Focusing this year on a theme of “color”—inspired in part by the birth of festival founder Pasquale Rotella’s daughter, Rainbow Aurora—Insomniac Creative Director Bunny and his team unleashed nearly 500 stilt walkers, puppeteers, aerialists and dancers on the Speedway to roam the festival grounds and take to its seven stages and theatrical “art cars” throughout Electric Daisy Carnival weekend.
“We wanted to create a completely immersive, interactive experience,” Bunny says of this year’s onslaught of round-the-clock theatrics. He and his team certainly one-upped last year’s closing fireworks display. The aesthetic overload culminated last Sunday in a new hour-long grand finale performance called the “Night Owl Experience” at the 80,000-capacity Kinetic Field. The brainchild of Rotella and unprecedented in size and scope, the show featured EDC’s full cast of characters in a carefully-orchestrated synthesis of music, choreography, live and pre-cut video, pyrotechnics, fireworks, lasers and light shows—all mapped out the night before on a Word spreadsheet by Jila Alaghamandan, Insomniac entertainment director and Bunny’s right hand.
“Everything we set out to do is here. It’s been great. It’s beautiful,” she says of their vision for this year’s EDC versus its execution. “This is such a huge year for EDC, but we feel like that every year.”
So how does a fest known for spectacle that attracts 115,000 people nightly top itself? Bunny says it’s less about out-doing the previous year than building on the momentum and innovation that comes with each production and festival completed. “I always think that, like, where do we go from here? But then I’ll be sitting at dinner and then I’ll get an idea.” Thanks to Insomniac’s new partnership with event behemoth Live Nation, officially confirmed by Rotella at Insomniac's EDMbiz conference last Thursday, there’s even more support to push forward. The venture opens Insomniac’s burgeoning fanbase to Live Nation, while bolstering the event promoter with its capital and organizational stability. Bunny says that means the opportunity to keep expanding EDC’s immersive spectacle, as well as focus more on Insomniac’s media projects like event trailers and possibly even a feature film.
While some members of the EDM community are wary about increasing corporate involvement in the industry, Bunny says the support of a large company gives him more creative control, not less. “It’s a partnership. They’re not taking us over. They’d be hurting themselves by replacing me and Jila with some suits,” he says. “The challenge isn’t making [productions] happen, but getting people to see that ‘mainstream’ support isn’t a bad thing.”