Imagine a place where an electric vibe runs through your body fueled by the thumping bass of music, matching the beating of your heart. A state of trance slowly begins to take over control. Imagine a place where lasers, fire, and world class lighting production coupled with hundreds of theatrical performers turn the night into day. A place where for three days, 400,000 strangers became one family. A family that you could just hug and embrace at any given moment, knowing everything will be okay. As the sun sets, a cool breeze blows: it lifts and awakens you. You adjust your eyesight and try to wrap your mind around the world around you. You realize you’re home. Welcome to the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas.
The 18th annual Electric Daisy Carnival returned once again to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this year in true Insomniac style. Hosting the EDM Biz conference days just a few days leading up to the main event, Insomniac did not spare a single moment to kick-start the festivities. From 7 PM to 5:30 AM for three days (June 20, 21st, & 22nd) and welcoming over 400,000 festival-goers from 40 different countries and all 50 states across the nation, Insomniac brought some of the best production and musical acts together for a celebration unlike any other. Growing from last year, it’s safe to say that everyone was treated to something much bigger and so much better. From the beautiful stage setups to their intricate designs, visual effect productions, and talent all came together to celebrate life and the dance music culture.
Insomniac never fails to bring in some of the most sought-out talent from all over the world. From artists like Tiesto, Kaskade, Armin Van Buuren, Above and Beyond to Audiofreq to Dubfire to Simon Patterson (to name a few), the musical spectrum that Insomniac crafted for this year was far and wide. Whether it was hearing 3LAU end his set with an acoustic version of “How You Love Me” (Friday), watching DJ Isaac & Darren Styles turn up the BPM at Insomniac’s own Basscon stage for a hardstyle performance (Saturday), to R3hab for making us feel like we needed just that (Sunday); the lineup had a bit of everything for everyone, catering to dance music’s diverse audience. From house, trance, drum ‘n’ bass, trap, techno, dubstep, hardstyle, there was still much more was present throughout the weekend at the various different stages located around the speedway. If you’ve heard it, if it makes you move, you best believe you’re bound to have heard and encountered it at EDC.
This year Insomniac returned with 8 themed stages: Kinetic Field, Cosmic Meadow, Circuit Grounds, Neon Garden, BassPod, BassCon, Stage 7 by 7Up, and the Discovery Stage. Also the Wide Awake Art Cart and the popular BoomBox was a centralized stage, which hosted some smaller crowds at the speedway.
Kinetic Field this year was categorized as one of the largest stages built to-date for Insomniac. Boosting approximately 440 feet wide and 80 feet tall, the gigantic “cathedral” was layered out by a large organ where DJs were stationed, surrounded by two larger than life owls overlooking the crowd. You might have caught them as their eyes pierced into the souls of the audience. With water fountains and lighting panels bringing the “Cathedral” to life, Kinetic Field was truly a religious experience we’ll never forget.
The Circuit Grounds dome made its triumphant return once again this year doubling in size with over 10,000 square feet of video panels which descended a-top the dome’s ceiling into the crowd below for a truly remarkable visual experience. Measuring at approximately 400 feet long, the dome featured more than 750 assorted lighting features and lasers that can be easily said to be quite a success within the crowd favorites. For the crowd that got to witness Eric Prydz’s “Laser Beam” experience, you know what we’re talking about.
Cosmic Meadow was not left out of the upgraded expansion treatment given to the rest of the stages. Doubling in size, this stage was another major accomplishment that overtook the festival by storm this year. It was hard to miss due to the positioning of the stage right when you walk down the grandstands through the main entrance of the speedway. The Cosmic Meadow’s energy was a crowd favorite and superseded everyone’s expectations. For those that were looking for the “underground” vibe, Cosmic Meadow brought the “underground” to the forefront.
The Basscon Stage theme is one that we truly enjoyed witnessing ever since it’s debut last year. This was Insomniac’s own Hard Dance stage. This year, a post-apocalyptic Cyclops took over the stage, housing the artists in it’s mouth. Look closely and you would have seen your favorite DJ jumping up and down to those fast hardstyle beats. Surrounding the stage were 26 large graffiti-stained steel containers with Insomniac logo and messages, as well as crushed automobiles for that authentic “apocalyptic” feel. The stage was also home to a variety of different acts like Carnage, who played a special hardstyle set, and Andrew Rayel who took us on an epic trance journey.
The BassPod stage played homage to the thunderous energy of the crowd. A beaming pyramid that could be seen behind Circuit Grounds often looked like a teleportation portal of sorts with its mystifying outlines. Stage 7 by 7UP was a treat for many this year; incorporating an interactive layout where headliners could walk up on a deck overlooking the crowd and artist below, a disco ball seemed be the centralized piece that worked well along with the led panels that surrounded the stage for a more intimate feel.
Aside from elaborate stages, production, and talent: a wide arrangement of art structures was spread around the speedway layout once again this year. Giant mushrooms, the world famous electric daisy, bamboo city, hug life stations, and a 3D backlight gallery were just some of the 20+ art installations that added on to the electrical experience only found at EDC. Just like any other carnival, the festival featured approximately 30 carnival rides for everyone’s enjoyment for free which (besides a short wait for some of them). The return of the wedding chapel this year was one of our personal highlights as we witnessed a few couples take that large step to proclaim their commitment to one another (about 70 legal weddings took place this year according to Insomniac). We also saw a lot of friends reaffirming their friendship amongst other smiling spaces.
As the 4th of July weekend comes upon us, it’s hard to look at your local pyrotechnics show and be content with it. One can agree there’s nothing like a good 4-6 minute fireworks show that only happens at EDC while an artist is throwing down a set at one of the stages. It’s truly something that can only be experienced ‘under the electric sky’.
At the end of it all, it really comes down to the people. This year the space and layout to accommodate the growing crowd was noticeable, as the capacity grew. Whether it was someone’s first time attending or a veteran returning, there was no shortage of the amount of unity we all felt at any given night. The costumes, kandi, and totems were in full effect. It takes a large amount of time and creativity that can only go into a prestige event like EDC. EDC for us and for a large majority of others is a getaway, a getaway from the hardships and monotony of our daily lives. It’s not often you can go deep into a world where you don’t feel judged, or upset, or can just get a token of appreciation for a kind act. For that, we truly are grateful that year after year the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas comes around and reassures us that everything will be okay, that at the end of the day we are just grown up kids enjoying life and what it has to offer.
We must give a huge thank you to Pasquale Rotella and the Insomniac team for making all of this happen. It’s been an amazing experience getting to witness this year’s EDC come together and getting to witness all the hard work that everyone puts into making this mystifying world happen. Also to everyone who contributed to making this such a memorable EDC. From hearing your personal stories, to trading kandi with us, to even offering us a small gesture like offering us water, we look forward to seeing what the rest of the 2014 holds. Till then we’ll be on the road to the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2015. Seems so far away, but we know we’ll all meet again.
As 3LAU closed off his set with this line, we truly feel that it sums up the EDC experience this year: “You get what you give, that’s the simple truth. So, just lend me your hand and I’ll give you someone to hold onto.”
Until then, keep smiling. Remember: although EDC may be over, the spirit of EDC lies within us forever. We can’t wait to see you all again next year… under the electric sky!
-Eddy Leon, Staff Writer