Article by Haley Edelson
Ask anyone, from the die-hard fans of the electronic revolution to the fresh faces floating across the grassy dance floors, and they’ll all agree that Insomniac's Electric Daisy Carnival excels at bringing unconventional excitement to fans around the globe. EDC uniquely combines childhood carnival-ride favorites with some of the world's most sought after DJ's/producers to create a festival experience quite unlike any other.
As our group made the drive down from our cozy college town of Gainesville (which might I add holds some serious roots in the emergence of early House music), we couldn't help but overhear the electronic music blasting from passerby cars. It was clear that we were all racing to the same destination as we were, and we couldn't have been more ready.
To any of the pioneers in the EDM movement who feared that the integrity of the show and its music would be compromised by Insomniac spreading EDC to new locations, let me reassure you that Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando easily silenced the skeptics.
As I approached the gates of the festival I was greeted by a spectrum of fans; from the usual self-proclaimed "rave babies" decked out in tutus and fur boots, to the hard core festival-goers that leave little up to the imagination in their head-to-toe body paint. Walking over to the first stage, I found myself pleasantly distracted by the many lights decorating the various carnival rides and the bass drops booming in the near distance.
The first show I caught was none other than the Chicago-based electronic dubstep trio Krewella at the Circuit Grounds stage. While I must admit that my heart and personal preference lies with the genre of funky techno, I found myself mesmerized by the way Krewella weaved together upbeat vocals with dirty dubstep drops. The crowd seemed to share my excitement, roaring in approval of the hard-hitting girlfire dub.
Moving over to the Neon Garden stage, I was able to catch Carl Craig laying down his signature style. Known for his old school influences, you could tell that this techno vet knew just how to control the audience's energy and keep their bodies in motion.
The Kinetic Field stage was where the big dogs rolled out. At 7:30 p.m. the dutch duo composed of Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano gave the audience the sounds they had been craving. At one point during the set I noticed a solid five minutes without vocals - the calm before the storm of crouching fans exploded up when the bass dropped. The duo's dangerously addicting style allowed the crowd to fully engage in the music and bask in their dirty beats.
I ended my night with two of the most recognizable names in the EDM scene, each an all-star of their unique niche. Bassnectar, the true renegade that he is, made even those that have found themselves jaded by the repetition of Kanye and Jay-Z's "N*gg*s in Paris" fans of the song once again. He even challenged the crowd to "Tell Tiesto to turn down his F*cking music!" Now that's a fucking rock star. So of course after a statement like that I had to run over and catch what the hype was all about. And for someone who consistently closes out festivals, Tiesto has yet to disappoint.
After a long day at the festival on Friday, and a few stints downtown to catch the after-parties, I found my self surprisingly upbeat, energetic, and overall ready for what Saturday would bring.
The lineup for day two kept me at Circuit Grounds stage for most of the day. With artists like Quintino, Sidney Samson, R3hab, Shermanology, and Afrojack one after another it felt like I would be doing the festival an injustice to walk away. As similar as each of these DJ's may be, they each managed to bring an aspect of their individual flair, creating a slew of musical bliss for those in the crowd.
R3hab, who always seems to be a fan-favorite, laid down a legendary set. From behind the gates (thank you Media Wristband) I could truly see how his memorable lyrics and catchy beats left the audience captivated.
Somewhere in between Sidney Samson and R3hab I was able to drift over to the main stage, where Cedric Gervais was dropping his infamous track, "Have You Seen Molly?" While this song has faced controversy, it's undeniable that when Gervais drops the opening riff of the track followed by the robotic vocals, every member of the crowd's face displays nothing but pure ecstasy.
I couldn't have asked for a better finishing set to the festival than the one Afrojack provided. While I had my doubts about letting the Dutch producer close out my night (and EDC for that matter) due to lackluster performances in the past, the energy and attention he brought to each number he laid down on the Circuit Grounds stage blew my mind. The final song of the evening was none other than the crowd pleaser "Can't Stop Me," with an unexpected cameo by Shermanology. The thousands of fans weren't ready to let their beloved Afrojack leave quite yet though, but as hard as we tried and as many "Encore's" we chanted, rules are rules and the city of Orlando had to shut the fun down. We can always remember, these music festivals may come and go, but your favorite DJ's bass drop will be ringing in your ears for ever (or at least until the next morning comes).