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[ EDC 2016]

Looking back across two decades of EDC

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AP Photo/John Locher

• In 1991, Southern California promoters Stephen “Steve Kool-Aid” Enos and Gary Richards dub an edition of their Double Hit Mickey rave as Electric Daisy Carnival, held in Pomona, California. They throw additional EDC parties in ’92 and ’93.

• Another SoCal party promoter, Pasquale Rotella of Insomniac, attends Las Vegas-area rave Desert Move in 1996, planting a seed for his eventual relocation.

• One year later, Rotella—reportedly with permission from Richards and Enos—resurrects the Electric Daisy Carnival concept for a Shrine Expo Hall event in 1997. The growth of the LA party scene and the commercial rise of electronic music in America help EDC draw 6,000 revelers.

• The 2000 party, now in the San Joaquin Valley, draws more than 30,000—then said to be the largest attendance for a North American electronic dance massive.

• EDC expands for the first time in 2001, with a second festival in Austin, Texas. Lone Star operations end after the ’02 edition, restart with a successful 2010 Dallas event, and cease again after 2011.

• Current stage names like Kinetic Field, Cosmic Meadow, Neon Garden and BassPod are established at the 2005 EDC, held at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino.

• Fan demand and the beginning of the commercial EDM movement push EDC into Exposition Park and the Los Angeles Coliseum football stadium in 2007, headlined by Paul Oakenfold, Deep Dish and Kaskade.

• Insomniac gives expansion another shot with a Colorado EDC in 2008 (ending after the 2011 edition). In 2009, a third launches in Puerto Rico, which hosts the party for seven years. The festival eventually spreads to Orlando, New York City, Chicago (for one year), London, Mexico City and Sao Paulo.

• Back in LA, 2009 sees EDC expand to two days. Attendance hits the six-figure mark on the Saturday of the 2010 party, which creates havoc on the overcrowded Coliseum field. Worse, a 15-year-old attendee dies after an Ecstasy overdose, triggering lawsuits and a criminal investigation, and ending Insomniac’s four-year Coliseum run.

• Rotella and Insomniac head east on a red carpet rolled out by then-mayor Oscar Goodman and stages EDC 2.0 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011, drawing more than 230,000 attendees over three days.

• Saturday 2012 gets shut down by extreme winds, and two revelers die offsite, the first casualties linked to the event here. Since then, three other EDC Vegas attendees have died.

• In 2013, underground heroes Carl Cox and Richie Hawtin play the EDM-dominant Kinetic Field main stage, and Empire of the Sun becomes the last live band to play EDC Las Vegas.

• Documentary EDC 2013: Under the Electric Sky debuts at Sundance Festival in January 2014.

• EDC 2014 passes the 400,000 three-day attendance mark, as does the 2015 edition, establishing itself as the most-attended one-weekend music festival in North America.

• The Nevada legislature enacts an expansion of the Live Entertainment Tax that fests like EDC and Burning Man had thus far eluded, though Rotella cleverly counters by offering a presale for this year’s event that dodges the 9 percent bump nine days before its October 1 enactment.

• Projections put the local economic infusion by the five Vegas EDCs at $1.3 billion.

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Mike Prevatt

Mike started his journalism career at UCLA reviewing CDs and interviewing bands, less because he needed even more homework and ...

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