Talk of who’s playing Electric Daisy Carnival may be futile. Last year, it sold out before Insomniac Events even revealed the lineup. But a spike in electronic dance music festivals demands the flagship EDC curate the most prestigious artist roster anywhere.
Reviews for this year’s EDC were almost all raves, so to speak, but Insomniac nonetheless caught some heat for repeating too many (commercial) EDM bookings. So we’re offering our own suggestions among those yet to play EDC Vegas, culled mostly from underrepresented areas of electronic music. Call it a wish list—or just wishful thinking—but these acts would diversify and evolve the fest … and its patronage.
Live music: With more and more non-DJ electronic/dance acts emerging, it’s high time EDC established a respectable live music component. Who would sniffle at big-catalog titans like The Chemical Brothers, Underworld or, ahem, Daft Punk? Genre-thwarting, breakout acts such as Disclosure and Scuba would kick-start serious buzz. And a Kraftwerk booking would give an overdue nod to the genre’s roots.
House: Speaking of dance music’s roots, EDC Vegas has overlooked anything resembling classic, R&B- and funk-influenced house. Where are the likes of Armand Van Helden and Felix da Housecat; or soulful icons such as Osunlade, Maya Jane Coles and Miguel Migs; or legends like Todd Terry and (Las Vegas resident) Jesse Saunders?
Progressive: Prog/tech dynamo James Zabiela hasn’t played the Vegas fest yet, nor has the colorful Lee Burridge, who would appreciate EDC’s Burning Man inspiration. Freshmen Fehrplay and Jeremy Olander, signed onto Eric Prydz’ label, would be a good fit for EDC, and after seeing Germany’s Paul Kalkbrenner at Coachella’s Sahara stage, we know he would be, too.
Deep/groove/tech house and minimal techno: EDC honored the “deep” umbrella genre with its own stage last year, but Vegas has still not seen the revered likes of Richard Villalobos, Maceo Plex (or his more techno-oriented act, Maetrik), Luciano or Nicolas Jaar.
Techno: Talent outnumbers opportunity here, despite rave culture’s debt to the genre. An entire night at the Neon Garden stage devoted to Detroit techno would provide some karmic relief, especially since none of that scene’s figureheads—Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Carl Craig, Jeff Mills—have performed at the Speedway. The same can be said for fest-hopping electro-tech act Simian Mobile Disco and French upstart Gesaffelstein.
Indie/nu-disco: Insomniac seems dismissive of anything resembling the Ed Banger or Downtown sound. But we’d start frothing if EDC booked names like Aeroplane, Sebastian, John Talabot, Horse Meat Disco, Todd Terje, Breakbot and even former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy (or his vinyl-only Despacio project with 2 Many DJs, which uses a 50,000-watt, eight-speaker-stack setup.).
Bass music: The Basspod stage could use some greater sonic breadth and new faces. How about a DJ set from beloved drum ’n’ bass band Pendulum, or a live performance from atmospheric act Netsky? Or the gorgeous DNB of Bachelors of Science? Or the anti-trap duo TNGHT? And as far as dubstep is concerned, let’s offset the usual aggro flatulence with some post-dubstep (Joy Orbison), U.K. dubstep (Burial) and, um, “lovestep” (Kill Paris).
Eclectic: There’s no easy placement for them within the style-specific stages at EDC, but signing on Jamie xx, Gramatik, SBTRKT, Daphni (that’s Caribou for you indie fans) and/or Four Tet would offer EDC some added cred—and festivalgoers some real EDM alternatives.
Local: Besides our vast DJ population, there are producer/DJs 3lau (Justin Blau) and Black Boots to consider.
Deadmau5: How has he not played EDC Vegas yet? Get on that, guys.
The case for the Anti-BPM stage
It’ll (probably) never happen, but EDC could benefit from the addition of some electronic music designed not to get people dancing, for when folks crave a break from big beats and rhythmic basslines. We’re not talking about acts without followings; Scottish downtempo duo Boards of Canada, for example, has loads of fans itching for a rare live appearance, as do other established experimentalists like Aphex Twin and Autechre. And while the noisy ambient strains of Tim Hecker and Oneohtrix Point Never won’t get confused for Skrillex’s latest single, they would make the fest more inclusive—and far more interesting. —Spencer Patterson