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Electric Zoo hit with class action after ‘nightmare’ edition

A reported 7,000 fans were denied entry to the New York festival on its final day because it was "overcrowded and oversold"

By Lisa Henderson on 20 Sep 2023

Electric Zoo 2017, LiveStyle, Paylogic

Electric Zoo organisers have been hit with a class action lawsuit after a “nightmare” edition earlier this month.

The New York-based electronic music festival, which is now operated by Avant Gardner, was due to take place between 1–3 September in Randall’s Island Park but was plagued by issues.

A pair of attendees have now launched a class action over what they called “a nightmare endured by thousands of electronic music fans”.

As IQ previously reported, the first day of the festival was cancelled just three hours before it was set to start. Organisers released a statement saying “global supply chain disruptions” had impacted the festival and that “unexpected delays have prevented us from completing the construction of the main stage in time for Day 1”.

However, promoters behind the event later told Billboard that the Department of Parks & Recreation officials would not issue the permits needed to stage the event.

“[Electric Zoo] was a nightmare endured by thousands of electronic music fans”

Additionally, the final day opened late and was oversold – with the full 42,500-person capacity being met by midday and approximately 7,000 festival-goers being prevented from entering the site, despite having valid tickets.

Some fans who reached the festival site after the gates were closed decided to jump fences or run through security checkpoints as a group, joining other ticket-holding fans in mad dashes past security staff, according to reports.

The class action plaintiffs – Nicole Brockmole and Lauren Bair – are now seeking damages on “behalf of all affected patrons who paid for ticket(s) for access or entry to [Electric Zoo] were not granted access”.

“In addition to Friday’s cancellation, and perhaps more egregiously, things turned worse for Electric Zoo fans on Sunday when they were left to languish in heatwave for hours after being greeted by never-ending lines to enter the festival and eventually denied entry because the venue was oversold and overcrowded,” the lawsuit states.

Brockmole and Blair – who are from North Carolina and Arizona respectively – were among thousands who travelled to New York for the festival, only to be denied entry.

This year’s edition of Electric Zoo was set to be headlined by Kx5, Galantis, and The Chainsmokers, and organisers of the festival promised refunds to those who were denied entry, or a partial refund for weekend ticket holders.

Total costs for this year’s festival — including refund costs to fans who didn’t make it in, as well as paying Friday night performers their full fees — could total $25 million, former insiders at SFX Entertainment, which owned the festival from 2013 to 2022, told Billboard.

The festival changed hands last year after Avant Gardner, a Brooklyn music venue and nightclub, acquired Electric Zoo promoter Made Event for a reported $15 million.

The festival was launched in the US in 2009, spawning international editions in Mexico, Brazil, Japan and China.

IQ has reached out to Avant Gardner for comment.


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