent, I can fit it in my back pocket!”
Gutarra is one of many people responsible for transforming the park into a surreal fantasia, an effort the festival has undertaken every year since its founding in 2009. The most impressive part of this massive production is the stages; this year's designs include a giant black and white striped octopus (made of a custom inflatable), an enormous bear head, and, for the main stage, a massive, kaleidoscopic cobra, reared up and poised to strike...