Story by: Daniel Jordan
Photos by: Daniel Jordan & Brooke Jordan (2starR.com)
The excitement was palpable at the gates of Tinker Field on Friday, November 7th. Thousands of dance music fans gathered from all over the country as well as the globe to celebrate their love for music and creative individuality. Many view dancing under the electric sky as an opportunity to creatively express themselves in a place free of judgment. Whether someone wants to wear a tutu, or banana suit, or dance like no one's watching, Electric Daisy Carnival encourages all of its "headliners" to be their unique selves and to find camaraderie amongst other music lovers.
Upon entering the gates of EDC Orlando, smiling headliners danced their way towards lockers, water stations, and cocktail tents in order to best prepare for the day's events. The joyous screams from carnival rides echoed off the citrus bowl walls. A varied assortment of dancing cymbal monkeys, zany party clowns, and some huge inflatable creatures joyfully bounce around the eager headliners. After passing various merchandise and food vendors, attendees were greeted by a giant spectacle of a stage, the Kinetic Cathedral. Two giant owls encased huge LCD screens made to look like beautifully intricate dance themed stained glass windows welcoming the thousands of dancing guests as they stomped onto the grounds. On the opposite side of the field (facing the cathedral), people could ride the iconic EDC ferris wheel and get the best view of this truly epic stage. Not only was this mini Vegas stage visually stunning, but it sent out wave after wave of ground-thumpingly loud electronic dance music. The earth was rhythmically vibrating beneath the stage and a sea of dancing fans.
The Kinetic Cathedral was not alone in its epic production of music and energy. Across the grounds, but still within eyesight of the ferris wheel, lay the Circuit Grounds stage. Covered in giant lizards and frogs, this stage glittered with LCD screens and lasers. The smaller grounds area in front of this stage allowed for a tighter group of thrilled fans to really get down and dirty. However, if that wasn't your scene and you preferred the fun-and-bouncy-give-you-the-fe
Electric Daisy Carnival is not just an opportunity to witness a larger than dreams spectacle of lights and pyrotechnics. It's also a first hand chance to see some of the biggest and best names in electronic dance music do what they do best. The lineup of DJs this year was incredible. Friday's Cathedral performances were varied and exciting. All artists and performances were amazing. Arty, and 3LAU pummeled their afternoon sets. They got the crowd pumped up with some hard hitting house and fun favorites. At the same time, Protohype and Flinch were destroying their sets at Circuit Grounds. Meanwhile, Article Moon and Emma Hewitt made their fans sway and dance at the Neon Stage. By the time Yellow Claw was introduced at the Cathedral, the crowd was ready to party!
For those wanting to dance it up with hardstyle and trap, then the Circuit Grounds stage was calling them. Poi spinners, LED glovers, and head-dressed dancers skipped, shuffled, and stomped their way thru the clouds of fog and confetti. Epic hard hitters like Dirtyphonics, Brillz, Datsik, and Flosstradamus filled the night air with slamming sets that made the crowd scream.
Back at the cathedral, the EDM fanatics were loving Cedric Gervais' sultry Miami sound, They were thrilled as Sander Van Doorn took the stage and brought his epic sounding house. Then, a sea of bouncing fans jumped and raised their hands as W&W came up bringing a solid mix of hardstyle, trance, and house, rocking the grounds. After their set, W&W graciously told us that they "loved collaborating with the big names, like Armin for trance and Headhunterz for hardstyle." They said they love producing different styles of songs and graciously thanked us and the crowds for coming out and supporting their music. They talked about their love for playing large shows like EDC and other festivals. When asked about the difference between shows in America vs in Europe, W&W commended the American audiences for bringing a level of energy and excitement that's unlike anything they've seen in Europe.
The evening kept rocking with Dash Berlin taking us to church. The "feels" ran heavy and the hands swayed high. Dash always knows how to bring the party and get the crowd melting into his Dutch smile. Dash put us all in a great mood and then welcomed Alesso to the stage to close out the night. Alesso's set was fantastic. He brought an awesome energy and excitement that pervaded the crowd and made us all feel united in our love for music.
As the chilly night came to a close, the thousands of exhausted headliners made their way towards their cars, homes, and after-parties. Their reflection over the first days events mixed with their anticipation for coming back on day 2 left an excited energy on the slowly emptying grounds.
Saturday's experience beneath the electric sky was similar to Friday's with the exception of the sporadic rain showers which glittered and sparkled in the lights and lasers. Despite the weather, nothing could keep these excited ravers from going hard and in even larger numbers than the day before. Especially since today the harder hitting DJs were slamming the crowd from the Cathedral instead of the smaller Circuit Grounds stage which was still primed and ready with a lineup that would keep any house fan thrilled.
Bouncing around stages was the best way to see as many top DJs as possible. The evening for us got going on top of the ferris wheel watching Headhunterz kill it at the Cathedral. Their set was hard hitting and an awesome party. He was incredible. Also, from the ferris wheel we could see the Circuit Grounds stage lit up and pulsing since Henry Fong was over there killing his set with some strong house that filled the air with excitement and he made the crowd bounce and wave along with his dreads. Once Fong was finished, Thomas Gold came on rocking the Circuit Grounds with his hard hitting progressive house. Gold conquered the Circuit Grounds and left the crowd pumped.
Moving back to the Cathedral we were able to catch the tropical sounding Dutch tech house duo Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. The two bring a passion and excitement behind the DJ booth that's so contagious it's impossible to not get swept up in their rocking good time. With hair bouncing and hands in the air, SJ & RM brought a unique sound to the cathedral that left everyone feeling the fun and excitement from the music. After their set the Dutch duo graciously spoke with us about their time on stage. They were thrilled with how the show went and wished they could have played for 3 hours and they appreciated how much positive energy the crowd gave them. They spoke of how they're greatly influenced by Michael Jackson's music and that they would have paid "any amount of money to do a collaboration with him." They also spoke of how the American audience "is expanding it's knowledge of dance music and they won't be fooled for the same old hits, they want new music." And that's exactly what SJ & RM like to play! They brought a new and exciting set of songs that the crowd was excited to dance to.
From across the lake we could hear Dillon Francis' voice echoing over the Mainstage field, "Give me an F!... Give me a U!" His funky moombahton ringing through the night air. Thousands of people were bouncing along and making angry duck face. It was awesome. After catching Dillon we bounded over to Circuit Grounds to catch the end of Oliver Heldens' fantastic deep house set. Following Heldens, it was time to run back to the Mainstage to catch another epic Dutch duo, Showtek. Having seen Showtek before, I knew they weren't to be missed. They always bring a hard style extravaganza that makes everyone dance, stomp and go for shoulder rides. Of course that's also after Showtek demands to put as many "hot girls" on our shoulders as possible.
The Showtek party was the perfect way to prepare for the next thing coming to the main stage, Steve Aoki. Aoki always brings an epic party. On top of his fun music he throws out cakes and inflatable rafts into the crowd to increase the party vibe. The flower gogo dancers and furry creatures that bounded around on stage made the spectacle that much greater.
Once Aoki's party was done it was time to slow down a bit. We caught the end of Above and Beyond at the Circuit Grounds. Their crowd was swaying and crying tears of joy. A&B will always be an emotional ride for its most loyal fans. Two lucky fans were brought up, in typical A&B fashion, to push the button and allow the drop that had been building to explode out and fill the crowds with smiles. Smiles that would only be fueled further by who was coming up next: the epic former Swedish House member, Steve Angello.
Angello would close out our EDC weekend with new mixes of SHM favorites as well as a few surprises and new hard hitters. The crowd had signs that said "In Angello we trust" and there were hands in the shape of an S pumping into the air. Angello's great house and fun vibe gets everyone going. People were jumping into the air and singing along. The rain shone brightly through the lights as if the stage were covered in jewels. It was a magical musical experience.
In addition to all the music and the fireworks and the lasers the unity and friendship that was shared at EDC was wonderful. Everyone was smiling and hugging and high-fiving and singing to each other. Music truly bonds us all together. Creating memories with our friends and listening to amazing DJs play on epically beautiful stages. These moments will never be forgotten. The smiles and joy that the thousands of headliners shared will forever be in our hearts. EDC encourages it's headliners to experience unity brought with music lovers and to share deep human connections. I commend Insomniac Events for their superb spectacle of sound. The experience as a whole was fantastic and I am excited to see how this event grows. Thanks to all the performers, artists, and smiling headliners for helping create an amazing weekend that will not easily be topped.
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