Vegas was hot his weekend, but the 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival was cool. More than anywhere else in the world, people come to Las Vegas to escape themselves, to make time seem infinite, to do things they simply can’t do anywhere else. And at 5:24 a.m. Saturday inside the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, over a hundred thousand people were filled with music and self expression. The joyous electronic dance music fans had one of those moments they’ll remember their entire lives.
Sunrise DJ sets were just one of the many reasons that Electric Daisy Carnival, created by Pasquale Rotella’s Insomniac Events, brought in 345,000 revelers. The spectacular $35 million production, which included light shows, fireworks, theme-park rides, a wedding chapel and dancing clowns who looked like they were the stars of some future fairy-tale paradise, featured DJs including Avicii, Knife Party, Nicky Romero, Steve Aoki, Nervo, Eric Prydz, Carl Cox and Fatboy Slim.
But this event, which concluded on Monday morning, was really about discovery. Although for me, my legs also discovered days of dancing comes at a cost. This pain is a right of passage. Just one of the souvenirs I brought home. For those who missed it, there were seven stages offering every kind of house music you could imagine, and set decoration was as much of an attraction as any DJ. The Kinetic Field stage boasted a 100-foot-tall owl in an Alice in Wonderland-like paradise with enormous mushrooms and similarly oversized flowers. And, of course, Rotella likes to tell the EDC crowd that, “You are the headliner.” His goals are inclusion and self-expression, and you couldn’t glance in any direction without seeing creative costumes or young men and women happy to have to an excuse to wear only undergarments or sleepwear.
Point is, no DJ is bigger than the experience of EDC. And one of the joys of walking from stage to stage is hearing new talent, like Crisis Era, a duo whose hardstyle set captivated us and delayed by a good half hour our journey to see Manufactured Superstars take us into the Saturday morning sunrise.
Right before we stumbled upon Crisis Era, we had what we thought might have been our most satisfying electronic dance music moment ever. It was 3:55 a.m and Dada Life was at Kinetic Field blasting their “Happy Violence” club banger. The duo looked like tiny creatures about to be swallowed by the stage’s huge owl, and gargantuan projection screens showed an animation of a finger playing each note of the song’s bouncy hook. We looked around and saw thousands of people getting their fourth and fifth winds, with many of them singing along like the night was just beginning.
But EDC’s greatest trick is bringing peak after peak, and Manufactured Superstars’ Beatport Brad and Beatport Shawn blew the wings off everything else we saw on Day 1. They did what they do best, and what they always seem to do: mash rock, soul and funk with the kind of rousing house moments that are in every Calvin Harris or Tiesto smash. Manufactured Superstars are from Denver, but they understand exactly why people come to Vegas. So they played “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Die Young” and “Diamonds” and “We Are Young” as they reminded the crowd over and over again that the sun would rise at any moment, but also that there was no reason to do anything but keep raging until the daylight.
Now if you’re coming from LA, A NOTE OF WARNING. Although the ride to Vegas from LA was filled with 100 thousand car driving revelers who decorated their vehicles in a parade of creative solidarity, the ride home was more of 7- long hours of Insomniacs saying are we home yet. If you can fly there you will fly all weekend.
Be A Daisy