Electric Zoo ReCap: The Cancellation And Aftermath

Electric Zoo ReCap: The Cancellation And Aftermath

by Mike Zadjelovich
09.09.2013

Electric Zoo ReCap: Friday and Saturday

Electric Zoo ReCap: Friday and Saturday

by Michael Zadjelovich
09.09.2013

This year's Electric Zoo was billed to be the best yet. The fifth year anniversary of New York's finest electronic dance music festival had a huge line up and the city was buzzing about it.  Mike Zadjelovich had the job of covering the event, as well as sitting down with some of the artists who were playing. Everything was going well until we got the news on Sunday morning, telling us that the event had been cancelled due to two drug deaths. Club Planet now had a decision to make and job to do as an accredited news source. We told Mike to be honest about his opinions on everything that happened and do the piece justice. With there being a lot to say, we decided to split it into two sections; A recap of the Friday and Saturday and a separate article of the events surrounding the Sunday.
- See more at: http://www.clubplanet.com/Articles/10379/Electric-Zoo-ReCap-Friday-and-Saturday#sthash.bobDMP8L.dpuf
Electric Zoo ReCap: Friday and Saturday

Electric Zoo ReCap: Friday and Saturday

by Michael Zadjelovich
09.09.2013

This year's Electric Zoo was billed to be the best yet. The fifth year anniversary of New York's finest electronic dance music festival had a huge line up and the city was buzzing about it.  Mike Zadjelovich had the job of covering the event, as well as sitting down with some of the artists who were playing. Everything was going well until we got the news on Sunday morning, telling us that the event had been cancelled due to two drug deaths. Club Planet now had a decision to make and job to do as an accredited news source. We told Mike to be honest about his opinions on everything that happened and do the piece justice. With there being a lot to say, we decided to split it into two sections; A recap of the Friday and Saturday and a separate article of the events surrounding the Sunday.
- See more at: http://www.clubplanet.com/Articles/10379/Electric-Zoo-ReCap-Friday-and-Saturday#sthash.bobDMP8L.dpuf
This year's Electric Zoo was billed to be the best yet. The fifth year anniversary of New York's finest electronic dance music festival had a huge line up and the city was buzzing about it.  Mike Zadjelovich had the job of covering the event, as well as sitting down with some of the artists who were playing. Everything was going well until we got the news on Sunday morning, telling us that the event had been cancelled due to two drug deaths. Club Planet now had a decision to make and job to do as an accredited news source. We told Mike to be honest about his opinions on everything that happened and do the piece justice. With there being a lot to say, we decided to split it into two sections; A recap of the Friday and Saturday and a separate article of the events surrounding the Sunday.
Electric Zoo ReCap: Friday and Saturday

Electric Zoo ReCap: Friday and Saturday

by Michael Zadjelovich
09.09.2013

This year's Electric Zoo was billed to be the best yet. The fifth year anniversary of New York's finest electronic dance music festival had a huge line up and the city was buzzing about it.  Mike Zadjelovich had the job of covering the event, as well as sitting down with some of the artists who were playing. Everything was going well until we got the news on Sunday morning, telling us that the event had been cancelled due to two drug deaths. Club Planet now had a decision to make and job to do as an accredited news source. We told Mike to be honest about his opinions on everything that happened and do the piece justice. With there being a lot to say, we decided to split it into two sections; A recap of the Friday and Saturday and a separate article of the events surrounding the Sunday.
- See more at: http://www.clubplanet.com/Articles/10379/Electric-Zoo-ReCap-Friday-and-Saturday#sthash.bobDMP8L.dpuf


Electric Zoo - SUNDAY: The Cancellation and Aftermath
By Mike Zadjelovich


I knew before most people about the cancellation. My friend from the NYPD luckily stopped me at Dunkin Donuts before I got on the train. My instant anger spilled out over Twitter. Some of you know that as a DJ/Producer with over 20 years in this industry, I am very passionate about this entire scene. To see one of the most well-organized festivals cancelled was beyond disappointing. My good friend Walden who traveled from Australia, Feenixpawl from LA, the entire Drum Code stage - the disappointment was spread throughout. Two young lives were lost, and according to reports a few others still in the hospital. The past two days had been spent enjoying the festival without a care in the world, but with a new perspective, certain details that I noticed in passing all came back to me with a larger sense of relevance.


As we walked into the festival on both Friday and Saturday, my girlfriend's purse was not even opened. I continually came across people who were "out of their mind" and the scary part to me is that I simply walked past them as if this were normal. One girl I noticed on the grass with her friend massaging her head (like that would help) rather than seeking out one of the multiple HELP points that Made Events had established and made clearly visible. One of the festival's biggest positives was the free water refill station. But the workers manning the station had placed a cardboard sign requesting "Tips for Molly, we want to have fun too!" And possibly the worst epidemic, which to me demonstrates the exact problem behind everything: The endless amount of "Molly" apparel. For years it has been fashionable to wear t-shirts with alcohol and even marijuana references. But has our scene (and culture) come to the point where a drug that is commonly found mixed with hard substances as crystal meth, bath salts, and powerful tranquilizers can widely be promoted on shirts and hats to the point where no one sees this as problematic?



I feel as though Made Events made the correct decision in cancelling Sunday. Would we honestly even be speaking about these two deaths and the "Molly" epidemic in our scene if Sunday went off without a hitch? Most likely not. Unfortunately these are not the first lives lost at a festival or even at a club. Every major music website and blog has posted some viewpoint on the subject. Of course the mainstream news media has already started the campaign to misinform the general public about our parties, festivals, and music. The New York Post even referred to the medical tents that Made had set up (and consequently ever major festival and outdoor concert that is not attached to a building have) as "MASH-style tents to hide victims from the NYPD". Granted, this is the same newspaper that went with a headline of "Tiger Puts Balls In Wrong Place Again" when Tiger Woods took a penalty in an event for dropping his golf ball in the wrong spot, but I digress.

The media backlash (even across "EDM" platforms) against Made Event was expected, but to me is unwarranted. New York City's own mayor Michael Bloomberg came out this past week in support of Made Events. When the NY Post "broke" news of Mike Bindra's connection to nightclub "Twilo", of course it was given a negative spin. The private ambulances that the Post "revealed" were actually common in NYC clubland in the late 90's and 2000's and actually saved lives when 911 and city's emergency services took too long to arrive. What was also not mentioned was Mike's involvement as owner of the famed "Vinyl" nightclub in Manhattan and his influence in helping to raise over $13,000.00 for the Ground Hero Kids after the tragedy of 9/11. Mike and his wife Laura (a former yoga instructor) have run hundreds of events for over a decade without incident. Mike helped to run Central Park Summerstage which showcased many talents inside Manhattan. When he was a partner at Made Records he signed Iio and even personally gave Jimmy Van M and Balance their first office space in NYC inside Twilo's building to start the Balance Agency (one of the first DJ agencies in the world which represented the legendary duo Sasha & Digweed, Steve Lawler and others). Shouldering the blame of what occurred unfortunately comes with being the company who ran the event. Yes, there were lapses in security at the gate, however there were also 40+ arrests inside the festival for drug possession and distribution. To me this shows a promoter concerned with the safety of its patrons. When you have close to 50,000 people attending an event it is virtually impossible to stop every single person from bringing in what they want to. So what solutions exist?



The different suggestions I have come across and that are being discussed all make some sense. Is it an issue of possibly lowering the drinking age? If kids had access to alcohol, would they possibly just drink? The counter-argument here is that one of the kids who passed was 23, which leads to the next potential solution. For a college kid, or even a recent college graduate, do you spend $20 on a drug that give you an all day high or spend $10 per beer and spend $60-$70 before even feeling a buzz? Maybe I grew up in a different generation where we would pregame before a concert, football game or festival by drinking outside. Too many people now are taking what they believe to be "Molly" either outside a venue or inside the concert. In reality, most "Molly" is not the pure MDMA they believe it to be and instead or horrible cocktail mixed with drugs that admittedly most of its users would not touch if it were soloed out.



Europe has already seen this crisis and instituted "Amnesty Bins" where people are urged to dump their drugs into before entering without any consequence. Furthermore, they have increased the penalties to being caught with drugs inside to mandatory jail time with many police armed with drug-sniffing dogs roaming the premises. Is this the answer? Of course you may think this will tempt people to dump maybe a pill or two and keep the rest. But when you have two young people dead from taking six and four pills respectively, maybe having two less for each and they would still be alive? There is also the option of "Dance Safe," who set up tables at venues and festivals to check the contents of the drugs, to make sure they are clean and then give them back to the patrons. Unfortunately this is an option I can never see our country allowing to operate on a larger scale. In 2000, I saw Carl Cox play at the Paradox in Baltimore in a true "rave" scene. The Paradox was a warehouse underneath the highway across from where the Baltimore Ravens stadium is located. I always remember this event had a Dance Safe table and I could never understand how police allowed it to occur. As controversial as it sounds, if it were in place Friday and Saturday, lives could have been potentially saved.

But of all solutions and ideas, for me the biggest one needs to come from US. When I say US I mean the DJs and Producers, the biggest voice the scene has. "Molly" has become cool due to its popularity in the songs we play; Madonna on stage at Ultra, the Holly Madison lookalike with the tape on her mouth that every other raver wears proudly and most recently, Miley Cyrus singing about it in her latest hit single. I truly believe if Armin, Seb, Avicii, Tiesto and the industry titans got on the mic during their sets and rather than asking for hands in the air, telling the crowd how "Molly" isn't cool it could influence a great amount of people.

Back to Sunday, I felt the need to attend the Pacha afterparty. This was not only due to wanting to see Fedde Le Grand and a rare New York appearance from Ken Loi, but also my curiosity to study the crowd. Would I see just as many "zombies" in the crowd or would the shutdown of a magic music festival wake some people up? Treasure Fingers played a great and proper opening set and around 1:30am Fedde got on the set. Pacha was as packed as I've seen it all year. Sadly though, looking down into the crowd I saw no change. Without going into specifics, it was quickly apparent that the loss of two young lives only bred the stereotypical attitude from other party-goers "That can't happen to me", "They were rookies and can't handle their shit". What a terrible commentary on our scene.



To those reading this and awaiting the "Please help me find Molly" clever punch line, I can spoil it for you as it is not coming. In fact, to me, even using the name in your article title still helps perpetuate the horrible notion that taking this drug and going to shows is cool, and worse, widely accepted. "Popping a Molly" has become as normal as doing a shot of tequila or hitting a joint and if you don't immediately see something wrong with that, chances are you may need to look in the mirror. House music is euphoric on its own. Whether it is the shivers you get down your spine from deep basslines, the goosebumps from melodic trance, or the elation of belting out your favorite tune as the DJ cuts the music out and you join a chorus of 40,000 strangers all singing the same song; house music is made to make you feel good without the use of anything else. It has been and always will be a form of music that can sustain itself without the need for gimmicks, corporations or anything else. In my opinion, it's time for Producers and DJs to step up and let the masses know that, as Sebastian Ingrosso tweeted on Sunday "Music Should Be Enough".  


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