EDC Las Vegas 2017 – The Good, Bad and Ugly
In hope to relive the yesteryear of EDC
Raving in NorCal during the mid 90’s, I’d run into many Electric Daisy Carnival flyers in hopes of attending one of those parties. I was too young to drive and too broke to spend a few hundred dollars getting there, but I was fortunate enough for events like Cyberfest to fulfill my lust for massives. Fast forward to 2007, when I finally attended my first EDC at the LA Coliseum in SoCal, even then with a sellout crowd of 50K+ attendees, EDC wasn’t as overwhelming as it is today. Perhaps since I’m turning 40 this year, no matter how worked up I may be for a party of this magnitude, there is only so much my body can handle when pushing the envelope.
I’ve attended three EDCs since its move to Sin City. And to be honest, I was reluctant to go to Vegas, as the LA event held a special place in my heart and Vegas has never struck me as a raver’s destination. It’s far too flashy, glamorous and other attractions just smack of trying too hard. Alas, in 2014 I gave in to the curiosity in hope to relive those glory days at the LA Coliseum since. While the sheer size of the event is overwhelming, I’ve never been in awe of this new iteration of the festival. Something about the backdrop of the LA Coliseum created a visceral feeling that has since never been recaptured.
My experience at EDC 2017 was somewhat disappointing. A lackluster lineup stacked with commercial music and young buck DJs yapping over every tune doesn’t do it for me. Paired with the scorching heat, it just honestly made for an uninspiring event that may impress others but not me. That’s not to say it wasn’t impressive in its own way, but I’m not of the type who will be singing its praises from the mountain tops. While other bloggers may or may not share my sentiment, I’m going to give my 2-cents on the good, bad and ugly of this event.
What I love most about a festival of this magnitude is the diverse genre of musical journey featuring artists who play that style respectively. Unlike the Kinetic or Circuit Ground stages where just big name DJs bring an array of sound, stages like NeonGarden, BassPod and WasteLand cater to their crowds.
This year though, we were introduced to the Dreamstate tent where trance heads were spoiled to three days of nothing but pure trance by the likes Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz, John O’ Callaghan and Cosmic Gate just to name a few. In the past, only the big names were booked to play on the big stage which limited the talent pool at EDC. As usual, Armin and Above & Beyond were some of the biggest name in trance to highlight the big stages of Kinetic and Circuit Ground; however, we shall be seeing more trance artists making their rounds in future EDC.
Though I spent most of my time walking and taking in the festivities, there were only so few DJs that were on my ‘must-not-miss’ agenda – Above & Beyond, Green Velvet and Adam Beyer – none of whom disappointed me in the least.
On another good note, founder Pasqualle Rotella has always stayed true to what inspired him to do what he loves best which rooted from his days as a raver. His passion, vision and commitment have put smiles on millions (of what he calls) ‘Headliners’ faces all over the globe. I have always felt that a party isn’t one without this key element: the party people. Having spent many nights grooving in warehouses, for me this has always been about the experience. And going to Electric Daisy Carnival is, all about the ‘experience’. Insomniac’s constant focus and reminder that no artists or thousands of dollar worth of production are above the Headliners, is paramount to Insomniac, as it should be.
Rave culture was incubated among small groups of like-minded individuals, who sought to create communities that fostered a culture of love for music, self and each other. For years it was a community that was largely rejected by the US mainstream. It rose to prominence and general acceptance in Europe but the US was terribly slow to catch up in creating a full crossover to the mainstream. Granted we had an underground scene that was strong and thriving. As a 90’s raver who witnessed this evolution, I feel that the sound of EDM has created a space for corporate dollars to erode the culture that once existed. The true essence of rave culture has been lost.
To this day, I may still enjoy going to a festival for the experience but when I see a name like DJ Khaled pop up on the line up, I just cringe at the notion. As EDM would probably not be well embraced in a hip-hop concert, I personally feel hip-hop has no place in the dance community. Though Coachella and Hard Festival is a blend of both, Electric Daisy Carnival should stay true to its roots by educating its patrons through leading and not following.
According to Vegas.com, the average temperature in the month of June is about 100°F but to the exception, 2017 has been unbearable with temperature ranging from 115°F to 120°F with nights being in the low 90’s. Walking through the festival grounds took some getting used to. I couldn’t imagine what the travel to and from the Speedway must have been like for those who decided to shuttle, and I heard it was a debacle. Heading out after day one, I remember seeing long lines at the shuttle station which seemed like a 2-3 hour wait in the early morning heat. The drive home for us was just as unpleasant with day-3 being the worst drive back to our hotel at nearly 3.5 hours in the car.
To make matters worse, it was reported that a man from California died from heat related issues. Though four free water stations were available throughout the night, 100K+ attendees roaming around made it very hard to find them. I am not going to harp or speculate on the unfortunate matter but in hope for EDC 2018, Insomniac will have to increase their free water stations to as many stages there are. It’s a constant reminder that we must look over one another and stay hydrated, hydrated, hydrated. It may sound cliché but it was just one life too many.
In conclusion, there were good moments but there weren’t as many artists (I like) as I had hoped for. A genre of music I would like to see come back is breakbeat with names like Crystal Method, Plump DJs, Krafty Kuts, Stanton Warriors or DJ Icey. Other big names I hope to see would be Eric Prydz, Fedde LeGrand, Eric Morillo, Dirty South and Carl Cox. I was there for the experience which is always good though unfortunately the heat and travels to and from the venue are the most daunting part of the fun.