Electric Zoo – Food and My First Photo Pit Experience

Yesterday, September 4, 2010 was the first day of Electric Zoo. A two-day electronic music festival that continued on from its success from the kickoff year featuring internationally known DJs in Randall’s Island.

I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell am I doing there?” Well, one of the PRs (public relations) people emailed me about this festival with a food slant and invited me to go. I asked my concert photographer friend, Andrew St. Clair about this it and he said in some fashion, “What? It’s a music festival; not really a food event.” But hell, I’ll go and I asked for a photo pit access and surprisingly, I got it. So, I was pretty darn psyched about getting to experience concert-like photography once in my life.

Gorgeous view of Manhattan Main stage
Gorgeous day out (left: view of Manhattan & right: Electric Zoo)

For the food aspect of this festival, there are options (better than most concerts and not ridiculously priced, methinks): you have Sigmund Pretzelshop, Mexicue, La Cense Truck, Miss Softee, Sweet Treats, and Kwik Meal food trucks/cart to serve you food (there were a few other vendors but these are the more notable ones in my book).

Cheeseburger Electric Cone from Miss Softee Truck
BBQ Brisket slider Chocolate & Potato Chip spoon
Foods from La Cense (cheeseburger), Mexicue’s brisket slider, Miss Softee’s Electric Cone and Chocolate & Potato Chip Cone

I just went for ice cream and bonded with Chrissy Michaels (aka Miss Softee) since it’s hot inside the tents and I love ice cream. Her concoctions run somewhat similar to Doug Quint’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, their stuff run somewhat weird but appealing to adventurous food eaters. Miss Softee’s seem to have several specials of the day rather than having it do it yourself menu with toppings plus his “standard” menu that Big Gay Ice Cream grants you beyond the typical sprinkles, nuts and chocolate dip. I love them both equally and will be mourning soon when they’re closing for the winter.

Miss Softee’s special for this particular event is (and soon to be was) the Electric Cone. A vanilla soft serve coated in rainbow sprinkles and Pop Rocks. Fun and psychedelically colored. Very appropriate for this type of crowd. She also gave me a sampling of her chocolate dip with potato chips. She managed to use a large plastic spoon and dispense a chocolate and vanilla twist, dip it in chocolate dip and added some roughly crushed potato chips. Somehow, she managed to read me well since I love sweet and salty desserts. And this was awesome! (Better than the Electric Cone, IMO.) The potato chip flavor was toned down from everything else in that ice cream spoon, resulting the salty and crunchy bite, which I appreciate.

As for Mexicue, I only tried their BBQ brisket slider that’s topped with fresh, creamy avocado slices and a spicy cabbage slaw. The bun was a good vehicle to hold the contents. The moist, tender, well-seasoned brisket worked well with the avocado. The latter was something I don’t usually equivalate with barbecue sandwich but it added a cooling factor to the spiciness of the meat and crisp slaw. (I ate a little just because I don’t have that much time for a break since the DJs were playing soon.)

Me in the photo pit
Me in the photo pit. Photo Credit: Andrew St. Clair

The festival itself, the attendees were having a good time, the music was LOUD and the bass was cranked up. For my first and probably only time I ever get to have this once in a lifetime experience to shoot a music festival or concert, this was pretty fun and it helps to have a friend (Andrew St. Clair) to make this whole event not alienating. It’s amusing when I talk to some photographers who were shooting this event, they all were here for a music website, magazine or TV channel. I feel special that I’m the sole food blogger who’s shooting this event.

Note though, shooting in a photo pit is not glamorous and you’re surrounded with packed crowds of people who’ve been buzzed up with alcohol and probably some other substances but the pit provides you some space from them. Here’s my photos of Electric Zoo. Hopefully, you’ll like them.

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Again, I thank the PR of Electric Zoo to grant me access to this festival and let me access the photo pit.

Electric Zoo

Randall’s Island, NY
Date attended: September 5, 2010


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

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