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EDC 2019 overcomes strong winds, cold nights for another amazing year (DMNW Review)

Photo: Calder Wilson

What does the Electric Daisy Carnival have in common with a box of chocolates? They’re both full of surprises! What has become one of, if not, the largest dance music festivals in the world, Insomniac’s EDC returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to celebrate its 22nd birthday. With over 200 artists on this year’s lineup, across multiple stages, rides, and new attractions, there was plenty of things to see, do, and dance to! Let’s break down the action:

The Shuttles

Dare we say the shuttle system, this year, was near perfect? Following a catastrophic debut, Insomniac’s mass transit concept improved last year. In this go around, Pasquale (Rotella), and co., nearly knocked it out of the park!

Returning were standard and premium shuttles, with stops along, and off, the Vegas strip. With a rental car, and ride shares, costing a pretty penny during EDC Week, the festival’s official shuttles offer attendees a cost-effective transportation method to, and from, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It also takes away having to worry about parking, getting your car broken into, gas, etc.

Camp EDC returned for its second year (Photo: Jamie Rosenberg)

Riding from the Tropicana stop, we were on a bus in a breeze! Never had to wait in line for more than five minutes. There was always a steady flow of buses coming and going. Passengers were loaded quickly. Shuttle stops were equipped with a will call/information tent, portapotties, water fountains, and a shaded waiting area. Security pat downs were conducted before hopping aboard, so riders can literally walk into the festival, upon arrival!

The ride to, and from, the festival, each day, was roughly an hour. Most people, in our experiences, took this time to catch up on sleep. We never had to wait long to catch a shuttle home. To avoid traffic, the buses snake through Nelis Air Force Base, which neighbors the Speedway. We loved that the military provided such cooperation by opening its gates.

Leading the opening ceremony this year: Bill Nye, the Science Guy (Photo: Virisa Young)

We can only speak to our experiences at the Tropicana, but we had no shuttle headaches whatsoever this year- a huge improvement compared to the last two EDC’s. Will we ride them again next year? You bet!

The Stages

All the stages we know, and loved, returned: Kinetic Field, Cosmic Meadow, Circuit Grounds, Quantum Valley, Wasteland, and the Neon Garden- all looking as gorgeous as ever. We were particularly fond of this year’s Quantum Valley set up. The megastructure, made famous by Dreamstate and Ultra Music Festival, returned to EDC, in a smaller deviation. The centerpiece was the “eye”, the elevated platform where the artists performed. You had to see it to believe it!

The 2019 Corona Electric Beach Stage at EDC (Photo: Corona Electric Beach)

The Corona Electric Beach also returned, with a massive three-day lineup of its own! Located on Electric Avenue, Corona Electric featured performances from Elephante, Dom Dolla, Jayceeoh, and Seattle’s very own SHARPS and former DMNW staffer Kendoll! Fans were also treated to a surprise set from Party Favor on night one! One of our favorite stages, Corona Beach was always packed to the brim. Hopefully next year, it gets a bigger space to accommodate its crowds better.

Art cars and other small stages could also be found scattered across the speedway. You couldn’t escape the music if you wanted to- it was everywhere!

This year also saw label takeovers. Techno legend Adam Beyer’s Drumcode record label took over the Neon Garden Sunday for all the dark, sensual, techno you can handle from some of the biggest names in the genre. Considering the Northwest doesn’t have a big techno scene, it was a treat to dance to artists like Beyer, Amelie Lens, Charlotte de Witte– just to name a few!

The Megastructure, at the Quantum Valley trance stage, with its seeing “eye”. (Photo: Marc Van der Aa)

Trance prince Andrew Rayel, and his Find Your Harmony imprint took over the Quantum Valley stage Sunday as well. Performers included the legendary Cosmic Gate, tech energy pioneer MaRLo, with special guest HALIENE, Rayel himself- amongst other Find Your Harmony, and Armada Music, favorites!

We love the idea of label showcases at festivals, and would love to see more of it at EDC 2020!

New Additions

Two major additions to EDC, this year, was the Pixel Forest and Downtown EDC. Both located in between the Cosmic Meadow, and Neon Garden, these areas gave attendees fun, interactive experiences with art, characters, video games, and much more!

The sensational “gateway” to the new Pixel Forest, always filled to the brim because of the polarizing light show playing within! (Photo: Adi Adinayev)

The Pixel Forest looked like the real-life version of Minecraft. Set to a video game theme, the Forest featured plenty of comfy sitting areas, old school video games, and more!

The Surprises

When it comes to EDC, expect the unexpected. That’s what makes this festival so damn great!

Alison Wonderland performed a secret house music set that’s currently making the news. We saw Kayzo do a special guest set atop an art car. SayMyName brought rapper Yung Pinch on stage for a song. RL Grime played a “surprise” set at the Bass Pod (!!!). Speaking of surprises, let’s not forget about Skrillex’s “surprise” day 2 set at Circuit Grounds- marking his solo EDC returns after an 8-year absence. It. Was. Legendary.

The Weather Situation

This might have been the coldest, windiest EDC Vegas yet! Attendees were quick to buy any, and ALL, hoodies and sweaters at the merch stands as temps dipped into the low 60s, 50s, each night. And let us tell you, desert cold is A LOT different than Pacific Northwest cold. It was so cold, blankets were allowed into the festival- the item long prohibited. We wish there were heaters spread across the venue, to provide a break from the chill.

Day 2 saw high winds wreak havoc on the festival. The Kinetic Field Mainstage would get shut down shortly after midnight and would stay shut down for the evening as the screens in that arena told fans to evacuate the venue.

The Kinetic Field Mainstage (Photo: Alex Perez)

Once we saw the Quantum Valley trance stage get shut down, we didn’t know what to do ourselves. “Was the festival closing down?” “What’s going on?” We ended up hanging out in the Neon Garden techno/House stage, which became filled with attendees who were just as confused as we were. DJs were still playing, so we decided to stick around until we could determine if the festival was really closing down entirely.

It’s a good thing we stayed. The Quantum Valley Stage would re-open but Kinetic Field would stay closed the rest of the night, leading to canceled sets from Kaskade and RL Grime, amongst others- in addition to the massive fireworks display.

It’s clear there was a major lack of communication on Day 2, as many attendees actually did leave early- heeding the advice to evacuate, which Insomniac later reneged- sighting error. For some, the damage had been done.

Day 3 saw high winds as well. Insomniac kept all stages open, telling fans on socials that some stage equipment pieces had been removed. The show went on as planned!

Final Verdict

Between the flawless shuttle rides, crazy sets, and new attractions, this year’s Electric Daisy Carnival is our favorite one yet! The weather sucked, but, hey, that’s what hoodies, and pants, are for- right? EDC continues to get bigger, and bigger- we can’t wait to see what Insomniac has in store for next year!

What do you think about EDC 2019? What was your experience like? How would you change it for next year? Let us know in our comments section on Facebook, and Twitter!

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