Initially, I was bummed that electronic dance music event producer Insomniac had moved their infamous summer festival, the Electric Daisy Carnival, from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I even considered staying home. I’m so glad I didn’t, however, because now I can say this…
The 15th annual Electric Daisy Carnival was the best-produced musical event I’ve had the pleasure of attending, and it was also the best weekend of my life.
The “massive” brought estimated crowds of 240,000 people to the racetrack throughout the course of the weekend, decked out in the tightest and shortest of neon and metallic attire, plastic beaded “kandi” bracelets, fuzzy platform boots, gloves with finger lights that some crafty attendees managed to sneak past the security checks, and of course, the biggest of smiles. Between the concertgoers themselves, free carnival rides, gigantic light and art installations, and the pounding beat of the music, the atmosphere was simply infectious. In addition to amazing music, peace, love, unity, and respect (or PLUR, an acronym that ravers have coined) were definitely the theme of the weekend, and energy coursed throughout my body from start to finish each day, even as the sun began to rise at 4:30 each morning!
We began our EDC experience on Friday at the largest stage in North America, the Kinetic Field, with a rhythmic progressive house set from Dirty South, producer of the hit single Phazing. He was the perfect opener for the evening’s headliner, the world-renowned DJ Tiesto, who blasted darker house beats from the main stage’s speakers and kept the crowd cheering for two solid hours while dropping crowd favorites such as C’Mon, his collaboration with producer Diplo. Steve Angello, part of the well-known trio Swedish House Mafia, took over the stage after him and kept the crowd alive with fan favorites such as his own hit single Knas. The concert couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, and as I left during Sander van Doorn’s set, I couldn’t wait for the next night to start!
I thought Friday’s music was good, but nothing could have prepared me for the next two nights of insanity! We began our evening at Kinetic Field with one of Paris Hilton’s favorite DJs, the dirty Dutch superstar Afrojack, whose collaboration with Pitbull and Ne-Yo, Give Me Everything, just stole the #1 spot on American Top 40 charts. As my friends and I spun around high above the gigantic crowd on the Yoyo swings as his popular single Take Over Control blasted loud and wide, I knew we were in for a special treat.
Italian sensation Benny Benassi took control of the turntables after Afrojack wrapped up and played one of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever heard, dropping a remix of Katy Perry’s E.T., his collaboration with Chris Brown, Beautiful People, and his newer anthem, House Music. Benassi even managed to surprise us all by dropping some bass-heavy dubstep at the end of his set – the crowd went absolutely wild! I was in a state of pure bliss from start to finish, and my heart still races every time I listen to the recording of his set. Other highlights of Saturday included Dutch producer DJ Chuckie, who was beyond excited about the amount of LA pride present at the festival, German hard electro star Boys Noize, and trance superstars Above & Beyond. Check out their new record Sun & Moon for a beautiful upbeat and exciting track!
The festival ended with a bang early Monday morning. Swedish superstar Avicii kicked my night off with a melodic and dreamy progressive house set, playing some of my favorites like Le7els and his remix of Armin van Buuren’s Drowning. 19-year-old rising star Alesso played a brief interlude set afterwards featuring his smash hit Pressure before giving way to what was the most amazing set I’ve seen in my lifetime by the infamous Swedish House Mafia, comprised of Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell. For the first (and only) time all weekend, the Kinetic Field was COMPLETELY packed, which undoubtedly contributed to the most amazing sense of energy I’ve felt during any concert. Laser beams darted around the crowd while heart-shaped fireworks exploded overhead and parachute jumpers drifted peacefully back down to Earth from the skies above. The house trio dropped electronic anthems like their hit from last year, One, and their newest single Save the World – featured singer John Martin graced the festival with his presence as he belted out the melody live from the stage! The live vocals took the experience to a whole new level, and I was sure that I was experiencing what heaven must be like. Fortunately for the crowd, dirty Dutch DJ Laidback Luke seamlessly took over the stage after Swedish House Mafia’s departure and kept the crowd going with one of the most diverse sets of the weekend, effortlessly transitioning between house hits like his own Timebomb, moombahton, heavy metal (he played Chop Suey – what a throwback!), and of course some dubstep.
As my friends and I said goodbye to each other and to the Speedway for one last time, I couldn’t help but smile as I reflected upon the electrifying memories that I’ll be sure to treasure for the rest of my life. One thing is for certain, though – come the end of June 2012, you’ll be able to find me dancing to the beat at the 16th Electric Daisy Carnival in the official new home to electronic dance music, Las Vegas. Be sure to check it out – the trek from Los Angeles is more than worth it! I’ll see you there!