New York City’s three-day dance music festival Electric Zoo was already off to a rough start after organizers cancelled Friday’s show, but then, Sunday ticketholders were unable to enter the venue after the event reached capacity.
Fans are describing this year’s edition of the festival as pure chaos.
Electric Zoo was slated to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday at Randall’s Island Park, but organizers took to social media early Friday morning to share that global supply chain issues caused unexpected delays which “prevented us from completing the construction of the main stage in time for Day 1.” The first day was cancelled, which was supposed to include performances from acts like The Chainsmokers, Adventure Club, and Galantis.
Organizers promised the remaining days of the festival would be “truly magical,” however, the disaster only continued from there.
On both Saturday and Saturday, festivalgoers complained of over-the-top wait times, with some claiming they waited up to five hours to pick up their passes from will call. One fan told NBC News that she arrived at the will call line at 5:30 p.m. and did not receive her ticket until 10:15 p.m., which meant she was only able to catch 30 minutes of music before the fest closed at 11 p.m.
Some ticketholders weren’t even able to make it into the event on Sunday. Organizers oversold the event and were forced to close the gate after the venue reached capacity.
“It is with deep regret that we need to inform you that due to the challenges caused by Friday cancelation, we have reached our venue’s capacity earlier than anticipated for today, Sunday,” organizers said in a statement on X. “For the safety and well-being of everyone on site, we will not be admitting any additional attendees today.”
Organizers urged anyone who was on their way to the festival to “refrain from coming to the festival site,” noting that “your safety and festival experience remain our top priority.” The festival staff said this only applied to people who were not already on Randall’s Island, however, those on-site said they were still unable to enter the festival with their wristbands.
The security is stopping us at the ferry entrance since 6:45. We were and still are on the Island. You need to tell the security to let us in pic.twitter.com/aH7Fbq7JEY
— Ranadeep Singh (@Ranadeepsingh) September 3, 2023
And when are the people already on the island going to be let in? These are the scenes at security right now. Can we get an ETA?! pic.twitter.com/4IxY7hEw17
— Diana of Themyscira (@ClassyClari) September 3, 2023
Videos online showed festivalgoers rushing the gates after the announcement was made. Additionally, many claimed people entered the festival without even being checked by security.
A potentially dangerous situation played out a the Electric Zoo Festival when attendees stormed the gates after the event reached unexpected capacity. pic.twitter.com/AZY29zkhoK
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 4, 2023
Gates down, chaos reigns on the final night of @ElectricZooNY 2023 — after valid ticket holders were told no more entry would occur after an announcement that capacity had been reached.
📷: r/electriczoo pic.twitter.com/XdXGjnxOvg
— Festive Owl (@TheFestiveOwl) September 4, 2023
Rushing security at Electric Zoo due to crowd crush happening pic.twitter.com/DTsPP5QNxG
— SirNarwhal (@Sir_Narwhal) September 4, 2023
— bex (@kaskade_girl) September 4, 2023
Better security and maybe police that do their job.pic.twitter.com/yH1XJi15wL
— Static🔥Fire Kat (@StaticKittyKat) September 4, 2023
Organizers said that everyone who was denied entry into the festival will be issued a full refund and anyone on the ferry would receive transport off the island. The festival, however, has not released a comment after the weekend’s chaotic events, or any further apology for overselling the event.
It seems that the festival would have to do some serious work to gain back their fans’ trust, as many festivalgoers are already calling it quits for next year.
Disappointed would be the understatement of the century. What an absolute disaster this weekend was. From shutting down Friday, to delayed opening and horrible lines Saturday, to not even being let in on Sunday. Been to EZoo 4 years in a row but this was an absolute embarrassment
— Kennard, Luke (@LukeK44660) September 4, 2023
And that’s how the last E zoo dies, with thousands of paying customers being turned away at 6:45 PM.
— #FSGOut (@unbearable_szn) September 3, 2023
just close the event forever – y’all destroyed ezoo past the point of reconciliation this year.. take the L and disappear
— jessica m (@jessmenace) September 3, 2023
Last Updated on September 5, 2023