If it feels like Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas has been happening a lot lately, that's because it has—twice during the past seven months.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the three-day electronic music festival was forced to skip 2020 and then push its 2021 edition into October. But this past weekend, for the first time since 2019, EDC was back at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in its normal May time slot—with an enhanced footprint, including one brand new stage, to host many of the top acts in the dance-music scene.
Security personnel estimated attendance at more than 100,000 attendees per night. And though high winds forced the cancelation of Friday night’s traditional fireworks, the party was otherwise unaffected by weather, with the momentum continuing through to Monday morning.
Two Weekly reporters spent Saturday night at the Speedway; these are their top takeaways.
A good party goes all-out with its theme, and EDC doesn't disappoint. This year, the festival focused on Kinetic Bloom, a celebration of growth and planting positive seeds for our future selves.
Kinetic Field, the main stage where Tiësto, David Guetta, DJ Snake and other big names played, heavily embodied that theme with stunning accuracy. Two emerald goddess statues stood watch over the stage like botanical gatekeepers, a sunburst flower blooming at the center with cathedral-like glass panes alight and glowing. It was a beautiful flex on EDC’s part, a reminder of the festival team’s creativity and remarkable design power.
Several other stages also debuted new looks this year, and Bionic Jungle, which first appeared at EDC New Mexico, joined the Las Vegas version's eight other stages this time. The new stage appeared like something out of The Jungle Book, its hanging wires and bionic structures framing it like overgrown nature.
Wasteland, shaped entirely from shipping containers, also received a neat face-lift. That played well with the Mad Max-style look of the neighboring Nomad's Land, which featured motorcycle cage stunts there and random fire lighting up the shanty-town of metal. –Amber Sampson
Downtime doesn't exist at EDC, with more than 200 acts on the poster for the weekend. HoneyLuv kicked off our evening right, with an open-format Stereobloom stage set that put a smoke machine to good use. Felix Da Housecat then blew the roof off Bionic Jungle, with a light show syncing to his transitions and adding to the surreal environment.
Droves of people turned out for Grimes’ DJ set, leaving us to wonder, were they fans of her music, or simply familiar with her former partner Elon Musk? We found someone in the later camp in the VIP section, a man who said he worked for Musk's Tesla company. “I figured, shoot, I’ve gotta at least check her out. … If you’re a billionaire who wants to be with a DJ, more power to ya.” He left halfway into Grimes’ set, but we were captivated by her celestial stage presence. Her long, loosely flowing white sleeves rode the night wind as etch-a-sketch graphics displayed the Canadian artist on the Cosmic Meadow stage screens. It felt equally like performance art.
Chill trap man Jauz brought Snoop Dogg onstage, marking the Doggfather’s second festival appearance in Las Vegas in two weeks, after his unbilled appearance at Lovers & Friends. And Kaskade and Deadmau5 debuted together as Kx5, rocking the Circuit Grounds in one of the most anticipated performances of the weekend. –AS
Crowd totems help make EDC what it is today, and there were plenty to remember. A couple of our favorites were an animated sign of Tina from Bob’s Burgers, twerking to her heart’s content, and a “Hug Menu” sign listing off a variety of specialty items, including friend hugs, rave bae hugs, bear hugs and group hugs. We’ll have one of each, please.
Flags were also huge in popularity and size. During HoneyLuv’s set, we caught a swath of Nickelodeon’s iCarly in the air, along with several international flags from countries like China and Sweden. It’s a cool reminder of just how many people flock to EDC from all around the world or to support DJs from their homelands. –AS
People of all shapes, sizes and ages (older than 21)—some in wheelchairs, some with visual impairments—were there to enjoy the experience. Festival outfits revealed butt cheeks, and overheard conversations revealed a crowd going with the flow. “Every butt cheek I’ve seen here has been against my will,” said one man walking toward the festival entrance among many bare-butted attendees.
“I love those sexy owl men,” exclaimed one woman, grudgingly following her group away from the Parliament art car, as one of the costumed dancers seductively crawled along the nest-ship’s starboard and beckoned to the audience.
When things weren’t going smoothly, festival staff intervened promptly. “My friend’s trying to crawl over into this stall,” said a woman in a VIP restroom, after an attendee had somehow become locked in. The friend smiled and waved at me from the top of the stall divider. In under a minute, a member of the festival security staff entered. “I’m very sorry,” she told the attendee inside the stall as she jerked at the door from the outside and called on her radio for backup. (At least it happened in the air-conditioned VIP bathrooms.)
Festivalgoers had plenty of room to spread out during early hours, and were courteous as the grounds became more crowded as the night wore on. One couple that had filed through the crowd at the Bass Pod stage, eager to see Blunts & Blondes, even opted to relocate after noticing they'd blocked my view. Thanks, guys! –Shannon Miller
Traffic wasn't terrible! (For us, at least.) So long as attendees followed festival guidance, the road to EDC seemed fairly smooth. Digital signs on the highway told festivalgoers to exit on Craig Road, cutting congestion at the Speedway exit.
At the festival itself, staff were plentiful and seemed happy to be there_from parking attendees to food vendors to safety personnel. And they did a good job. For example, when one attendee told security that his friend—who had laid down in the grass at Cosmic Meadow—wasn’t feeling well, it didn't take long for additional staff to help him up and relocate him so he could receive attention. EDC sets a high bar for festival public safety and medical response.
Overall, the planning and attention that went into Electric Daisy Carnival 2022 continues to help the festival state its case as one of the most impressive in Las Vegas or anywhere else. –SM