As we looked over the enormous mass of people jumping on the Coliseum floor, surrounded by thousands in stadium seats with LED lights and glow sticks flickering like a million fireflies, my sister said, “If everybody knew about this, there would be world peace.”
Similar sentiments were echoed regularly at this year’s Electric Daisy Carnival, the massive electronic music festival held annually in downtown Los Angeles. Taking place over two beautiful days in June in USC’s Exposition Park (with the main stage smack in the center of the Coliseum), EDC is a neon wonderland filled with glittering carnival rides, professional dancers dressed to the nines and over 150,000 concert-goers – some hardcore ravers and others just looking to dance.
Upon arriving at the packed gates, it did not seem to matter that the line was enormous – people-watching was entertaining enough. Girls were scantily clad in little more than a bikini, with many wearing bright, fuzzy leg warmers standard at raves and on go-go girls. The men looked more toned down, opting to wear white, with the occasional gas mask or rave goggles. Most outfits, however, had one thing in common – kandi, the childish pony bead bracelets and necklaces traded at raves, adorned everybody, some with a lone bracelet around the wrist and many with rainbows of color all the way up their arms.
Once Intermission made it inside the concert grounds, the five(!) stages made deciding incredibly difficult. Looking for some shade, we stumbled upon AutoErotique’s set. They were laying down some seriously dramatic bass and the small crowd was loving it, moving freely through the grass and enjoying the prelude to the rest of the event. Up next was a more high-profile artist – DJ wonderboy Afrojack – who has been blowing up in the dance music world and was arguably the most featured act that EDC had to offer. Playing two massive sets on both Friday and Saturday, along with spinning the after-party on Friday night, there is no doubt that everybody witnessed at least some of his musical talents during the weekend. Intermission caught both, and Afrojack didn’t disappoint. Ending his Saturday set with his mix of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” the crowd went wild as they sung along and danced to the familiar track.
As the sun began to set on Friday night, we found ourselves camped out at the main stage for the massive lineup to come. Australian house DJ Dirty South got the crowd ready for the celebrity headliners, and his summer hit “Phazing” was the perfect start to a beautiful night. Power trio Swedish House Mafia was up next on stage, and the excitement in the massive crowd was palpable. Comprised of Swedish DJs Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, their house hit “One” has earned them millions of fans and a coveted residency in Ibiza. From the dramatic introduction to the very end of the two-hour set, the crowd did not stop moving. All the stops were pulled out as fireworks regularly exploded and the massive light screens dazzled beyond belief. Dropping Daft Punk’s classic “One More Time,” everybody grooved to the beat until the now ubiquitous introduction to “One” was seamlessly woven in. From there on out, the night got out of control.
After Swedish House Mafia left the stage, the always-impressive and legendary DJ Kaskade took to the tables, proving why he is considered one of the best in the world. His exit from the stage was followed by the moment almost everybody had been waiting for. Innumerable mockups of the sinister Mickey Mouse heads that symbolize Deadmau5 were worn throughout the crowd. The audience waited impatiently for the night’s biggest celebrity. Once the relatively long wait was over, the massively popular house DJ amazed with his LED mouse head, light-up dais and turntables and, most importantly, his incredible music.
Saturday was no less amazing, boasting acts like Dada Life, Laidback Luke, Benny Benassi, Above and Beyond and Armin van Buuren. However, the definite standout of the day was German DJ Boys Noize (who Intermission also raved about at this year’s ETD Pop). Playing at Circuit Grounds while Armin took the main stage, a shocking number of people turned out to watch Boys Noize show why his star is on the rise so quickly. Paying tribute to Michael Jackson with a couple of well-placed tracks and spinning new material that made 60,000 people go insane, Boys Noize was a perfect end to a perfect weekend.
Regardless of whether or not you are an electronic music expert or somebody who just wants to have a good time, Electric Daisy Carnival is not to be missed. The largest festival in America, with the most beautiful lights and incredible music, definitely feels like it could solve most of the world’s problems. Peace, love, unity, respect indeed.