Last year, Electric Zoo was forced to shut down a day early following the death of two of its attendees. The deaths were then later found to be caused in part by the intake of illegal substances.
The festival was cut short after the deaths were coupled with a series of questionable safety issues and the arrests of nearly 30 people. The media meltdown which followed, resulted in a PR disaster for the Electric Zoo brand.
Recently the creators of Electric Zoo, Mike Bindra and Laura dePalma, have spoken out about their ordeal in The New York Times. Bindra stated, “We were devastated. It was – and I mean it – my and Laura’s worst fear, come to life.”
Despite past adversities, Bindra and dePalma have remained determined to bring the festival back, with a clean slate and an improved safety regime.
The creators recognised that at Electric Zoo, a minority of attendees may require medical attention, and this year there will be a group of medical students named the ‘Zookeepers‘. The promoters hope that the college-aged medics will blur the lines between the authorities and attendees. This light-hearted and inclusive approach is one example of the new safety precautions; it may encourage those who need help, to venture out and seek it.
Bindra, dePalma, and owner of SFX Entertainment Robert Sillerman, have of course been keeping positive about the oncoming show. “[Mr. Sillerman] referred to this year’s Electric Zoo, which starts Aug. 29, as “a homecoming,” hoping […] that the festival would move beyond tragedy and get back to its roots as ‘a major celebration.’”