EditorialMusic Festivals

Five Lessons I Learned At My First EDC Las Vegas In 2024

Alex Perez for Insomniac Events.

Twenty-four hours before EDC Las Vegas begins, the buzz around the nation’s largest rave is palpable, even thousands of miles away in Ohio, where I begin my trek west.

My tightly packed flight from Columbus to Las Vegas is filled with two generations of music lovers, some young ravers headed to Electric Daisy Carnival, and others veteran concertgoers making a different music pilgrimage —“Deadheads” on their way to the opening weekend of Dead & Company’s residency at the Sphere.

As these two cohorts (both rocking a healthy amount of tie-dye) mingle and trade stories, Vegas feels like the place for music fans. This weekend would be massive, especially for a first-time EDC attendee like myself.

I’m always learning things at festivals. Things about myself, music, and preparing for the next festival—and for life moving forward. At my most significant festival undertaking yet, this again rang true. 

Read on for five personal takeaways from an EDM Maniac’s first EDC Las Vegas.

Alex Perez for Insomniac Events.

1. Wear Comfortable Shoes And Stretch Your Legs

EDC’s speedway home is enormous. Combined with the adjacent Camp EDC, the festival occupies an over 213-acre (9 million-square-foot) footprint. This means a lot of walking on hard asphalt—over 45,000 steps on Sunday alone, according to my questionably accurate iPhone step counter.

However obvious, it’s worth reiterating the following advice: don’t compromise on comfortable footwear, get a workout in the days before, and stretch before and after your big night(s) out.

You’ll work up a sweat on the dancefloor, but at EDC, weaving through crowds while walking from stage to stage can also be surprisingly tiring.

Inching in and out of stages with the masses, shorter baby steps were in far better supply than full strides. This, especially without stretching, meant my legs were tight as all get out by the end of the weekend, and my go-to dance moves were more labored.

To me, especially for those who camped in daytime temperatures exceeding 95 degrees, the simple advice to take care of your body has rarely been more pertinent than at EDC Las Vegas.

Keiki-Lani Knudsen for Insomniac Events.

2. Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Attracting more than 525,000 attendees over three days, EDC Las Vegas brings together electronic music fans from all walks of life.

Ever true to “the rave,” it’s one of the most widespread celebrations of self-expression I’ve witnessed. From elaborate costumes, makeup, and bondage to Kandi, 90s-era JNCO jeans, and everything in between, attendees step out in their festival best.

Even if fancy outfits aren’t your thing, EDC ravers’ unabashed creativity and expression are a beautiful reminder of dance music’s foundational inclusivity. All are truly welcome here.

Beyond a sturdy pair of shoes, prioritizing comfort means being yourself. EDC is your time to dress however you want to dress and be whoever you want to be.

Orhun Uygur for Insomniac Events.

3. Budget Lots Of Time For Travel And To Explore

With reported travel times exceeding 2 hours on Saturday, simply arriving at the speedway during EDC is no small feat, especially if you’re traveling from the Strip. Just entering the gates and getting to the first set of your night can take a long time while at peak entry. 

This makes it wise to budget plenty of time to arrive on site.

But perhaps more importantly, there is just so much to do. Even if you avoided the musical performances, it would still be tough to experience everything the festival offers in just one weekend.

As an EDC rookie, every place I roamed around the festival grounds, I noticed something I hadn’t before—flaming art installations, costumed characters, drag shows, games, weddings, and more. It’s side quest heaven, so be sure to explore if that’s your thing.

Mark Van der Aa for Insomniac Events.

4. Revel In The Spectacle

Few moments live up to the pre-festival hype, and first, walk out of the grandstand concourse to see the massive speedway below. I spent plenty of Friday gawking at the scale of the festival, and I’m consistently humbled when I see aerial photos of large events, frequently searching to pick out my place in the crowd.

Still, with so much happening right in front of your face at EDC, it can be easy to forget to zoom out and appreciate its magnitude. In my eyes, this is sometimes done best from further back in the crowd—though riding the rail for your favorite artists is always great.

Taking in performances from the back allows one to look out over the dancing masses and observe the whole party in motion and the festival’s larger-than-life production. Just drink it all in.

EDC’s nightly fireworks display is a built-in success on this front, never failing to offer a reset and a mindful moment of appreciation for where you are.

5. Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Little to no sleep, lots of walking, and hot weather—three pillars of many Camp EDC testimonies this year—meant that my first EDC, much like all other festivals before it, wasn’t without challenges.

The marathon weekend left me admittedly exhausted by Sunday, still searching for the highlight of my trip and trying to shake off some closing jitters. But there’s always something about the last day.

Video footage from the star-studded final Camp EDC afterparty on Monday morning has been circulated on social media for some time now. But for me and others I talked to, the moment wasn’t special simply because Mau P, John Summit, and Sara Landry were gathered on stage.

As Mau P cued up RÜFÜS DU SOL’s “Innerbloom” for a remarkably wholesome swath of ravers, swapping stories, dancing, and milling about in the morning sun, I was reminded of an anecdote from early dance music journalist and rave documentarian Kirk Field in his book, Rave New World: Confessions of a Raving Reporter.

“…There must’ve been around 500 stay-awakes, raving on the road around parked cars and lounging around in groups on the grass,” Field describes Clapham Common, a park and afterparty hotspot in South London during the scene’s 1990s glory days. “Some stood sipping pints of lager, and girls skipped and danced barefoot in the grass like infants on a school trip.”

In the final moments of my EDC caper, I felt something akin to the classic rave vibe Field describes above, and I was reminded why I love our scene so much. Even if you’ve had a challenging festival, it’s never too late to have your best day yet.

Written by
Peter Volpe

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

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