Festival Report CardMusic Festivals

Festival Report Card: EDC Las Vegas 2024

Courtesy: Insomniac Events.

Each year, for three days in mid-May, the eyes of the dance music world turn to Las Vegas, Nevada, the now 13-year home of Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas.

Though official attendance numbers have not yet been announced, well over 525,000 ravers from across the globe are expected to have visited EDC Las Vegas 2024 over three days last weekend—May 17-19—firmly cementing the event as the largest electronic dance festival on the continent. 

Nearly 400 of the world’s best DJs joined them, performing from dusk until dawn across EDC’s nine stages and five art cars. Beyond top-notch electronic music performances, attendees were treated to world-class stage production, towering art installations, immersive activations and experiences, live performers, and more.

This year brought many changes to the EDC we’ve known and loved, from venue layout tweaks and new experiences to dazzling new stage designs. Most, if not all, were welcome and delivered on promises to improve “bottlenecks,” “crowd flow,” and “overcrowding.”

Whether you’re a festival veteran returning to old stomping grounds or an EDC newbie, the United States’ preeminent mega rave is a big undertaking. Still, it keeps us coming back again and again.

Skyler Greene for Insomniac Events.

Vibes: B

With musical performances running nearly 24 hours each day somewhere on site, EDC Las Vegas certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. However, the collective energy of the crowds at this year’s festival astounded us despite daytime temperatures above 95 degrees.

Our fellow campers at Camp EDC went all out for the Homecoming Party on day zero, and we were met with even more positive energy once inside the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

Minimal pushing, plenty of “excuse me’s,” and the welcoming attitude of our fellow ravers made this year’s festival one of the most “PLUR” EDCs in recent memory. We had so much fun connecting with music lovers from all over the world.

Attendees showed out in their fest best, and EDC’s tagline, “All are welcome here,” truly felt in one of the most colorful and widespread celebrations of self-expression in the scene.

This is what makes EDC unique. Even though Insomniac is a multi-million dollar company, and EDC Las Vegas is a highly visible, corporately sponsored event, it remains remarkably true to “the rave.”

The large crowds and intense partying with EDC can sometimes be overwhelming, but overall, we felt safe and respected. Our team did not personally encounter any particularly bad vibes all weekend.

Though arrest numbers were up from one year ago, Las Vegas’ KTNV reports that these totals were still much lower compared to the festival’s earlier years. The Las Vegas Metro Police Department declared that “no major incidents or injuries were reported during the entire weekend.” We felt the vibes were to be expected, but nothing truly above and beyond. 

Courtesy: Insomniac Events.

Production: B+

EDC Las Vegas 2024 showcased six redesigned stages: kineticFIELD, circuitGROUNDS, neonGARDEN, stereoBLOOM, wasteLAND, and bionicJUNGLE. Almost across the board, the new stage designs met or exceeded the caliber of production we’ve come to expect at EDC Las Vegas. 

The cornerstone of EDC’s 2024 production endeavors was the regal kineticFIELD main stage, which took on a cathedral look, complete with LED stained glass windows that displayed each of its previous design iterations—a fittingly “full circle” homage to a fan-favorite design from ten years ago.

Elsewhere around the festival grounds, wasteLAND’s industrial look towered over fist-pumping hard dance fans, steroBLOOM’s new LED screens looked out of this world, and bionicJUNGLE took us deep into the rainforest with faux vines and foliage.

Another significant stage change was neonGARDEN’s return to the megastructure. This year marked the first time the house and techno hotspot had been enclosed with a roof since 2021.

We were excited about this change, but it also meant neonGARDEN was smaller this year. We missed the thunderous presence showcased in previous designs.

This year, circuitGROUNDS’s production elements were also slightly downsized, with its usual arena of LED screens wrapping noticeably less far around the crowd. We couldn’t give this a higher score because of the apparent reduction in production and scale at some stages. 

Elaborate drone shows returned, much to the delight of festivalgoers below. EDC’s famous nightly fireworks display once again made attendees stop on the spot and crane their necks toward the sky. Sound bleed between even the closest of stages was never a problem.

Courtesy: Insomniac Events.

Music: B

EDC set conflicts are always tough. With so many huge artists on one roster, seeing every act you’d hope for is impossible. Couple that with lengthy walk times between many stages, and you’re better off picking a few can’t-miss sets and just going with the flow.

The collective talent at EDC is truly second to none, and you’re bound to discover new sounds and artists as you bounce from stage to stage. However, we did feel that some B2Bs and surprise sets lacked a “wow factor” found in previous editions.

Top-billed EDC debuts grabbed our attention in particular, including sets at circuitGROUNDS from Peggy Gou, Four Tet and special guest Fred again.., who delivered another instant classic DJ set with unreleased tunes and his trademark live instrumentation.

Carl Cox and Nicole Moudaber were unmissable as usual, building classic techno soundscapes both solo and in their anticipated B2B to close out night one at neonGARDEN. 

Sara Landry’s performance marked a big moment for hard techno, after she was moved from neonGARDEN to circuitGROUNDS earlier in the week due to expected high attendance.

Over the course of the weekend, our team also enjoyed performances from Subtronics—solo on kineticFIELD and a darling B2B with Level Up—and additionally wonky bass sounds from ATLiens and LSDREAM.

Other highlights came from DJ Snake’s kineticFIELD performance, during which he gave EDC his vote over the oft-lauded Tomorrowland; Zedd’s album announcement at kineticFIELD; Club Space’s neonGARDEN takeover with Jamie Jones and Loco Dice; Alison Wonderland’s Rynobus techno set; and WORSHIP’s sunrise cosmicMEADOW performance.

Courtesy: Insomniac Events.

Venue: B

Of course, venue layout was the biggest change at EDC Las Vegas this year. WasteLAND, bassPOD, quantumVALLEY, neonGARDEN, and bionicJUNGLE all changed locations and Downtown EDC found a new, centrally located home.

We felt the new layout helped immensely with traffic flow and stage overcrowding. 

Let’s be clear: EDC is massive. Walking from stage to stage at EDC is consistently the most taxing of festival maneuvers we’ve faced, especially at peak attendance times. However, the changes in stage positioning made far better use of space inside the 1.5-mile racetrack.

Though there was still some hefty crowd bleed between circuitGROUNDS and bassPOD during the Saturday night headliners (Fred again.., Dom Dolla, Hedex, and Subtronics B2B Level Up), we were able to move throughout the venue much more freely overall. 

Having trance at quantumVALLEY and house and techno at neonGARDEN in close vicinity to eachother was also pleasantly convenient, especially for those in VIP, which had a joint section at both stages.

Downtown EDC’s central location seemed to make sense, art installations were beautiful, the new House of Dunkin’ art car experience was a case of well-crafted corporate sponsorship, and vendors and other activations were easy to find in their respective areas.

Only a handful of urban venues can even come close to handling an event of this size, and they’re certainly not building them much bigger than the speedway. As annual EDC attendance continues to swell, the new layout was a win that will hopefully help Insomniac maximize the venue for years to come.

Though bar lines were rarely long, we wished there were more refillable water stations throughout the venue. There were six total water stations, half of which were located in VIP. Lines weren’t too long, but having a few more water stations dispersed throughout the GA areas of the venue would have been very welcome.

VIP passes still made it easier to bounce between stages compared to GA. However, lines for VIP amenities were lengthy and the crowds inside VIP areas grew increasingly tight. Leaving VIP was a hassle at peak times, especially at circuit grounds with only one exit.

Courtesy: Insomniac Events.

Overall: B

In 2024, EDC Las Vegas again captured our hearts, from our EDC veterans to those on our team experiencing their first EDC. Organizers listened to widely publicized attendee feedback and came up with much-needed improvements to crowd control. 

After celebrating the company’s 30th birthday last year, Insomniac’s landmark leap into year 31 essentially went off without a hitch. We look forward to seeing how the Insomniac team meets new challenges as the festival grows.

The excitement and energy at the Las Vegas Motorspeedway and elsewhere around Sin City were palpable all week long, and the sheer size of Electric Daisy Carnival truly speaks to just how far electronic dance music has come, from the underground to the big-time. 

We were delighted to find that, at least with EDC Las Vegas, PLUR has come with it.

A perfect close to the weekend came at the Camp EDC afterparty on Monday, where ravers, still awake from the night prior, joined the night’s headlining DJs (Mau P, John Summit, Sara Landry, and more) to dance in the early morning sun.

As friends old and new traded stories, relaxed and played yard games, it was a starkly wholesome moment amidst the chaos of a weekend that we wouldn’t soon forget. It was raving to the fullest.

Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University with a passion for culture and fat basslines.

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