With summer just around the corner, EDM fans have had one thing on their minds – Electric Daisy Carnival. EDC has nearly doubled in size each year until it hit capacity for every venue where it has taken place. This year was no exception, with EDC 2012 selling out for the very first time with estimated 300,000 attendees over a span of three days. EDC has been held at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the last several years, where it has built its reputation as one of largest electronic dance music events in the world. With interest in EDM rising at exponential levels, EDC needed a much bigger venue, and so it would make sense that its new home is at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, the EDM capital of America.
When I close my eyes, I can imagine myself entering The Carnival for the very first time. Walking through the pitch-black tunnels of the over 1000-acre venue, my body begins to feel the intense bass coming from the seven massive stages, featuring hundreds of the world’s most famous DJs who represent Electronic Dance Music. The vibes of sound could be felt as I run my hands across the walls. As I begin to wander towards the end of the tunnel, I see the dim glow of lights pulsing in rhythm. With each step forward, it becomes harder to breathe. My heart skips every other beat, while my legs feel like they’re about to give out. As I approach the end of the tunnel and take my first step into the open, I could feel the cool summer breeze blasting against my body, I could smell the scent of fresh daisies in the air, and I could hear the sound of music cascading into the night. 100,000 have come together to become united under the electric sky. This is the Electric Daisy Carnival.
Day one of The Carnival is always the most exciting because expectations are high and it’s the culmination of a yearlong wait for EDM fans. On opening day, the wait and lines are always the longest. The normal travel time from The Strip to the Speedway takes twenty minutes on average, but during EDC weekend it can take anywhere from one to three hours, depening on if you can even find transportation. In my case, I purchased a shuttle pass from a private company who had no idea what they were in for. Naturally, they overbooked the shuttles and so hundreds of people looked like they were ready to start a riot when I arrived at the pickup location. “P.L.U.R people! P.L.U.R.!” Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. The eager crowd was angry with the organizers of the private shuttles, but everyone kept calm, and reassured each other that the night was still young and that everyone would make it to EDC eventually. The organizers knew they underestimated the size of the crowd, and decided to pay out of their own pockets to rent limos and taxis in order for everyone to get there on time. This is what I love about EDM events. The culture and crowd is just different from any other music event, it’s something you have to be a part of yourself to truly understand. Once we finally make it to the venue, things begin to go smoothly. With 19 years of experience, Insomniac really knows how to throw a party. All possible gates are open for entry, rails were constructed to keep the lines in order, and security was quick and efficient. I made it into the venue just before 12am and the event ends at 5am each day, plenty of time to rage from dusk till dawn.
So what makes fans come back for day two and three? If you experienced one day, you’ve experienced them all right? Wrong! Insomniac knows exactly what to do to keep the fans wanting more. Day one was the teaser day, meant to give fans a glimpse of what‘s in store for the rest of the weekend. The DJs are strategically scheduled to spin at certain days and times in order for fans to create their own itinerary. Many of the DJs are flying in from out of the country to EDC just to spin for a 1 hour set, so fans will have to go multiple days if they want to catch their favorite artists. Everything that didn’t go right on day one was fixed for days two and three. The traffic wasn’t nearly as bad on day two because fans left for EDC much earlier. I entered through the gates just before sunset, a first for me, and the view of the Carnival was just beautiful. It was refreshing to see how The Carnival transforms from a calm beautiful setting during the day to the colorful 100,000 people massive at night. Day two was the day I planned to go all out, and all was going according to plan until the Vegas winds started picking up. I looked up at the ceiling of circutGROUNDS, the massive open trance stage with arches that loom over the crowd, and I could see the huge speakers swaying back and forth as a result of the wind. About 30 minutes later, the entire production suddenly stopped. An announcement was made that due to high winds the event would have to be postponed until the winds subsided. At this point, thousands of people were scattered throughout the venue, both inside and outside, and among the bleachers. There were people crying, depressed, and looking for their loved ones. This scene reminded me of a scene from the Titanic! Nevertheless, fans remained upbeat during the intermission by playing music on their phones and dancing. Around 2AM Insomniac released a statement that they had to shut down EDC for the night due to safety concerns. Much like the 100,000 in attendance, I was very disappointed, until I watched this video:
I would like to take my hat off to the CEO of Insomniac, Rotella Pasquale, who made the incredibly smart and correct decision to shut down day two of EDC for the safety of the fans and artists who were in attendance. Just because the second day ended early it doesn’t means the partying stopped, as many of the DJs decided to make special guest appearances at the nightclubs on The Strip.
To make up for Mother Nature’s wrath the day before, Insomniac decided to let everyone who purchased a day two ticket attend day three. Once again, hats off to the production company, as they were not obligated to do this, but they wanted to make their dedicated fans happy. EDC organizers wanted to make the last night even more special by several artists who could not perform the previous day to the lineup. In addition to the added sets, two spectacular firework shows were also added to the last night of EDC. The last night of EDC for me was a day to take a step back and soak everything in. I wanted to explore one last time on the last night of EDC to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. My girlfriend and I decided to ride all of the carnival rides and look at all the artwork because people tend to forget that EDC is actually a carnival with lots of things to do!
This was my fourth time attending EDC and the experience was just as memorable as my first. Words can only describe so much, while a picture is only worth a thousand words. If you want to engage yourself in this experience of a lifetime, mark your calendars for EDC 2013.