8 Vital Things to Know Before You Go to EZoo
During my first day’s visit to the EZoo, I scoped out the fun and games and saw the wild animals. Checking out amazing, top-of-the line artists including Zomboy, Jamie XX, Dada Life, Gesaffelelstein, Destroid, A-Track and more kill it, coupled with awesome interactive artistic displays, was an amazing way to kick off Labor Day Weekend. Here are a few big tips to help you have an amazing and safe weekend:
1. Come Early
Nothing bad can come of getting to the festival early. The box office opens at noon and music begins at one. The lines are horribly long and jumbled and it can be confusing and chaotic to figure out where to pick up tickets. Pardon my French, but basically picking up tickets is a huge clusterfuck. Get there early, really early. The music all day long is amazing and being early gives you that extra time to scope out the cool art installations around the grounds and get the lay of the land.
2. Have Your ID & Documents Ready
Whatever you do, don’t forget your ID and ideally you should print out your bus pass and ticket voucher in advance to have everything ready to accelerate pick up. You’ll also need your ID to get a bracelet to buy drinks inside if you’re over 21, so don’t forget it!
3. Prepare for a Serious Strip Search
Most people at the festival brought as little as possible to avoid hold ups (especially with all of the confusion over what is and isn’t permitted on the grounds). You can’t bring pretty much anything to the festival besides essentials and they will make you bang out your shoes and everything to make sure you’re keeping in line with the rules. A full list of items is available here, but some common/interesting highlights include totems (blow up stuff seems to be ok though, just bring it deflated), umbrellas, unsealed tampons, Camelbaks (supposedly this was permitted again, but either way, just bring an empty water bottle and you’re good; read more about the issue here), e-cigarettes, walkie talkies, glowsticks, eye drops, or GoPro cameras. The mandatory video thing is also totally serious (read more about it here).
4. Charge Up Money on Your Wristband
Let’s face it, there’s no getting around it: at some point you’ll want some food or water, and yes it’ll be ridiculously expensive (after fees and the exchange rate), but you need hydration and nourishment. If you’re really cheap, bring a water bottle, but food (even stuff like sealed PowerBars) are not permitted. It’s a long day, don’t make it longer by waiting in lines to recharge the wristband at the festival. (You can read more about the cashless festival on the EZoo website here.)
5. Download the App
Downloading the app is just helpful for keeping updated with the schedule. Another good tip is to take a photo of the online schedule with your phone before leaving the house, this way you can save your phone’s battery life by being able to turn off your data when it’s not needed. However, the festival schedule is always subject to changes and the app is constantly kept updated with the adjustments. It’s an excellent resource to have!
6. Keep Cool and Stay Warm
The days can be hot, especially while dancing in the sun. Put on sunscreen before you leave your house and don’t forget your sunglasses and hat! Try to also pack a light cardigan or sweater for the evening when the temperature dips down– that light up bra and butt huggers you’re wearing will not do you much good when you get into Manhattan at 11:30pm and the temperature is in the 60s. Plus, you really don’t need people lingering around the subways at midnight staring at you. Put a shirt on.
7. Push Yourself to Check Out Different Stages
If you love popular EDM (mostly “progressive house”), the main stages are your best bet. If you love bass music (dubstep, drum and bass, etc.) then the Hilltop Arena is where you’ll be. If you’re interested in old-school-turned-new house and techno, check out the Beatport Riverside, Sunday School Grove, and Vinyl Only stages. But be sure to venture away from the stage that you’re tied to and check out something else. That’s the purpose of a festival– there is so much music, this is the time to explore and discover new artists or tracks.
8. Most Importantly: Watch Out For Each Other
While at the festival, I was snapping a pic of the “Help Station” (see photo above) when the girl right in front of me started having a seizure. The girl lay rigidly on the ground under the Help Station light, with her arms thrust in the air like a zombie, and then her body began to twitch and spasm. Two guys (fans attending the festival) snapped into action and one guy ran over to get help from the Help Station. As the “Zookeeper” (Help Station volunteer) passed me, I told him she was having a seizure. Everyone was really worried; her body was twitching and then she went limp. It was pretty scary, and the thing is, the help station team is just a group of volunteers with no medical training. They couldn’t do anything except put up a flag with a beacon on it while someone else physically ran to the medical tent. Fortunately, the medical tent was maybe 300 yards away, but the minutes that went by (maybe only about 2) as the girl lay there felt like hours. The volunteers holding the beacon flag stood 5 feet away from the girl, unable to touch her in any way due to festival liability reasons. Three fans crowded over the girl to help her. I’d learned that if you see someone having a seizure you shouldn’t touch them; rather, you should wait for an EMS person to come because a person having a seizure could easily get hurt by you just trying to help them. I mentioned this to the guys, but they seemed to know what they were doing and I have no idea about anything related to this, so I definitely stepped aside and just prayed and worried. The guys placed her on her side and tried to comfort her. Finally, EMS was there. After some quick visual tests, they then physically carried the girl away– no stretcher, just 2 people carrying her in their arms. The whole thing was terrifying and left a lot of people visibly shaken. I left the festival immediately after.
This story is only meant to help you to asses what you should do if you’re in this situation and to think critically about the real situations you may end up in. If you think you are in danger, the best thing is to seek out the medical tent, not the help tent (though go to whatever is closest if you are in dire straits!). Ask for help immediately. If you see someone on the ground or acting strange, such as standing frozen with their bodies in stiff/rigid positions or moving jerkily, these can be signs of a seizure. If that person is with friends, tell those friends about the dangers and that you’re going to get help right away. If the person is alone, find someone to stay with them while you sprint to a medical tent. Don’t all crowd around the person in trouble, give them a little space to breath while also attending to them. Be honest with yourself too– if you don’t have medical training, don’t try to be a doctor (FYI, here is what Web MD says to do if you see someone having a seizure). Talk calmly to the person, even if they don’t necessarily seem responsive– it will not only help them, but also keep you calm and hopefully prevent you from doing something too rash. They cancelled EZoo for a reason last year. Let’s be smart and do what we can to help each other out. I don’t know what happened to that girl, but I’m praying for her, her family, and everyone else who has medical issues at the festival.
Overall, the festival was an amazing experience. The lineup is amazing and there are still so many arts displays– and food vendors– I really want to check out. There are just some key things to keep in mind before you head out there this weekend to make sure that your weekend is easy-peasy and safe. Have an amazing weekend, stay safe, and keep it real!