On June 18th, 2015, 10 of my friends and I piled into three cars shortly before midnight. Looking back on it now, we were crazy to make an overnight 12 hour drive, but the end prize was worth the utter exhaustion: Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas.
A dance music lover to my core, the journey to and experience at EDC were spiritual for me. Here’s a breakdown of Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2015.
What – EDC is the largest dance music festival in North America. With DJs of all EDM subgenres performing in one place, PLUR-preaching fans flock to EDC from all corners of the Globe.
Where – Held annually at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, EDC plays host to hundreds of thousands of people. Organizing company Insomniac turns the speedway into a nighttime playground equipped with six major stages, countless carnival rides and a plethora of interactive art pieces, among a million other fantastical things.
When – In recent years the three-day (really night) festival has taken place on the third weekend of June. The hours of EDC are “dusk to dawn” with opening sets starting nightly at 7 and the final performances not ending until 5:30 a.m.
My Favorite Sets:
1.) Calvin Harris – Say what you will about Calvin Harris and his journey into the mainstream, but the man knows how to put on a show. The number of hits Harris has produced is insane and he effortlessly plays each of his most popular songs while blending in other top hits of the moment. His Kinetic Field (mainstage set) was perfection from start to finish and he kept the crowd enthralled the whole time.
2.) Tiesto – I’ve had kind of a love-hate relationship with Tiesto since getting into dance music in 2011. But I have to admit, his 2015 EDC set was out of this world. Perhaps the most high-energy set I saw over the weekend (and yes, all the sets were high energy), Tiesto played beat-driven house and trap while throwing in an occasional rap or pop song to keep the audience on its toes. Tiesto has been in the business longer than most and he clearly still knows how to spin a fun and well-crafted set.
3.) DJ Snake – People don’t give DJ Snake enough credit. Known by most for his megahit “Turn Down for What,” French producer DJ Snake is far from a one hit wonder. Sure he played “Turn Down for What” and “Get Low,” but the trap DJ’s set had surprisingly mellow moments too as he threw in songs like Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” The set was fun and high energy while also being meticulously put together to keep the audience involved and active in the set. One of my favorite moments of the weekend was sitting down with the crowd of thousands and jumping up as “Get Low” dropped. Pure insanity.
Most Surprising Set:
Dash Berlin – The set that surprised me the most of the weekend was Dash Berlin’s. Sure I follow the Dutch DJ (DJs? I’ve done research and am still confused as to how many people are actually part of Dash Berlin) on various forms of social media, but truthfully, I’d never heard anything original. But Dash Berlin’s EDC set was pure magic. It was a blend of the most uplifting, PLUR, puppies and rainbows house music of the moment and some wisely-chosen top 40 songs (Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” and Wiz Khalifa’s “See you Again,” to name a couple). I haven’t been able to stop listening to the set since being back and now I am certainly diving deeper into what Dash Berlin has to offer musically.
Where I Should’ve Spent More Time:
EDC is giant, there’s literally no way to see everything if you plan on staying for more than five minutes of a set. Because of this, I missed out on some things…
The Cosmic Meadow – This stage is the first thing you see as you come into EDC. Towering flat screens that melt from mesmerizing tie dyes of colors to DJ-specific graphics, the Cosmic Meadow was the backdrop for many of EDC’s trap acts as well as crowd favorites Bass Nectar and Seven Lions. I did manage to see part of Yellow Claw, Seven Lions and Dillon Francis’ surprise night three sunrise set, along with pieces of whoever was playing when we walked in, but I didn’t spend nearly enough time at this glorious stage.
All the little stages – Like I said, this festival is huge, and because of this, there were a million smaller stages that I didn’t make it to. For example, there was neon-lighted boat that traveled around playing a number of genres (a surprise second set by Kaskade included) and there was a hip-hop stage where DJ Jazzy Jeff played the Fresh Price of Bel Air theme song for a mass of eager, “Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down.”rapping fans.
Prepare for massive shuttle lines – Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that EDC goers can buy shuttle passes that take them from the strip to the speedway without having to worry about DDs or finding parking. BUT, we had no idea how horrendous the shuttle lines would be the first day. My group allowed 2.5 hours to get in in time to see Afrojack. In the saddest (perhaps the only sad moment of my weekend aside from it ending) moment of my EDC, we missed my most favorite DJ, Afrojack, due to how long our shuttle line was. It took us almost as long to get back to our hotel the following morning after staying through the end of Ummet Ozcan’s sunrise set. The good news? The lines weren’t half as bad the second and third days. Instead of taking us 3-plus hours to get in and out, it only took us about 1/1.5.
Be ready for the heat – The first night that we walked out of our hotel, I almost turned around. The Las Vegas heat hits you like a massive hair dryer and doesn’t let up until well into the night/early morning. So, if you decide to make the journey to EDC, mentally prepare for the heat. Along with staying hydrated and dressing appropriately (which basically means naked).
Tips to Have the Best EDC Weekend Possible:
Be organized – Make your travel plans early. Know where you’re going to stay and how you’re going to get from your home to Vegas and then from your hotel, campground, etc. to the speedway. I was in a group of 15 and we stayed at the Mirage and took the LINQ shuttle all three days, which worked nicely for us.
Be organized inside the festival as well. If you’re in a large group, make sure you have a meeting spot for if anybody gets lost. Cell phone service wasn’t as horrible as we’d thought it would be, but we still made detailed plans of where we’d meet at which sets. Because of this, no one got lost and everyone had the best weekend possible.
Go to a pool party – Okay, I know sleep is at a premium during EDC weekend seeing as you’re raving from sun down to sun up, but if you can muster it, go to a pool party. A few of my friends and I were lucky enough to get into Porter Robinson’s pool party at the Marquee Dayclub on Sunday for free and it was SO much fun. We were all loopy from the lack of sleep, but it was 100% worth it to be feet away from Porter and see him throw down an amazing set.
EDC was perhaps the most amazing weekend of my life. I went with people that I love and saw some of my favorite producers in the most extreme and beautiful backdrop I’ve ever experienced. The crowd at EDC was (not to sound cliché) the PLURest of any festival I’ve been to and I really found that the statement, “everyone here is your friend,” held true. I wouldn’t change a moment of my time Under the Electric Sky and I can’t wait to go back.