Labor Day weekend began with a bass drop on Randalls Island. For the 13th edition of the Electric Zoo music festival, attendees wore bucket hats, patterned short suits, leg elastics, harnesses and very little else for New York City’s annual contribution to the global EDM party circuit. We caught up with a few ravers on the first day of the festival, as they swapped hugs and handmade plastic beaded bracelets (a.k.a. “candy”) before Diplo’s sunset DJ set.
Lives in: Nassau County, N.Y.
Have you been to many raves before?
This is my first.
What are you most excited for?
I just ate, so I’m most excited about the food. I had fried Oreos.
Did you make those glasses?
They’re from Doll’s Kill, actually. And I got the headband at Party City.
Lives in: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Why the biohazard design on your pants?
The pants remind me of the old-school days before rave went mainstream. Everything I learned about rave culture was from my late stepdad. They called him “Al Boogie.” He had 20 years of experience in rave culture. I know he’s up there in heaven giving me the “what’s up.”
Occupation: Music producer
Lives in: Miami
What attracted you to these sweatpants and pashmina?
R.A.G.E. Nation is a really high quality rave brand. They have really magnificent organic and geometric designs. Roses and all flower petals in general have a mathematic formula. They follow the Fibonacci sequence. I study physics and math, so I love the yin and yang of the geometric and organic imagery.
Drew Carlo, left, with Owen O’Rourke
What name should we use?
I’ve had so many stage names over the years, it doesn’t matter what name you use. You can call me Andrew, you can call me Drew Carlo. I did porn under the name Liam Skye. I quit porn less than a year ago.
Why did you leave the industry?
I didn’t want anyone looking at me differently for what I did. It was a job, it was fun. Now I’m a receptionist.
Occupation: Flight attendant
Lives in: Brooklyn
Tell me about the bunny hat.
This is my favorite rave piece. I’ve worn it to every event, it’s my pride and joy. It makes me feel fearless. A lot of guys are scared to do it, to bend their gender a little. It reminds me that I’m in charge of me and I’m fearless. It’ll be better after the sun goes down because it all lights up.
Occupation: Veterinary technician
Lives in: Los Angeles
Your makeup is impeccable. How is it staying on in the heat?
I was worried about the makeup melting, but I put a lot of finishing spray and powder on. That’s the secret.
Where’d you get those earrings?
I made them myself. I got tinsel and string and put it all together. I saw other artists had made them but I couldn’t get them in time, so I made them myself.
Occupation: Compounding pharmacy technician
Lives in: Lower East Side, Manhattan
Is this your first Electric Zoo?
No, I actually went to the first Electric Zoo. I remember stealing a bottle of Hpnotiq from the V.I.P. lounge. Me and my homegirls, we dusted it off. I love E-Zoo and I’m excited for the whole new setup.
Occupation: E-commerce for G Fuel, an energy drink
Lives in: Edison, N.J.
Where did you get the harness?
The harness was a gift from my sister-in-law at Christmas. I opened it and was like, “How do I put it on?” I had my husband help me figure out where it was supposed to go.
How did your sister-in-law know you’d be open to getting a harness as a Christmas gift?
My sister-in-law is my old friend. She introduced me to my husband. We’ve got the same soul. We’re both raver spooky Halloween girls.
Occupation: Public relations
Lives in: East Flatbush, Brooklyn
Pink is one of my favorite rave colors because it brings out my personality. I’m bubbly and fun. I actually work in public relations.
So how often does your job allow you to go to parties like this?
I get to go to raves about five times a year. The last one was Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.
Soluna Vega ,with David Galarza
Occupation: Social worker
Live in: Bridgeport, Conn.
What’s up with the ducks?
We have a rave family from all over the nation. Every festival we go to, we give away ducks. I’ve got a bag full of them, pockets full of them. Who can say no to a duck?
Katie Kelly, with Jon Towle
Occupation: Hair dresser
Live in: Worcester, Mass.
Who did your hair?
I did! I dye my hair all the time. I change it so often, people literally don’t recognize me when they see me the next day. I did his hair last night when we were watching season three of “The Jersey Shore.” He’s gotten like six compliments today and it warms my heart.
Lives in: Medford, N.Y.
Is this a one piece?
No, these are two of the same piece. These bottoms were originally this top, I cut them up and turned them into a bottom. The point of all this is for when I use the fiber optic whip later when it’s dark. It’s a hobby I picked up during the pandemic. I actually got very good at it.
Occupation: E-commerce for Whole Foods
Lives in: Brooklyn
Who did your hair?
I get my hair done on 125th Street. But I live in Brooklyn.
You go all the way uptown?
Yeah, because I work in Midtown. It’s worth it.
Occupation: Nursing student
Lives in: Princeton, N.J.
Where did you find that hat?
I made this mushroom hat myself out of corkboard. Me and my friends pulled an all-nighter last night to make it while watching “Gossip Girl.”
Jasmine Santiago (with Pedro Santiago)
Occupation: Substitute teacher
Live in: Orlando, Fla.
How do you know each other?
We’re married. We’ve been together since we were 12 years old.
How do you make it last that long?
It takes lots of patience and growth and communication. And parties help. My husband came to his first festival in November. Now he’s hooked.
Do you mind if we take your picture?
Sure, but I’ve got to go.