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September 30, 2014

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Electric Daisy Carnival Night 2: A noob gets some cred

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Attendees dance to the beat at Kinetic Field during the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 26, 2011.

Insomniac Events extensively promoted this weekend’s Electric Daisy Carnival as an “experience” and rightly so—I learned last night that EDC is most certainly not an event to merely attend, it really is an event to fully experience.

I’m what you’d call an extreme noob. I’ve never been to EDC or any other kind of massive with EDC production value. So naturally, I had a stupid grin on my face from the moment I saw Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s marquee sign.

There were a few acts I was interested in checking out when I first arrived, so I decided to tour the grounds and enjoy the beats, while getting a handle on the fest’s layout. While walking from Porter Robinson’s set at Neon Garden to Kinetic Field for Cedric Gervais I really was more interested in what was going on around me than the music. It was difficult to take your eyes away from the numerous decorations, art installations and Insomniac’s roving performers (stilt walkers, bicyclists and the like). The fact that at least half of the attendees were costumed in crazy getups added to the sensory overload. (A special shout-out to the dude “swimming” through the crowd in pool floaties, an inner tube and snorkel gear.)

After a quick trip to the media room I headed back to Kinetic Field to catch Martin Solveig’s set, which ended up being my favorite of the night. The French DJ very successfully mixed an eclectic variation of Top 40 hits into his set: Britney Spears’ “Till The World Ends,” Kid Cudi’s “Day and Night” and Kellis’ “Milkshake” to name a few. The crowd was feeling the music and his energy, as Solveig really likes to interact with his audience. He’d often take to the mic to feel the crowd out and even left the booth to hype up his audience during Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out.” The latter half of his set repeatedly teased his international club hit “Hello” before finally climaxing into the full Dragonette collabo only after Solveig proclaimed, “EDC! We just came to say hello!” The crowd went nuts. Solveig’s a classy guy, too—he ended his set by thanking the crowd for being at his first massive main stage appearance, calling it “a gift.”

Electric Daisy Carnival Night & Day 2

Khristian Olstad lies takes a break on the grass as the sun rises during the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday, June 26, 2011. Launch slideshow »

I stuck around Kinetic Field for the first part of Afrojack’s show, then decided to catch the end of Bassnectar’s set at Cosmic Meadow. There I attempted to meet a friend, which ended up being an epic failure, with my AT&T service pretty spotty and the crowd at the stage swelling beyond the stairs that acted as its barrier.

I then retreated back to Kinetic Field, arriving just in time to see electro man Benny Benassi. Scoring a spot on an elevated backstage platform, I was able to see the entire expanse of the space, which was packed to the brim with people. The Grammy winner treated his audience to a few tracks from his latest album, starting his set with “Electroman” and later dropping “Beautiful People.” I learned that Kinetic Field’s massive (and technologically beautiful) stage came complete with a trampoline track when gold and red spandex-suited acrobats joined Benassi onstage.

Speaking of costumed performers, Empire of the Sun was certainly a spectacle to see—they’re basically the Lady Gaga of the EDM world. The crowd didn’t seem very into it at first, with the audience decreasing in size during the first half of the set. Their numerous costume changes and artistic production soon won the festival-goers over, however; by the time EOTS played the crowd-pleasing “Walking on a Dream,” Cosmic Meadow was full of jumping EDM junkies, pumping their kandi-covered fists in the air. And the crowd really roared when frontman Luke Steele smashed his guitar. The live act ended its set by spraying confetti out onto the crowd and taking an old-school bow, front and center.

Sometime during the Empire of the Sun set Kinetic Field exploded in crowd size. Sure, it was packed for Benassi’s set, but when headliner David Guetta stepped to the booth people were spilling out into the walkway areas. I stuck around for the first few songs, including Top 10 hit “Club Can’t Handle Me,” to which Guetta often cut the music and let his audience fill in the gaps.

Around this time I realized my three-hour power nap wasn’t sufficient, and opted to save my energy for Sunday’s festivities. But after doing EDC for the very first time, I can safely say this: Insomniac throws one hell of an “experience.”

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