Far out in the desert, approximately 17 miles north of the central Las Vegas strip, a small musical city full of lights, sounds, and variety of structures is born every year. Over the course of three consecutive nights this musical city comes alive with 405,000+ attendees from all regions of the planet. Maintaining the title as the “largest electronic music festival in North America” the city holds a significance in pop culture and in music history, hosting some of the biggest stages, artists, and pyrotechnics show ever brought to a music festival. This is the Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas.

The 19th annual Electric Daisy Carnival made its return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with full force (along with some serious heat) in a spectacular matter that outdid its previous years. Insomniac (the company behind the event) truly outdid itself this year with a variety of new additions including brand new stage designs, art structures, and a few editions to the classic festival layout we have come to know over the years. Being on the scale that EDC has achieved, the festival brings some of the biggest and most sought out musical artists currently making an impact within their respective genres.

The KineticFIELD returned this year with a complete new format and stage design. Metaphorically composed of different elements (earth, fire, water, and air), the massive stage upheld its record title as the largest stage in North America once again. Running at approximately 480 feet wide by 100 feet tall, the structure contained over one thousand lighting features, 40 lasers, 22 flame units, 15 confetti blowers, and a functioning waterfall. Sticking to their owl tradition, a large owl overlooked over the crowd throughout all three nights and was occasionally joined by a animatronic guardian dragon.

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CircuitGROUNDS has always been a personal favorite within the crowd at the festival as it has evolved over the times to showcase the state-of-the-art technology only found at the carnival. The grounds this year featured a interactive rings that would lower into the crowd and intertwine at given intervals between sets. All alongside 452 lighting features and six confetti blowers which were well put to use.

CosmicMEADOW outdid itself this year in more ways than one. After getting a completely revamped layout which included an added VIP deck, this game changing stage instantly won the hearts of many festival-goers. The stage consisted of twelve different LED panels that any given moment turned the night sky to day with the brightness it provided. A mixture of both pyrotechnics and fire, CosmicMEADOW proved to be a trailblazer for many festival stage designs to follow.

NeonGARDEN never failed to bring the energy this year once again. While many might say that it did feel a bit smaller than previous years, this year’s tent brought some of the most dynamic beats of the night. Featuring a centralized chandelier in the middle of the dancefloor, the NeonGARDEN never failed to ignite the passion within us as we danced all night long.

BassPOD and WasteLAND were two pleasant surprises that were showcased over the weekend. The BassPOD stage area featured flame throwing square pillars alongside some intense visuals that had people jumping from beginning to end. WasteLAND (hosted by Basscon) featured a mixture of dub and hardstyle performances as the Lady Liberty flame housed the artists. The stage grounds were surrounded by approximately 32 wrecked graffiti cars, freight train containers, and one military helicopter.

The FunkHOUSE was a unique addition this year as it became the prime spot to see and hear some good groove, disco, and hip-hop beats throughout the weekend. The 360 degree stage was entirely composed of recycled items including vinyl records which surrounded the walls. Stage7 (hosted by 7-UP) was back again in its interactive layout which featured a second level which people could get upon and look down at the crowd below.

One of the major reasons why EDC has become the festival it is now is mainly due to the artist arrangements they make over the course of three nights. While you can find your usual artists such as Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, and Kasakde to be there year after year, it’s only certain exclusive acts and moments that truly captured the attention of many this year. GAIA was one that we could not stop hearing about, partly due to the fact that they rarely headline a major music festival and the mesmerizing production that CircuitGROUNDS produced, intensified their set.

Moments like Diplo’s surprise set at the Stage 7, Bryan Cranston (aka Walter White from the hit series ‘Breaking Bad’) getting to press the button during Above and Beyond’s set at KineticFIELD to Jay Hardway b2b surprise set alongside Martin Garrix at Stage 7 were just some of the many special moments that captured the attention of many at this year’s carnival. So whether you were feeling Bassnectar’s set at CosmicMEADOW or witnessing Hot Since ’82’s surprise set at NeonGARDEN at 5am on Monday morning, night after night there was something that completely caught many off guard.

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While many flocked over to see the usual big sized headliners, this year we noticed how a lot of the underdog/up-and-coming artists were grabbing most of the attention. Artists such as Mako, Ookay, and Chris Lorenzo were just some of the many artists over the weekend that had adoring crowds spill out of their respective stages in an attempt to catch a glimpse of their sets. A new twist from the usual crowds that often fill up the larger main stages at the festival year after year.

It would not be a major Insomniac event without art structures. This year, the roaming Art Cart and Boom Box made their return to the speedway. Twenty new and returning art structures also made their debut such as a playground located at the Art Garden with consisted of various multi-colored mushrooms, garden scenery and performers. A crowd favorite was the Palace Blue which was inspired by the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, which was a bamboo structured piece topped with color-themed fabrics and platform that helped many stay cool during the hotter than average desert nightly heat.

In regards to the heat, the city of Las Vegas experienced a record breaking 118 degree day on Saturday prompting for a few advisories within the festival. Insomniac even made a huge effort to alert everyone about the high temperatures and risks that are involved for the patrons who often push their bodies to their limits. Unfortunately a death was reported within the festival over the weekend; however for everyone that was there over 150 free water refill stations were placed conveniently around the festival grounds to stay hydrated. Medical, security, and Ground Control staff was in plenty for anyone who needed assistance. While some things are out of the organizers control, everywhere we looked around we noticed everyone reaching out and helping each other out, even offering free water — a unique gesture not found at many events.

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The Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas is Insomniac’s annual flagship event for more than one reason. This year we witnessed a variety of newcomers to the festival circuit and the energy they brought. Many might have a different stance on this however, it really was an eye opening experience seeing how over the years not just the festival, but the crowd has evolved. From layout design, glamorizing art structures, to unique stage set-ups; the Electric Daisy Carnival is here to stay. It was great seeing the audience participate in the experience and take on a different character for a few nights. Most came from far and wide to escape their realities for a bit to truly enjoy and have fun, and many did just that. The Insomniac team, security, and venue staff did an amazing job at doing what they do best and are hats are off to them.

We look forward to what Insomniac brings for the remainder of the year (they’ve got a busy year ahead), and with what they bring to next year’s 20th anniversary of Electric Daisy Carnival. It’s hard to imagine what they will come up with next, but we expect nothing short of extraordinary.