The Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. 910 acres. Let that sink in a little bit because I can tell you I haven’t forgotten about it since this past June. EDC tickets go on sale soon, so to get in the spirit of it all, I thought I’d write up a review of sorts of my first and only time attending … at 36. 36! For those of you that like dance music of any kind, I recommend you go at least once. Here are a few questions I get asked a lot:
Isn’t EDM Dying?
Well not for the 400,000 people who purchased tickets for EDC 2016 alone, and not for the countless other Insomniac events forming around the world. (I can go on about HARD and other promoters, but that’s for another blog post.) Dance music, house music, electronic music, EDM … whatever you want to call it … has been around since the 70s. Yes, it has. It was a grittier, rawer marriage of Eurobeat pop and Disco. I mean, I fell in love with Kraftwerk before I lost my mind for NGHTMRE. The sound changed through time and technology, sure, but it’s basically the same. And it’s basically a perfect recipe for the music connoisseur.
Is it about the music or is it about the drugs?
OK OK fair question, actually. Keep an open mind because this is suspect numero uno the media uses to showcase why raves are bad. I will tell you there’s a lot of drug use. Namely a lot of zombie squads roaming around in conga line-esque trains trying to go on epic journeys together to the next stage or meet-up spot. But there’s a lot of sober people there, too, with a massive high on life. Responsible adults that partake in drug and alcohol use should always do so to enhance their experience, not dominate it … and as everything, in moderation. Whatever you do, know thyself. This three-day fest is taxing on your body, so sleep when you can, eat well and drink more water than you ever have before. And for the record, it’s always about the music for me. And dancing.
What kind of people are there?
All ages, shapes and sizes, which makes for great people watching. I call it people watching as a general term but this includes costumes, hair, make up, crazy creative totem designs, whole squads in matching themed outfits … and of course all the ass. There is a lot of skin, as you can imagine when temperatures barely go lower than 100 even at 3 a.m., but it’s dark for most of the time you’re there and everyone looks better in the dark. I wore some pretty basic cutoff shorts and cropped tops, but lived vicariously through everyone in their glitter and lights. There are unicorns, mystical animals, lit up go-go dancers, clowns … anything you can imagine. Frankie Bones’ movement from the early 1980s, peace love unity respect (PLUR), is still a deep, purple artery that runs through EDC’s streets around Carnival Square. In essence, attendees are encouraged to be themselves.
Were you there when the BassPOD set caught on Fire?
Oh I was there and I stood right below it as it lit up in flames. It’s 100 out and the crowd is in its element, the proving ground of the Bassrush massive, surrounded by elaborate stage props armed with pyro cannons. Imagine crazy scared ravers running at you in a horde trying to get away, but still trying to keep their squad together! Ya, I got clotheslined. It happened. And the BassPod was my favorite part, so I was pretty sad to have Andy C’s set cut short. I could be at the BasPod the entire time, so when the fire was out and the Fire Department cleared it for takeoff, though, I was back at it. Luckily there was only one reported minor injury and no deaths.
What is the Electric Sky?
The electric sky really is a thing. I’m sure you’ve seen those super HDR-filtered aerial shots of the EDC grounds that circulate? They’re no exaggeration: there’s over the top firework shows every 5 minutes (I’m being generous here, it’s actually a spread-out 5 full minutes of fireworks each night), neon-soaked everything, lit up walkways, more lights, award-winning set design, even more neon lights, and over 500 theatrical performers. And more lights (it takes 22.5 megawatts of energy to power the festival). Insomniac is all about the experience, safety and keeping the PLUR culture alive.
Is it worth it?
Yes! Of course this is subjective. For me, the positives (great experience and music) outweigh the negatives (hot and crowded). One of the best things about multi-stage festivals with tons of artists (nearly 800 since the first year) is discovering new sounds. Artists I’ve come to really like since June are NGHTMRE, Marshmello, What So Not even more than I already did, TroyBoi and Alison Wonderland. And I would totally go again, if you must know.
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