At the end of August, I got the opportunity to work my first festival out of state. Electric Zoo was a three day EDM festival that took place on Randall’s Island in New York. We had five stages, Riverside, Main East, Main West, Hilltop, Spiegal, and Vinyl.
Each of the stages were different; Hilltop and Riverside were under large circus-like pink tents with a surround speaker system. The stages were on high platforms covered in video walls and lights. The Hilltop tent had the highest platform stage that was about 10ft tall from the ground. and we had to use a forklift to get the speakers onstage.
The Spiegal stage was in the round and inside a wooden round room, with heavy draping and mirrors covering the walls. This stage was relatively smaller than other stages, with only six points of speakers set up in the round. In addition, the ground stacks of three J8 Cabinets on top of B2 Subs. It was quite loud but sounded cool!
The Vinyl stage was literally a dance floor with a small graffiti bus as a backdrop. For this stage, we had six points of speakers with two stacks at the back, one on either side of the dance floor and two on either side of the bus that acted as the mains. We managed to use the bus as our mix position so we were able to put the small QL1 console with a few racks into the bus. The rest of our racks sat behind the front main stack of speakers on the left side of the bus.
The main stages were more traditional speaker set up with two flown main hangs on either side of J8s and two flown hangs of JSubs, then a line of subs on the ground with front fills on top across the front of the stage. The main stages were on the opposite side of the festival out in the open and were decked out with all sorts of lighting, pyrotechnics and video walls galore.
I arrived in New York for load-in and having never been to the city before I found it confusing and overwhelming. When I arrived on-site, things were slow going, we were not allowed to touch anything and could only direct the union stagehands. It was frustrating not being able to set up your gear.
After the first day, things got a little easier as I became more comfortable with using the stagehands effectively and knew what I could and couldn’t do. I could pull the cabling and hardware we needed from the trunks and place them where they needed to go, but I could not run the cable or attach the hardware to the boxes. I found that the stagehands were responsive to me and I did not encounter any resistance or push back because I was a woman. This made me feel good and empowered, as I in fact knew how to do my job.
We had three days to get all of out stages set up and ready to go. They were long and stressful days. We had to work around lighting and video, different crews for different jobs, and we had to hurry up and wait. Each stage had their own challenges and made each system set up different.
I gained so much experience learning how to work the local union crews and dealing with long days and stress. I enjoyed seeing everything come together. Once the stages were completely set up, we had a night rehearsal with lighting, video, and sound. All at once, we had all the stages come to life and the end result was quite awesome to see.