This November Insomniac‘s EDC Orlando entered its 5th year and went bigger than ever. With the renovated Citrus Bowl finally complete, EDC was able to use the venue to its fullest. The entrance lines were streamlined and the the festival featured 3 awesome stages. Of course all the talk was about the debut of the miniturized version of Las Vegas’ Crystal Village mainstage, which still felt massive and wowed attendees with impressive pyrotechnics, lights, and water effects. This stage will now travel the county to each satellite EDC event in 2015. Perhaps the biggest surprise was Circuit Grounds, which finally got the megastructure treatment and made EDC Orlando 2015 the only festival in the Southeast with such a stage besides Ultra Music Festival. Our seasoned festival veterans were there to report on the most life changing sets that went down at Tinker Field this year.
1. Alison Wonderland
Delivering an impressive, and buzz-worthy, set at the Circuit Grounds, Alison Wonderland may have stolen the show at EDC Orlando. Her string-heavy and orchestral take on Duke Dumont’s “Ocean Drive” kicked things off strong and the Australian DJ and producer’s melodic trap sounds made for one of the freshest, and most exciting, performances of the festival. With her trusty bottle of Grey Goose prominently at her side, Alison Wonderland expertly worked the crowd as she dropped her own hits like “I Want U” and “U Don’t Know.” However, by premiering her unreleased remix of the Justin Bieber smash “What Do You Mean,” the relative newcomer provided one of the most talked about moments of the festival. The remix was signature Alison Wonderland, and worked to whip the crowd into a frenzy, while her emotional reaction to the overwhelmingly positive response further charmed the audience. By the time she dropped a “Hotline Bling” and “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” mashup, its safe to say everyone in the audience was ready to take a trip down the rabbit hole with Alison Wonderland.
2. The Magician
Appearing on the “underground” heavy Neon Garden stage, The Magician had probably one of the most dance-able and just plain fun sets at EDC Orlando. Sandwiched between a slew of trance acts and heavier, deeper sounds, The Magician’s repertoire of nu-disco and future house inspired tracks got even the most tired festival-goer on their feet late on the second day of the festival. The gleaming Buddah statue provided the only real spectacle on the most modest stage at EDC, with support from some lasers, leaving the music itself to provide much of the experience; a situation in which The Magician seemed to shine. Soulful, uplifting vocals and groovy drops were the name of the game here, with songs like “Together” and “Sunlight” engaging the crowd more than blaring LEDs or pyro ever could. The “Potion” maestro just wrapped up his US tour and, based on his EDC performance, dance music fans should be eagerly awaiting what The Magician pulls out of his hat next.
1. Eric Prydz
They say that an Eric Prydz fan will never see the same set twice, and that certainly held true on Friday night. In typical Eric fashion, he opened his fantastic mainstage set with an ID track, known as Ambassadeur ID 3. Instantly, the vibe shifted to one that Prydateers know well. Suddenly people began to give eachother much more free space than is expected at a main stage and a sense of bliss overtook the audience. For many in the crowd, Eric had recently blown their minds during Ultra 2015 and this set was completely different and yet just as powerful. The crowd lost it when he played a relatively unknown remix of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” done by Matt Samuels and once again when he played the unreleased “Bern” by Tonja Holma. Of course he finished it off with some of his greatest hits, going from “Matrix” to “Generate”, “Opus”, and finally closing it out with his Very Private Remix of M83. If Eric Prydz is ever one of your festival choices, do yourself a favor and catch his set. It might just change your life.
Speaking of lifechanging, Lorin is right up there in the pantheon of producers that you just have to see once (or more) in your life. This writer certainly doesn’t consider himself a basshead, but by the end of Bassnectar’s spellbinding set I thought I might have become one as I saw the entire crowd lost in a torrent of face melting bass. People were headbanging like you’d expect to see in the good old days of Warped Tour, and once again the stage felt surprisingly spacious. Throwing in wild remixes and the classic “Jah No Partial”, Lorin used the megastructure to its fullest and took fans on an auditory ride they will never forget. Several friends in my group who don’t listen to bass music at all thought that Bassnectar had the best set of the weekend, and that’s the type of experience that puts a set into the “life changing” category.