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September 14th, 2009
11:14 AM ET

'Electric Zoo' brings new light to dance music in NYC

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/17/electric.zoo.art.jpg caption="26,000 electronic music fans gathered for the two-day Electric Zoo Festival in New York on Labor Day weekend."]

Dance music has long been relegated to dark nightclubs of the underground music scene in the United States. But over Labor Day weekend a new electronic music festival brought sunlight and fresh air to the growing genre.

Electric Zoo Festival, a first of its kind event in the U.S., set up shop at Randall’s Island Park in New York City for a two-day, open-air dance music party.

Over sixty artists took to four stages to perform in front of a crowd of thousands of eager fans, who were more than happy to see their preferred music genre given a new spotlight.

New York has always played home to emerging artists and cutting-edge trends in music. But with hundreds of the city’s club and music venues having shut down in the past decade, dance fans have been left with few places to turn.

Made Event co-founders Mike Bindra and Laura De Palma, no strangers to electronic dance music events, hit a seeming homerun with Electric Zoo.

“Electric Zoo was an incredible first festival for us. The natural beauty of Randall’s Island Park, the wide selection of musical choices, and the excitement of fellow beat junkies, all culminated in a successful inaugural festival. We look forward to bringing it for many years to come,” they said in a press release.

Armin van Buuren, Saturday’s headliner, topped a lineup of the electronic music industry’s biggest and best names: Kaskade, Deadmau5, Benny Benassi, Tiga, Roger Sanchez, Steve Aoki – just to name a few. If mainstream audiences aren’t familiar with some of those artists, they’re not to blame.

“It was in these places, the gay clubs, that dance music really started,” says Kaskade, born Ryan Raddon, a San Francisco DJ who became a star thanks to the underground music scene.

Techno, house, trance, electro – are just some of the names given to the multitude of genres and styles of music gaining in popularity. As the genres grow, so do the crowds – from hundreds to thousands.

Electric Zoo organizers announced a combined attendance of 26,000 people at the two-day event.


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