(Original post was on iHeartRaves)
After taking a year off, I attended my 8th Electric Daisy Carnival. Which also happened to be the 20th Anniversary of the iconic festival hosted by Insomniac Events. I, like many seasoned ravers, have uttered the phrase: “This is going to be my last EDC”. And like the many, we have failed multiple of times to live that statement through.
Many things have inspired my return to my favorite festival: My travel partner returning home from her duty in the Peace Corps, the 20th birthday of EDC and my crews itching to return to Vegas and rage. These are just a few reasons, but do you really need a reason to go back to E. D. Mother Effin’ C!
There is just something about EDC that overwhelms my heart over other festivals. Maybe it was the magic that I felt in 2010 when it was last held in Los Angeles. Or perhaps it was the immense amount of energy that surged through me when the Electric Sky first cast its illuminating lights over the once silent ground of the LV desert. Judging how this event has sold out the last three years, I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Prior to the actual event, the Strip hosted numerous pool parties and club events for EDC Week. I was lucky to have attended the Jauz pool party at Marquee. Being my old age, I was destroyed and was not able to continue to TAO for Dreamstate before the stroke of midnight. The idea of YOLO anything now hurts my head. However, many seasoned EDCLV veterans would know that Day 0 (Thursday) is perhaps the only night to actually do Vegas-Vegas. It was a good time to bond and rage with friends, catch up with your festival crew that you have not seen in a while (or squad as some of the kids are saying these days).
When Friday quickly came, it was time for my return to the sovereign grounds of EDC. Of course, life and bad decisions the night before did not make it easy. By life, I mean the two-hour traffic from the Strip to the Speedway, and by bad decisions, I mean the ringing hangover that only 600 mg of ibuprofen could only mend.
Surprisingly, after the hassle of parking and pre-gaming in the parking lot after taking a bunch of selfies with a bright pink selfie stick, the line to get in was not bad. There were three different check points before you can get that good ole pat down (nothing says a festival like getting your balls grabbed). This weeded out the people trying to sneak in, and unfortunately weeded out the people who were sold fake tickets. My heart goes out to your wallets bros and broettes.
Inside the festival guide, which to me looks as if it has been designed to resemble a passport, Pasquale opens up with “Welcome Home, Everyone!” And that is how I felt as I stumble down the steps of the Las Vegas Speedway. There was a lingering sunlight when I made my way down the concrete steps that in my imagination was my Yellow Brick Road. I can see the lights leading me back home. The LED’s, strobes and screens from rides and stages were faint, but I still saw their warm rays of welcome. When I finally reached the dirt covered asphalt, I knew that I was back in Neverland as I was surrounded with a unison of smiles and bright eyes that surveyed the scenery with awe.
This feeling of course only lasted for about 10 hours until the sun came back up and everyone had to zombie themselves through a cattle of zombies back to their car or shuttle. Yet, despite riding the struggle bus at 6 AM the next day, many people still got back on the horse and did it again. Two. More. Times!
I had a great time seeing my friends there. One of my buddies decided to surprise us by getting a ticket to attend Saturday night. His words were, “The friend lineup is just too good to miss out”. And that is one thing that is true since the beginning of this whole shabang. I saw my friends from all over California, from the Windy City of Chicago, those who made it from the East Coast, from pretty much everywhere! From an underground movement to the mainstream stage of today, EDC has always brought friends together. Where reality keeps some of us apart, EDC provides us with a secret liaison from life where we’re each other’s mistress in our very own love story.
Another thing that stuck with me was when my buddy said that this was the happiest that he’s seen me in a while. Which is true. I’m not going to get into my own self pity, but I have not been happy, happy for a while. Even at TomorrowWorld as I was dancing my ass off, I was having fun but not truly happy. This can be seen in my everyday life and with all the trolling that I do.
But at EDC, there is just something about being encased in its magic as I was surrounded by friends, dancing my little Asian butt away to trance, grooving my hips to the industrial sounds of techno, jumping away my thigh gap at hardstyle and even slow-motioning what can only be described as a stroke to some dubstep.
What more can I say about EDC that many people haven’t said already? Music was great. The art cars were great. The production and designs of the whole thing was AMAZING! The performers did a spectacular job keeping up the illusion that we were all our very own Alice in a Wonderland that was shared with everyone. However, there were some pretty awful stuff at EDC. Like people getting into fights, leaving the parking lot and trash that is left by attendees. Insomniac can’t be blamed for some of those. They did a great job providing space, water and medical tents for the insurance of everyone’s well being. Just sucks that some people had to be the few sour apples of the ball.
*cough* all of those long trains running through the crowd and not just Asian trains, all sorts of em *cough*
Despite all of that, PLUR was alive and well. From all the post and comments on the EDC Unofficial Facebook page, everyone seemed to have a good time. I even heard about this guy who spent a good amount of time trying to return a wallet and phone. Hell, even being stuck in traffic and singing “Tiny Dancer” and “Valerie” after being stuck in traffic for five hours on the third day was fun. It’s all about the company you keep sometimes.
Did I have a great time? Hell yeah! Would I do it again? Hell yeah! I’m not going to say that I am a better person for going to EDC and my life has now forever changed because I found PLUR. The one thing that I will take away from the experiences from this year is how to be happy.
Even if I don’t go to another EDC for the rest of my life, I will remember the love-felt hugs I shared between friends as we embraced one another, the smile on my face from hearing a song that I’ve over-killed on Spotify, looking into my friends eyes and seeing all of their sadness and sorrows from reality fade away for 3 days, the inside jokes, the thought of introducing your friend to deodorant all the times the DJ told us to put our hands up, all of it.
When I look back at EDC, I won’t hear drops or see people jumping. When I look back at EDC, I will hear a retro 80s synth and see all my friends shimmying down in slow motion with smiles on their faces under the disco lights. If I can remember all of that in my dark times I will have hope and smile, maybe let a little chuckle like a crazy person on the bus, and try to become a better person. Take it from an old jaded raver, EDC may have passed and gone but the magic still lingers, the wonderland we all embarked may have been a construct of our own imagination but the feelings we felt were real and not one can take that away from us.