“All are welcome here.” That’s the first sign that eager ravers spot as they approach the grounds of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2018. It is also the philosophy that embodies the spirit of the Insomniac Events-run show. It’s true; over the course of three days I witnessed a colorful spectrum of faces from all walks of life—young, old, gay, straight, bros, nerds, and everyone in between. Although it was odd to see the token senior citizen in the mix, I had to think there was an inherently human reason that led thousands to travel miles into the heart of the Las Vegas desert for three sleepless days of debauchery.
As I entered through the media gates high above the bleachers I was able to catch a glorious panoramic view of the entire festival. This would be my escape for the next three days.
Every detail at EDC Las Vegas was carefully considered and flawlessly executed into the larger storyline. From the nightly firework shows, to the operational stages and moving art cars, to the sensational performers prancing about. There wasn’t an element that didn’t serve a purpose. Creative innovation lurked at every corner—even at the attendee level. Beautiful bodies encrusted in jewels and glitter donned elaborate rave costumes and held up custom-built totems with their own clever memes and declarative messages.
From sunset to sunrise, a brave new world opened up full of wonder and dazzling showmanship. Each night there were countless sights to see, sounds to hear, and connections to be made. EDC awakened our innermost child-like curiosity and allowed us to explore it for three days under the Electric Sky.
EDC Las Vegas – Production
Insomniac is known for pulling out all the stops for their show-stopping events and the 22nd annual Electric Daisy Carnival was no different. Walking across the grounds and exploring each stage was like entering a world that harbored its own distinctive energy and sound. Insomniac did a wonderful job of creating enough spacial proximity between stages where once you entered the zone of one stage, it didn’t clash with the sound of another.
The kineticFIELD main stage was an extraordinary fixture that towered higher than all the other stages and held up on its own beyond its coinciding musical acts. The two-minute intermission shows captured an awe-inspiring exhibition of lights, lasers, pyrotechnics, and water elements. cosmicMEADOW boasted the most eclectic of artists and made for a larger audience with its additional bleacher seating. The art car stages paraded across the grounds and provided an escape from the packed crowds of the conventional stages.
EDC Las Vegas’s VIP experience provided a one-of-a-kind experience for guests with brag-worthy amenities like a hookah bar and oxygen bar, a pool and ball pit, plentiful photo ops, complimentary breakfast and dedicated viewing and dancing areas. The Insomniac VIP experience was hands-down one of the greatest aspects of EDC, and is definitely a worthy option to consider next time around if you’ve got the extra cash.
On day one, curiosity coupled with our unfamiliarity with the venue had my friend and I lost for most of the event. We ran like a madmen from stage to stage hoping to catch a bit of everyone as we could. The lineup offered such an enticing array of acts that it was hard to choose between artists. And just as in the manner of a Las Vegas buffet I enjoyed a little bit of everything. My inability to find the Parliament Art Car at sunrise meant I missed Kaskade’s Strobelite Seduction set, but it wasn’t all bad because I was able to catch Getter for the first time as the sun peeked over the horizon at cosmicMEADOW.
Day two was hands down the best day of the entire weekend, and the most crowded. You could physically feel the increase of bodies as you stood shoulder to shoulder at nearly every set. Ookay’s live set on Saturday was one of the most inspiring sets of the weekend. His one-man-show highlighted his multifaceted artistic capabilities and featured live elements like his own vocals, drums, a synth keytar, and even a surprise appearance by famed Saxophone player Kenny G for the closing number “Thief.” Kygo‘s tropical house set at the kineticFIELD ranked high on my list of favorites for the weekend. His feel-good melodies gave us clean break from the heavy “womp womp” sound that flooded the rest of the event. Tiësto dropped some much needed hardstyle bangers and included a tearful tribute to the late Avicii. Over at cosmicMEADOW, Zeds Dead wowed the crowd per usual and followed into Kayzo’s rowdy nostalgia-ridden set that featured some pop punk and alt rock classics.
The final day, Shiba San played a dance-worthy performance at cosmicMEADOW and R3hab energized the crowd before following into Rezz’s highly-anticipated circuitGROUNDS set. Hoards of people flooded in to see Rezz drop her signature flavor of face-melting bass. Over at the main stage, SLANDER played a high-energy set and closed out with a remix of their head-banging track “After All.” Tchami and Malaa’s No Redemption Series drew in dedicated house aficionados and even made people sitting on the bleachers stand up and groove. The final fireworks show ran ten minutes late but made up for it by lighting up the Electric Sky during Martin Garrix’s performance of “Scared to Be Lonely.” Lastly, I watched Zomboy from the sidelines of the bassPOD before deciding to call it a night (my body would thank me later that morning). Reality began to sink in as I slowly made my way towards the exit gates. I walked backwards letting the colors and sensations of the neon-lit landscape wash over me one last time. “Until next year,” I said to myself.
This year marked my first time attending EDC. I’ve attended Insomniac raves in the past, but no other music event struck me with an unshakable sense of awe as EDC Las Vegas. There’s an indescribable feeling that comes with being up at odd hours of the night while others are asleep; dancing, vibing, and exploring a space wherein you are free to be your truest self. There were many moments where I stood in sheer disbelief that a place like this could exist. The lights, the sounds, and the bodies all gave way to a weekend full of positive energy and unforgettable memories.
Insomniac refers to their attendees as Headliners, which in retrospect is quite fitting. The EDC Las Vegas experience is nothing without its people. The people are part of the attraction. It’s the Headliners and their distinctive flavors that ultimately create an environment that’s rooted in respect, good vibes, and an ever-present sense of unity.
This past weekend I became a Headliner—a title that I will proudly embrace wherever I find myself. Until next year, EDC Las Vegas.