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April 17, 2014

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EDC Night 3: ‘Let’s never leave this place’

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Steve Marcus

Festivalgoers listen to electronic dance music at the Circuit Grounds stage during the final night of the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 10, 2012.

As Dirty South drops Moby’s “In This World” over the Kinetic Stage, a young man in Fedde Le Grand sunglasses bends his knees and raises two flexed middle fingers to the sky. “F*ck the f*cking wind!” he shouts, before breaking into an enthusiastic shuffle.

2012 EDC: Day 3

Festival-goers listen to electronic dance music at the kinetic FIELD during the final night of the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday night/Monday morning June 11, 2012. Launch slideshow »

2012 EDC: Night 2

Night 2 of the 2012 Electric Daisy Carnival featuring Bassnectar, Calvin Harris, Martin Solveig and Headhunterz at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 9, 2012. Launch slideshow »

This is the dance party of our discontent.

After Electric Daisy Carnival Night 2’s untimely end at the mercy of strong desert winds, the final sunset-to-sunrise ride starts almost like a venting of frustration, everyone fighting exhaustion for one more night under the neon halo, dancing last night’s angst into the ground with arms pumping the air.

The wind-hater next door grabs a stack of napkins and makes it rain over the main-stage crowd with the same joy as if they were $100s. In a moment his shirt is off, and he’s asking me to smell the VIP ticket he swears is scratch and sniff. I smile and smell exactly nothing.

The sound of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right” brings my attention back to the Kinetic Field stage. It’s Pretty Lights—aka American DJ Derek Vincent Smith—starting his set with the classic party anthem. A month after Beastie-founder Adam Yauch’s death, thousands of voices sing along in full-throated tribute.

Over at the A State of Trance-hosted Circuit Grounds, ATB is spinning his brand of trance for a grooving crowd. There’s no sign of damage to the stage from the previous night’s gusts, and the crowd dances under the scaffolding and speakers, now steady in the calm Sunday dark.

With my last hours of EDC approaching, I find myself grasping to take it all in. I want to dance with the trance-happy security guard at Circuit Grounds, to climb aboard the Disco Kremlin school bus, to gawk at Jesus striding across the Speedway grounds as if he has a date with some saintly DJ. I stare and jump and smile. I think about buying a bacon-wrapped hot dog and then stare some more.

In a few hours I’ll be back to a reality where people don’t dress like glowing bees on stilts, where skydivers don’t drop from the clouds in a rain of sparks and where Metro officers don’t pose for photos with EDM fans in Day-Glo beads. But not quite yet.

Strolling between stages, a wide-eyed kid grabs my friend’s shoulder and says, “Let’s be here forever. Let’s never leave this place.” But we can’t stay at the carnival. Tomorrow, it’ll be gone.

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