Las Vegas is the perfect place for the Electric Daisy Carnival. EDC Las Vegas, the flagship jamboree of Insomniac Events, supercharged the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend. An estimated 400,000 party animals shelled out the big bucks — tickets for the three-day event (no onesies offered) ranged from around $320 to over $800 — for the glory of immersing themselves in the enormous event, whose evening glow may have even competed with that of the Las Vegas Strip, located 17 miles south of the speedway.
Having recently become aware of Insomniac Events (see coverage of Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape Psycho Circus, and Beyond Wonderland), this reporter felt compelled to get to the heart of the beat to discover just how epic Insomniac’s epic events could get. For those who’ve not experienced EDC, this spectacle can easily compete with that of a major theme park. Though the ample rides at EDC were standard carnival fare, the 15 designer DJ stages, distinctly-themed zones, art installations, carnival performers (stilt walkers, fire dancers, costumed characters), and a cartoonish vibe (albeit an adulty one) — as well as the sheer enormity of the grounds (the track’s circumference is a mile and a half) — certainly transcend Insomniac’s smaller events.
One could say that the party began far from the speedway. While waiting in several miles of traffic, the heads and upper extremities of festival-goers frequently emerged from their vehicles to howl or otherwise signal their enthusiasm. Once attendees had parked, designer rickshaws-for-hire offered to drive guests from their distant parking lots to the main entryways, while bumping dance music. After experiencing the ol’ “put all your metal objects in the dish, face away from me, and spread your arms” routine, guests could finally pass through the speedway’s entryway and get their first glimpse of the massive arena.
As I wandered through the event, checking out portions of various DJ sets, taking photos, and talking with people, I bumped into plenty of fellow Orange County folks who had also made the trek. Naturally, most of the guests (or “headliners” as Insomniac refers to them) were dressed to the nines in their rave get-ups; glitter, face paint, stick-on jewelry patterns, electronic components, and mesh clothing were par for the course. Traveling among the guests were plenty of festival personae (from clowns to larger-than-life plush characters); designer golf carts that looked like mushrooms; and tricked out mobile stages. Noteworthy non-mobile aspects of the festival ran the gamut from enormous stage designs to interactive art installations to a wedding area. Chill zones and mini-clubs also occupied a decent area of the grounds — as did numerous vendors.
As for the actual headliners, distinctions among the 200+ DJs included plenty of world-class acts. To rattle off a bunch: Paul Oakenfold, Deadmau5, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, Eric Prydz, Amelie Lens, Jamie Jones, ANNA, Ducky, Solardo b2b Idris Elba, Zeds Dead, Gorgon City, ARTBAT, and Svdden Death were some of the main draws. On Saturday night, Skrillex also made an unscheduled appearance. Many of those sets and more are available to listen to here.
It seemed appropriate that on Saturday evening, in the middle of the festival’s run, the Moon was full. This was a perfect complement to the lovely lunacy that flourished on the race track. And while various Las Vegas news agencies have reported several dozen arrests over the weekend [kids love those illegal drugs!], the predominating spirits were those of joy, creativity, openness, and acceptance. If only more of free society could take a cue…