The crowd at EDC Las Vegas. Photo: Erik Kabik
From June 8-10, I attended one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world—Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. I’m still trying to process everything that happened in those three days. Let’s start with the 300,000 people who helped sell out the event: From furry boots to the infamous Skrillex hair cuts, there was quite the eclectic bunch. Every shape, age and color was represented; it was beautiful to see such diversity come together for the music. The reach of Electric Daisy Carnival has extended much further than ever before, likely due in part to the recently released film Electric Daisy Carnival: The Experience.
This year in the city of sin marked the 16th year for EDC, and with more than a hundred DJs scheduled to perform, it was sure to be pretty epic. Unfortunately, on Saturday at 1 a.m., fire marshals shut down the event on account of high winds. Despite that glitch, the party continued and ended with a bang on Sunday. Before I get too ahead of myself, let’s rewind back to Friday, which was probably my favorite out of the three days.
Friday, June 8:
The energy was at its highest, and everything was still new. From the cool mimes to the stilt walkers to the creative statues (like the mother serpent that lit on fire as you walked by), the grounds of the Las Vegas Speedway were art in motion, brought to life by a colorful crowd of over 100,000 attendees. It was truly a sight to see: seven stages, all loaded with special effects and amazing DJs to take the crowd to another world.
Traffic getting to the speedway had been bad, and getting in was even worse—it was about 11:30 p.m. when I walked through the gates. The first performance that I caught was Borgore, a DJ/Producer from Israel who set up the night for me. Performing inside a full-LED ice cream truck that had 45-inch, spinning chrome wheels and accompanied by two stripper poles, Borgore’s set production was impressive. In the front of the stage were four ice cream cones filled with shaving cream that shot onto the audience during his performance. It was like he fucked the crowd and then preceded to jizz on them after, and it was epic. When he played a sick remix of the popular YouTube hit, “Let Me Smell Your Dick,” I came a little bit. He’s definitely one of my new favorites after this weekend.
At about 3 a.m. Afrojack and Steve Aoki performed together and it was like a gangbang for my ears. They mixed two of my favorite songs, “Internet Friends” by Knife Party and Steve Aoki’s popular collaboration with The Bloody Beetroots, “Warp.” The crowd went crazy hearing the ticking clock behind the Knife Party track.
Sidney Samson, one of my favorite DJs in the world, completely killed it later in the night when he dropped his massive hit, “The World is Yours.” Surprisingly, though, my favorite performance was Kaskade. I’ve always respected him, but have never loved his music. He surprised me with how dirty and hard-hitting his set was, and after hearing so much dubstep throughout the night, his set was a breath of fresh air. I was in the mood for some real electronic music and he gave me just that! He threw down hits like “Promises,” which he remixed specially for EDC, and it was definitely not a Skrillex remix—it felt more like Angger Dimas, rough and sexy just like I like it! He also dropped his own track, “Devil In My Hand,” which, at one point, he turned down during the chorus to have the audience sing along with him. It was an overwhelming and stunning moment, especially with the addition of the fireworks going off behind him. I ended my Friday at 5 a.m. with DImitri Vegas and Like Mike, both of whom I had never seen live, but whose work I have admired for a long time. When they played a spectacular remix of my favorite song by Goyte, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” with the sun rising behind the stage, I cried like a little bitch.
Saturday, June 9:
Saturday was promising with big acts like MSTRKRFT, Armin Van Buuren, Jack Beats and a special performance by The Blue Man group featuring Steve Aoki. I was looking forward to experiencing The Blue Man group. Unfortunately, that would never happen. While watching Rusko, I overheard a security guard telling others that they were going to shut down the music soon because the winds were becoming way too strong for the fire marshals’ taste. Five minutes later, Rusko got on the microphone and told the audience, “They’re making me stop playing because the fire marshals think the wind is getting too dangerous, so we have to wait for it to die down.”
Everyone was bummed out. How could they stop the show for wind?! At first, they let everyone stay inside the festival grounds, just not by the stages. Some people started a party of their own with the steel garbage cans and whistles. It was cute and slightly annoying, but they had the right idea. It was nice to see that rather than a riot, which I honestly expected after the first hour had passed with no news of the festival starting back up. Two hours later, they started making everyone move to the fields, and that was a sight in itself.
More than 100,000 people, all in their costumes and colorful glowing outfits, packed in like sardines on the fields while a small but prominent speaker played house music to entertain or distract everyone from what was happening. Around four in the morning, my ride had given up hope and was ready to leave, which I wish hadn’t been the case since later we found out Steve Aoki had come to save the day. Around 5 a.m., when spirits were truly drooping and people started getting grumpy, Steve Aoki played an impromptu set for the 400 or so attendees who had stayed behind, hoping the festival would start back up again. He definitely made their night with his intimate performance. I had already exited the premises, but was still stuck in traffic outside the stadium in the parking lot where it was slightly chaotic as 80,000 people tried to leave at the same time.
Sunday, June 10:
A lot of people were dissatisfied with what had occurred the night before, but after finding out one of the gigantic daisy fixtures had fallen down from the strong winds, I was not the least bit mad at Insomniac. If they hadn’t evacuated everyone, I’m positive someone would have been injured or killed. Keen on making sure that everyone left happy, Insomniac invited back anyone with a Saturday single ticket and added more shows and surprises for the last day of EDC: from performances by Armin Van Buuren and Avicii, to an increased amount of Red Bull skydivers and more special effects and pyrotechnics at the stages.
Their attempts to make up for Saturday were not in vain. Sunday was absolutely amazing! Major mutha fucking Lazer seriously stole the show! Their high-energy antics—like making everyone take off their shirts and twirl them in the air, and Diplo going into a clear plastic hamster ball to roll over the crowd—made for a show that was beyond exceptional. The fusion between reggae and electronic music was outstanding, and included just the right amount of gritty nasty-ness. Major Lazer dropped massive hits like The Party Squad’s “Lighterman,” their own banger, “Original Don” and old-school reggae hits like “Kill It With The No.”
The rest of my night consisted of fantastic sets by Chuckie, Sandro Silva, Pretty Lights, Laidback Luke and Bingo Players. With the exception of Pretty Lights and Chuckie, everyone I saw that night was on Laidback Luke’s “Super Me & You” stage. The stage was covered in trippy-looking, stereotypical comic sayings on what looked like inflatable balloons from the crowd. They said things like, “Pow,” “Kaboom” and “Wow,” there were also huge inflatable superheroes! Pretty Lights’ stage set up was absolutely amazing as well. He had the trippiest visuals I’ve ever experienced—the quote of the night in the crowd during his set was, “Dem those Pretty Lights.”
Another performance that I can’t stop thinking about happened around 3 a.m. with The Bingo Players. The Bingo Players seriously killed it when they dropped a rendition of Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” The Bingo Players also gave me a great moment when they dropped “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers and had the audience singing along with them. They ended their set with Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know,” which again made my night, because I absolutely adore that song. At around 5 a.m., I made my way back to Laidback Luke’s “Super Me & You” stage for Flux Pavillion. He dropped huge hits like “Louder,” “Cracks” and an uncanny remix of “Original Don.” His transitions were so fluid, they made my heart skip a beat!
Overall, the weekend was amazing, even with Saturday getting shut down. I can’t fucking wait to do it all over again next year. Until then, I’ll just play back all the incredible performances on Sirius over and over again. If you were lucky enough to be there, you’re probably doing the same.