Electric Zoo 2011 is fast approaching, and that means there’s a musical storm headed straight for Randalls Island NYC and it’s set to do some massive destruction. There are three whole days of music to listen to across four different stages, and the extensive schedule is far too difficult to narrow down yourselves, so we thought we’d put together a little guide to make things easier. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time festival-goer or a seasoned vet, because we’ve got something for everyone. So head past the break and check out our editors’ picks, along with handy links for all the stuff you might need to make it through the weekend.
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For The Newbies: Calvin Harris — Calvin Harris Created Disco. Okay, not exactly, but his album I Created Disco, is one of the all-time great pop / EDM crossover releases. Lately his style has veered into the “Bounce”-y electro and classic vocals that’ll give the first time ragers something to sing along to. Check out our review from LAVO to hear what he’s like live, and of course download his track “Feel So Close” if you love beautiful ballads and white horses. (Sunday, 3:45PM, Main Stage)
For the Veterans: Arty — Arty is a young new DJ that has bust onto the scene in a big way. His track “Around The World” has shown up in countless monster DJ sets recently, and his set at Global Gathering Ukraine is pretty awesome (if you can ignore the foreign voiceover in the beginning). You can equate his style to a younger Cosmic Gate, and if you don’t know what that means, then you should definitely go see him when he spins this weekend. (Sunday, 2:15PM, Red Bull Riverside)
The Wildcard: Afrojack — I know it’s crazy to call Afrojack a “wildcard,” but I have a feeling that he’s either going to either blow it out of the water… or just blow it. After watching him work on some new tracks on Ustream last week and seeing him earlier this summer at Pacha, I’ve been extra excited about his set. I hope he sticks with crowd favorites and doesn’t veer too much into new territory, but if he doesn’t drop “Lunar” I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. (Sunday, 7:45PM, Main Stage)
For The Newbies: Dirty South — On a good day, there’s no way you can go wrong with a Dirty South set. Contrary to his name, those unfamiliar with his style will be wowed and charmed by his remix of The Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition” — a track that’s just as fun to sing along to as Calvin Harris’s “Flashback” or even Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” He’s an inveterate crate-digger, though, so don’t be turned off if you hear some off-the-radar jams. Just enjoy the ride. (Saturday, 6:30PM, Hilltop Arena)
For the Veterans: AN21 & Max Vangeli — AN21 and Max, both with Size Records and the Swedish House Mafia behind them, have the kind of support that most other DJs would kill for. When I heard the duo play together in Miami this year, they were still growing into their sound. Now, putting the finishing touches on their joint effort People of the Night along with Tiesto, they seem poised more than ever to impress the ears of EDM aficionados. (Friday, 2:20PM, Main Stage)
For The Newbies: Alesso – For those fans who absolutely love Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, Alesso is a must see. A quickly rising star in the EDM world, Alesso is only 19 years old but is already releasing massive tracks with the likes of Sebastian Ingrosso. Named “the next Avicii” by many, and mentioned by numerous superstar DJs as the one to watch, Alesso had better be one of the top names on your list to see. (Sunday, 1:15PM, Main Stage)
For the Veterans: Joachim Garraud – Known originally as the mastermind behind many of David Guetta’s big productions, Garraud absolutely kills it live. From alien masks to live renditions of well-known tracks played on a keytar, any Garraud set is sure to be an unforgettable experience. For those experienced festivalgoers looking for something a little extra, I highly recommend checking out Joachim Garruad. Get ready, because Space Invaders are back. (Saturday, 8:45PM, Red Bull Riverside)
The Wildcard: Jack Beats – I personally think Jack Beats has huge potential to be a standout from the festival. Having seen them live before, I know the crowd goes absolutely nuts when they drop “Get Down.” While they are technically fidget house producers, their unique wobble sound is sure to go down well with the dubstep crowd. With a bit more exposure, I think we could see these guys become a breakout success. (Sunday, 6:45PM, Hilltop Arena)
For The Newbies: Above & Beyond — The music industry is full of talented people. Some produce songs that give you goosebumps. Some throw down DJ sets that keep you dancing for hours. Some run record labels, seeking out and mentoring new talent. Above & Beyond is that rare act that does all three of these things equally well. There are no words to describe how great they are live. Go see them. It’s good for your soul. (Saturday, 5:50PM, Main Stage)
For the Veterans: Carl Cox — Voted the greatest DJ of the past 25 years by readers of Mixmag, this guy is something special. He’s an icon in the world of dance music, a constant figure in a scene where most DJs come and go. His appearances in the US are few and far between, but his residency at Space in Ibiza is the stuff of legend. DJs get better with age, and Carl Cox is living proof of that. (Friday, 8:00PM, Sunday School Grove)
The Wildcard: Richie Hawtin presents Plastikman Live — Only check this out if you have the patience and attention span for a 1-hour set in which every little detail counts. Richie Hawtin is a master of minimal techno — the idea that random, individual sounds can be combined to create music. If you’re willing to skip Crookers and Tiesto to see him, you’ll be rewarded by a masterful blend of light and beats. You’ll also be part of an intimate audience comprised of people who know a thing or two about electronic music. As a bonus, don’t forget to download his accompanying iPhone app that lets you participate in the live production. Seriously. (Friday, 9:40PM, Hilltop Arena)
For the Newbies: Boys Noize — It’s been about year now since we’ve seen anything new from Boys Noize, so expect a lot of ID tracks during his set on Sunday. Yes, he is fighting for time with Armin Van Buren, but if you are interested in ending your weekend with one hell of a party, Boys Noize is your choice. Best known for his break out track “Yeah” Boys Noize has been producing infectious electro house tracks for years. If you have a 3 day pass and want to wind down at the end of your EDM bender, then Boys Noize is NOT your choice. Expect to have your eardrums blown out from the relentless bass. (Sunday, 9:10pm, Hilltop Arena)
For the Veterans: Bart B More — Bart B More is an acid house, minimalistic, mastermind. In a time where sweeping synths and layers of over produced sounds reign king, Bart arms himself with grinding bass lines and 303 drum kicks. His tribal style will definitely be a refreshing change from some of the other days more mainstream acts. It’s a shame his act is so early in the afternoon on Friday but that just makes the decision to catch his set even easier. Bart B More or bust! (Friday, 2:50pm, Red Bull Riverside)
The Wildcard: The M Machine — I wish I wasn’t limited to one Wildcard choice, there is just too much talent strewn across the 36+ hours of music this weekend, but if there was one group that I felt was a must see despite their awful set time it would be these guys. Formerly of PanceParty, the geniuses behind The M Machine have kept themselves masked in secrecy for months. Before revealing their true identity it was speculated that The M Machine was a collaboration between Porter Robinson and Skrillex – testament to the talent that these guys have. Expect some heavy hitting electro and dubstep during this opening set, the perfect adrenaline boost to kick start your day. (Friday, 12:15pm, Hilltop Arena)
For The Newbies: Tiesto — Tiesto has been ranked as on one the top DJs in the world since as long as they have been ranking the top DJs in the world. The guy is a legend. Although he gets hated on too much for being too mainstream, the current landscape of EDM is indebted to Tiesto for paving the way. His productions are top notch and for those who haven’t identified their favorite genre of EDM, Tiesto plays the perfect set covering the full spectrum of dance music. (Friday, 9:00PM, Main Stage)
For the Veterans: Feed Me – I was fortunate enough to see Feed Me last month. My neck was sore for the whole week after. This dude knows how to put on a show. From funky electro house to full blown dubstep, Feed Me will not disappoint. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor for the next day. (Friday, 4:05PM, Red Bull Riverside)
The Wildcard: Sidney Samson – Some of Sidney’s music appeals to only a select few. The barrage of bleeps is just too much for some people to handle. To each his own. All I ask is that you give this guy’s set a shot. It’s impossible to not have fun dancing to Riverside or Punkass. His set is in the early afternoon, so the opportunity cost is low and there is no ceiling. (Saturday, 2:45PM, Hilltop Arena)
Pacha NYC is playing host to not one, but three A-list afterparties for those of you with some rage left in your system.
So, what are you most looking forward to at Electric Zoo? Let us know in the comments!