Admit it – you hate the Electric Daisy Carnival. The candy bracelets, the furry boots, the PLUR! You were over all the pageantry long ago. Nothing gives you more anxiety than the thought of a massive overcrowded dance music festival filled with sixteen year olds in banana hammocks and lingerie dancing to commercialized electronic music.
What if I told you that you were wrong? That underneath all the superficial annoyances there really is an experience unable to be replicated anywhere else? Here’s how to make the experience actually fun for you and most of all here’s why EDC still matters and how to survive the debauchery.
Why It Matters
This year was EDC’s 20th anniversary and they sure as hell showed it. Each stage showed the attention to detail of a finely tuned exotic car. Not only looking amazing but sounding amazing as well. You might say I’ve been to a few clubs and festivals in my time and you can definitely say that I’m a huge sound whore. If I’m paying money to listen to music then the music better be delivered to my ears optimally without my having to camp out in the front row. Organizers spared no sonic expense; they placed speakers affixed to the stages as well as throughout the crowd so no matter where you stood you were able to hear the music clean and clear. I constantly found myself “dance-walking” between stages. Even the bass and the low frequencies could be absorbed way in the back as I tried to circumnavigate to my destination. This brings me to my first tip: Do yourself a favor and wear earplugs tuned for the festival life. Nothing blows more than waking up the next morning being hard of hearing as the music from your hotels’ pool party bleeds into your econo-suite. I lied. Waking up 10 years later and discovering you have tinnitus blows way more.
Now that we’ve gone over substance let’s talk about style. Like I said it was EDC’s 20th anniversary so every stage from the Bass Pod to the Cosmic Meadow was the most elaborate and decorated it has ever been. One standout was the hardstyle stage. Say what you will about the genre itself but the stage aka “Wasteland” was modeled after a post-apocalyptic dystopian San Francisco akin to what the city by the bay must have looked like after the most recent Godzilla film or maybe just three years from now when the tech bubble bursts. Every stage was carefully crafted to fit the aesthetic of the music. LED walls, flamethrowers, fireworks, acrobats, dancers, fireworks, strobe lights, and oh did I mention fireworks? Apparently EDC 2016 had the 2nd biggest fireworks display anywhere ever with the first being the 2008 Summer Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. Do yourself a favor and check out each stage for at least a few minutes. Despite your own personal musical taste each stage offers a spectacle all its own.
Your favorite genre is out in full force
Almost every type of electronic music under the sun is represented in some way. You can go to EDC and have any kind of time you want. Both old school and new school heads will rejoice. There’s legendary sets like Caspa b2b Rusko, Armand Van Helden, and Eric Prydz and new up and coming superstars like NGHTMRE, Hannah Wants, and Coyote Kisses. Wherever you fall on the spectrum from elderly bitter techno-head to main stage basic bro to trance4lyfe kandi kid, The Electric Sky has got you covered. The best part of most music festivals of this size is always the eclectic mix of talent spread out over the raver landscape. If I get bored of dubstep I can go listen to techno. If I get bored of techno I can go listen to trap. If I get bored of trap I can go listen to psy-trance? Then again I was bored of trap 3 years ago. If you dig electronic music in any of its forms then this is simply the place to be.
How to Survive
Invest in Your Hotel Room
Before and after the festival you are going to want to be as comfortable as possible (be sure to sleep in an actual bed each night). If you end up squeezing 10 people into a room with one king bed, you’re going to have a bad time. Make your lodging your oasis in the desert rather than just another sand dune. Nothing beats laying at the pool or jumping in the jacuzzi with a stiff cocktail while recovering from the night before.
Attend EDC in a small group
Nothing is more annoying than trying to bounce from stage to stage pushing a train of people. EDC is crowded (like 100,000 people crowded!) and having to keep track of everyone whilst walking between stages can be an absolute NGHTMRE, especially after you’ve all had a few *ahem* …beers. Also don’t be afraid to set a hard meeting point and go off and watch a set by yourself. This can be a great way to connect with the music or get into a DJ you’ve never seen play before.
Wear Your Gym Shoes
You’ll be doing a lot of walking and dancing in the heat so lightweight breathable workout shoes are clutch.
This is a big one. Make sure you get the hell out of dodge by 3:30 am. Just wait until the closing artists come spin in your town. I’m telling you it is not worth it staying until the sun comes up. There are only 2 freeways leading to and from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway which creates a massive traffic jam. Some friends of mine were stuck in traffic for 4 hours trying to get out of the venue. Believe it or not, an Uber ride back to the strip is only about $25-$30 so try and avoid driving yourselves at all costs.
That’s it. Now you know. An amazing time can be had at EDC no matter how old you get if you follow these simple rules. I hope I was able to break any preconceived notions or anxieties you had. The crowd is not all teenagers giving each other light shows; the music is not just “Now That’s What I Call EDM Vol. 19”; and if you do it right, then Vegas does not have to be your own personal Vietnam.