Electric Daisy Carnival Vegas 2014: The Best and Worst
Yes, we said that getting out of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was torturous. But getting in was smoother than ever. After three years of practice, organizers and local cops seem to have perfected the art of getting tens of thousands of cars into the race track's lots. What in years past was a two-hour (!) trek for EDC was this year pared to one hour for us. Bravo.
When EDC moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles in 2011, word was that organizers wanted to expand the weekend into a weeklong dance music industry soiree not unlike Miami's defunct Winter Music Conference. While promoters have been somewhat successful, adding its weekday EDMBiz conference to the schedule, what has really broadened the appeal of EDC is the superstar DJ talent on the strip. Vegas' poolside day parties are simply off the chain. EDC organizers have been wise not to demand exclusivity from some of their headliners, and the presence of top-name acts at clubs on the strip only adds value and appeal to what is becoming known as EDC Weekend. The professional staff at Marquee Dayclub, along with the publicist for DJ Destructo, were kind enough to have us as their guest Saturday. It was a surreal spectacle: Bikini- and board shorts-clad revelers splashed in the pool like giddy children as Kaskade played his naturally sweetened take on house music.
This might not be a "rave" anymore, but EDC, despite its ginormity, still comprises a community of ravers. We said previously that a sense of us vs. them still exists in this scene. And whether you need a bottle of water, a cigarette, a stick of gum, food, a lap to chill on, a hug, or a toke of weed, you might just be offered whatever you desire. PLUR lives.
2. The EDC app
What cool technology. Once just an electronic version of those old square-fold guides, the EDC Las Vegas 2014 app was an industry leader. You can look up your favorite artist, create an itinerary, share your on-site plans with Facebook friends, and most importantly, be shown exactly where on the vast festival grounds you are at any moment, making it easier to head to your next stage. (Too bad that because of of mobile data service, the app was mostly useless for us this year.)
We find much of what passes for electronic dance and house music these days (Avicii, Afrojack, Zedd) to be unbearable. Too many members of the current crop of EDM hit-makers are fly-by-night comers obsessed with hooks and ignorant to the proper flow and crowd control of DJing. That said, EDC's promoters, who started in the warehouse scene more than 20 years ago, have gone out of their way to make good stuff available. Loco Dice and Dubfire played sizzling tech-house sets. And Diplo dazzled with his cut-and-paste bass (and accompanying twerk team). As we spotted ravers streaming from the performances of some of the more chart-obsessed artists on the bill (Martin Garrix), we were left with a solid sense of hope. Because, if you want to see, hear and taste what EDM in America is about in 2014, there's no other place than Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas.
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