The 21st installment of Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas has come and gone, and another weekend has been spent dancing under the electric sky. With the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas comes the excitement, the bliss, and yes, the traffic. A week after getting back from EDC 2017, I can safely say this year was one of the best for me. From the music to the production to the friends I met and reunited with, everything was on point, and another year’s worth of memories made.
The first day of any three day festival can always be a little hectic, especially when that festival is EDC. Everyone usually leaves the earliest on the first day, so traffic can have an effect on your travel time – but it was nothing a little bit of tunes couldn’t fix. Once we arrived at the speedway, we hopped into line and climbed out onto those iconic grandstands a little after sunset. We could barely contain our excitement as we ran down the steps – the music on day 1 was too good to miss. The night began in the Neon Garden with the MOODZONE takeover – Solardo and DJ Tennis were the first sets we saw and were definitely two of my favorites from the weekend.
Wanting something a little different, some of my friends and I snuck off to the Cosmic Meadow to catch some of Jauz’s high energy set – which was exactly what we needed. Although it was dark out, the Vegas desert heat was still taking its toll, so we made sure to stop and take multiple water breaks. After rehydrating and spending some quality time at Chris Liebing, we made our way over to the Kalliope Art Car for some Desert Hearts takeover action – the DH crew was running the takeover from sunset to sunrise. Mikey Lion, Porkchop, Lee Reynolds, and Marbs threw one hell of a party within a party – the Kalliope Art Car was going off all night long, no doubt introducing many to the transformational vibe for the very first time. What was especially nice about this was that if I ever needed to break away from the madness of EDC and soak up the Desert Hearts vibes, I didn’t have to go very far. After that, I headed over to the Quantum Valley stage to see Freedom Fighters and experience the new stage for the very first time. Getting my fill of psytrance, we began the end of our night with FlashGang at the Boombox Art Car and then with Pan-Pot at Neon Garden. All in all, even with the first day craziness, Day 1 was a successful day.
Out of all three days, I would have to say Saturday was my favorite day. We left earlier to avoid the traffic (because with each passing day of a three day festival, the majority of people leave later and later) and get in as early as we could. As soon as we were in, we headed for home base (the Neon Garden) for the Paradise Records takeover, starting our night with Nathan Barato. After that and some John Digweed, I made my way over back to Cosmic Meadow to catch an all-time favorite – Rufus du Sol. One of the highlights of my weekend was getting as close to the stage as I could while “Innerbloom” played and fireworks went off – an unforgettable moment. After Rufus, I ventured over to the Upside-down House for another long time favorite, Cut Snake. Then, it was time to return to the Garden for 3 hours of nonstop madness – Green Velvet into Jamie Jones into Lee Foss. Each one respectively killed it, giving us exactly what we needed to keep moving and grooving until the sunrise.
One of my favorite moments was when Green Velvet had the Garden packed while he dropped his track “Issues”, the whole stage popping off at once. That was a sight to see, the entire crowd grooving to the same beat, looking almost in sync. At around 4:15 we decided to go see a set I’ve never seen but always wanted to – an Infected Mushroom DJ set at Quantum Valley. The vibe was brought and my inauguration into the world of Infected Mushroom was a wild one – I had never known what I was missing until that night. Needless to say, Day 2 was a day filled with favorites, new and old. We called it quits around 4:45, and even so, we hit very minimal traffic getting out of the speedway.
We kept our momentum going and decided to leave early on Sunday as well, which helped us beat all of the speedway traffic. We got there in under 30 minutes – a new record for us! My friends and I made our way down those grandstands, soaking in the view as the sunset on the speedway one last time. We began our night in the Neon Garden for the Drumcode takeover, with Marco Faraone and Dense & Pika starting us off for the evening. After that, I ventured solo over to Gramatik at Cosmic Meadow for some sensual lowtemp. I couldn’t stay away from the garden for long though, and soon found myself back under that giant disco ball for Alan Fitzpatrick. Then it was time for one of my favorite sets from Sunday – Seven Lions at Circuit Grounds. His set was the perfect mixture of psytrance, dubstep, and progressive house. A truly magical set, especially during the final fireworks finale of the weekend – every song perfectly fitting that ethereal moment, building and dropping in sync with the fireworks going off overhead. It was incredible! After that, I stopped by Griz’s set at the Bass Pod for some of that hard-hitting sax-infused dubstep and I was not disappointed.
From there, I made it back to Neon Garden to catch the last 30 minutes of Adam Beyer and to catch the beginning of Green Velvet’s closing set (who was filling in for Joseph Capriati). After getting my techno fill, my friends and I made our way over to the new Parliament Art Car for a special surprise sunrise set by DJ Sven, aka Seven Lions. We climbed on the art car and went wild for one last time to some of the best psytrance I’ve heard. As the sun rose on that final day, I looked around to see hundreds of ecstatic, smiling faces illuminated by the morning rays. This was by far one of the best highlights from the weekend, and one that I will remember forever. It was in this moment that I really took in what was happening around me, letting that infectious energy envelope me for one last time. And then, before we knew it, the sun was out, and EDC 2017 was officially over.
All in all, I would have to say it was a very successful weekend, and one of my favorite EDCs to date. I took full advantage of the musical diversity and saw a little bit of everything I love. I ran countless miles around the speedway, seeing all the art and friends, new and old. Yes, EDC has its logistical problems – the heat, the traffic, the shuttles, all of these are common issues that Insomniac continues to work on and try to improve. With all of that plus the size of the festival in mind, I can say this year was much better logistically, at least for me. Every night we left late and didn’t get stuck in any traffic in the speedway parking lot, especially the last day, which is usually the worst. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but for me it was. Line waits were never too long to get in, and the worst waiting we experienced was on the freeway in traffic every day. Granted, we didn’t take the shuttles, which had its own set of issues this year. All of these problems may be solved soon though, after Insomniac head Pasquale Rotella mentioned some “big changes” coming to EDC in 2018. What are those changes? Only time will tell – all I know is I’m already looking forward to being back under the electric sky!
A quick shout-out to Insomniac Events for inviting us back at EDC this year, and a quick thank you to everyone who made this weekend so special.
FEATURED PHOTO BY STEPHEN BONDIO