The seasons were not kind to those in the Northeast this past year, delivering one of the coldest and most brutal winters yet. Since the end of August, ravers and EDM lovers alike would have to wait nearly nine long months to once again dance their heart out in the warm summer sun. Alas, this year’s Memorial Day Weekend came around and ravers from all over the tri-state area and beyond finally had the opportunity to celebrate the start of the summer with Insomniac’s third edition of its Electric Daisy Carnival New York.
Returning to MetLife Stadium, where it originally started two years ago, the festival was now bigger and better than ever with this new decked-out stage productions such as the Owl at the kineticFIELD, iconic carnival rides and creative art installations. Over the course of the two days, approximately 100,000 festivalgoers gathered at the Giants and Jets stadium to get a taste of what it was like to be under the electric sky. With over 70 talented artists from a variety of genres that ranged from commercial progressive house to tech house and everything in between, Insomniac did not fail to deliver on a superb and diverse festival experience. Now that the festival has passed, let us take some time to relive its moments before looking ahead at what the rest of the summer awaits for us.
Day 1 was an adventure in and of itself with a problem that not even Insomniac or Pasquale Rotella could prevent: pouring rain. Earlier in the day around 3pm skies seemed dim as rain clouds started to swarm the skies above the festival grounds. Things looked to be getting better once 3LAU took the stage at the kineticFIELD at 3:30 as the sun started to come out. This however, would only last as long as the duration of the young producer’s killer set full of mash-ups, remixes and originals. As 3LAU started to close his set with an emotional vocal of his hit track “How You Love Me,” rain started to drizzle over the crowd and I received a warning on my iPhone about a flash flood. Soon enough, the drizzle turned into a downpour and festivalgoers were rushing away from the stages, looking for cover in the stadium, under the art displays, or anything else that looked like possible shelter (including some of the carnival rides). It wasn’t long until stages had to be closed down with officials calling for attendees to move into the stadium to wait out the storm. Waiting, for many people, felt like an eternity, but in about 15 minutes the stages were up and running again and so was the festival. People immediately flocked to the circuitGROUNDS stage as the rain started to subside and Alvaro took over. The same occurred at the kineticFIELD where Blasterjaxx started their set. The attendees who sought shelter in the neonGARDEN, the only tented stage, had the opportunity to listen to John Digweed spin the decks while staying dry, and those who stayed in the stadium at the cosmicMEADOW saw Oliver take the stage and perform.
As the rain turned into a mist and slowly into clear skies, life became vibrant and alive again among the festival grounds, almost as if it never stormed at all. From that point on, the rest of the day was smooth sailing with acts like Cedric Gervais, Martin Garrix, and Krewella tearing up the kineticFIELD, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Tommy Trash, and R3hab playing the circuitGROUNDS, Destructo and DJ Snake throwing down at the cosmicMEADOW, and finally legends Loco Dice and Carl Cox spinning at the neonGARDEN. The hardest decision of the day came at the very end when goers had to choose which artist to see close out. The kineticFIELD would end with DJ Mag’s #1 DJ Hardwell while the circuitGROUNDS featured Dutch sensation Afrojack. Meanwhile the neonGARDEN would feature both tech-house legends Carl Cox and Loco Dice spin back to back, while Bassnectar closed out the cosmicMEADOW with his signature bass-filled dubstep. Having seen all the acts before but Bassnectar, the decision was pretty crystal clear (although leaving the neonGARDEN while Cox was spinning was a real struggle). Walking into the cosmicMEADOW, you could feel how strong the bass was as it vibrated from your chest throughout the rest of your body. Bassnectar played a phenomenal set full of both old tracks and new tracks from his soon to come album “Noise vs. Beauty.” As listeners immersed themselves into his bass heavy set, they became unaware of both the space and time around them and soon enough it was 11pm. And just like that, day 1 was a wrap.
Unlike day 1, day 2 had no issues with the weather whatsoever with the sun shining both high and strong over MetLife stadium. It absolutely must be noticed that Insomniac was on point with their structure of the festival. Entrance into the festival grounds was secure, but also flowed smoothly. Medical tents were placed at various locations around the grounds while paramedics, police officers, and other officials strolled through to make sure everything went according to plan. Hunger was definitely not an issue as there were various food vendors, from cheesesteaks to chicken tenders, all over the festival and free water stations to keep attendees hydrated. Pasquale Rotella and the people behind Insomniac really did everything they could to keep their fans healthy and safe.
In terms of music, one of the more interesting things that occurred was the changing of Norwegian trance artist Orjan Nilsen’s set time. Originally scheduled to play at 2:30pm at the circuitGROUNDS, Pasquale Rotella rescheduled his set an hour earlier to avoid conflict with fellow trance artist Andrew Rayel who was also playing at 2:30pm at the kineticFIELD. What does this mean? Pasquale Rotella LISTENS to the fans. After hearing the cries of disappointed fans that would have to decide which trance act to see, Pasquale decided to create the solution for them and avoid conflict. Good guy Pasquale, huh?
Like day 1, day 2 was stacked with a multitude of gifted performers including the likes of Ummet Ozcan, Headhunterz, Thomas Gold, Borgore, New World Punx, and Adventure Club who rocked the kineticFIELD, while Quintino, Yellow Claw, Bassjackers, Sander van Doorn, Martin Garrix, and Calvin Harris got things going at the circuitGROUNDS. Continuing with the more underground tech and deep-house sound from the day before, the neonGARDEN featured artists MK, Skream, Damian Lazarus, Dusky, Green Velvet, and Tale Of Us. The cosmicMEADOW featured an interesting array of artists from a variety of genres including araabMUZIK, GTA, a live performance from British band Rudimental, Belgian duo 2ManyDJS (who played one of the grooviest sets I have ever heard), and Boys Noize. Again, the hardest decision of the day came with choosing which act to close with. Being one of EDM’s biggest names, Tiesto would finish out the kineticFIELD, while Size Head Steve Angello would close the circuitGROUNDS. Over in the neonGARDEN, Claude VonStroke would close with some classic house and techno, while in the cosmicMEADOW Nero would be performing a live DJ set for the first time in almost a year. That fact alone made my decision to see Nero fairly easy. The trio delivered an intense set full of classics like “Promises” and new tracks like “Satisfy” which is set to be released on their new album. Like Bassnectar, Nero’s set went by quickly and left fans chanting for more. Nevertheless, Nero’s set was more than enough to end the festival in epic fashion.
Overall, this year’s edition of EDC New York was easily the best yet. Pasquale and his team at Insomniac clearly listened to the fans over the past two years and made adjustments as needed to bring the best festival possible to the northeast. The colorful art displays beautifully decorated the grounds as they lit up at night, while the outstanding stage production brought listeners to another dimension. Carnival rides spun, shook, and twirled festivalgoers throughout the weekend, while performance artists and acrobats interacted with attendees among the grounds. For those in the northeast EDC NY was a perfect way to kick off the summer. And for a few of those dedicated ravers, it was a nice little preview for Insomniac’s final destination: Las Vegas.