Share & Connect
Electric Daisy Carnival has a bad reputation, to say the least. An institution in the electronic music industry, EDC, originating in Southern California, has been running for 11 years now and features branded events in 5 other American cities. In 2010, this summer gathering of a reported 100,000 festival goers drew the attention of the general public, something it, and the entire raving community, has wholly avoided since its inception.
Raves, a social gathering based on PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect) in the eyes of the core fan base, has come to be exclusively associated with ecstasy, the party drug that purportedly deepens the experience of the base-heavy electronic style. By default, drugs and 8 or more hours of dancing can lead to disastrous results when inexperienced party goers forget to stay hydrated. Thus, at last year’s EDC, a girl of 15 died of dehydration in relation to her drug use.
Retailing at 5 dollars per bottle in most venues, water is hard to come by for those already straining their budgets for the experience. The parents of the Los Angelean girl were terribly upset by the news, especially since they had no knowledge of their daughter’s attendance or the existence of the event itself. The community was outraged; a mere high school sophomore was stripped of her life thanks to loud music and hard core drugs. The ideals of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect were never mentioned in any relevant news coverage, which demonized raves as hell holes of sin.
Insomniac Events, the proprietor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, sought to restore their image and help mend a torn community. They moved the venue this year to Las Vegas, where they were able to procure a far larger venue, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This move minimized the problem of trampling that had been rampant at the previous venue, Los Angeles’ Coliseum, where fire marshals were constantly shutting down stages to avoid overcrowding.
They heightened security to prevent as much drug and weapon intake as possible. Up from 5,000 the previous year, Insomniac hired nearly double the security operators, along with hundreds local and state police that were brought in to control any potential chaos. They recognized the need to make the events 18+, with strict carding, in order to inexperienced kids from getting over their heads.The most revolutionary of all these changes involved the problem of dehydration. As aforementioned, the high retail price of water far from encouraged the healthy hydration necessary in long periods of dancing under the sizzling summer sun.
Especially now that the venue was relocated to Las Vegas, where the average festival weekend temperature at noon was a scorching #, # degrees higher than last year’s festival in Los Angeles, a great change was obligatory. It is now possible to purchase refillable water bottles at the event for just $15, which can be infinitely refilled at several locations across the field. In a city where parched doesn’t begin to describe the constant and unending dehydration that plagues the corps, this made a significant difference. As a result, a mere 17 people were hospitalized due to dehydration and related issues, versus more than 100 the previous year.
This year’s festival, June 25th to June 27th, marked a great change in raving: closer to mainstream and thus closer to government safety regulations absent in underground and black market trade. The line-up boasted some of the biggest names in the electronic world, from Tiesto to David Guetta to Bassnectar. With 75 bands and DJ’s represented, a large spectrum of talent was available for the very excited public. People traveled from far and wide to take part in the 3-day event. I personally traveled from New York, and ran into people from the entirety of California, along with some from Utah, Seattle, and even Canada.
The event is so named thanks to the numerous neon carnival rides that bespeckle the grounds and light up the night sky. Ferris wheels, swings, fun-houses, bumper cars, and more add a childish excitement to the 18 and up event, and nostalgia plays a heavy part in securing a niche in the hearts of the audience. Thanks to the enormity of the speedway, many more rides were available for use, reducing the notoriously long lines of years past. As per tradition, Insomniac hired the best to create the ambiance of EDC, with fantastical firework shows and world-renowned laser light setups up to 50 feet high and twice as wide, towering over the wide-eyed festival goers. Truly, one can attend a thousand raves and the intensity of the experience never grows old, just as a toddler never grows of tired of playing hide and seek.
As light crept into the crevices of the night and the sun rose over desert hills Monday morning, wide-eyed, mussed-up ravers walked to their cars, weighed down by the thought of returning to reality the following day. Whispers abounded, “Did anyone die?!” With a sigh of relief, even now, days after the neon lights were darkened, it has been confirmed by the copious medical personnel that no one met that fate. Las Vegas’ EDC 2011 was successful in the most base of ways, and, to the delight of many, the Carnival will return its desert tour next year.