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Electric Daisy Carnival’s massive stages take an army to set up—and some serious imagination

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Fireworks explode over the Kinetic Field during the Electric Daisy Carnival.
Photo: Steve Marcus

Electric Daisy Carnival has taken over the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for one weekend every year since 2011, turning it into an electronic music wonderland.

From load in to load out, EDC employs more than 3,000 staff members to make sure everything runs smoothly and that attendees have the best experience possible. And it takes weeks for stagehands and crew members to build the eight breathtaking stages, stationary art cars and 1,200 acres of magic strewn across the sprawling Las Vegas Motor Speedway grounds.

“They’re all on different timelines, depending on how involved the stages are,” explains Forrest Hunt, executive producer for promoter Insomniac. “The bigger ones take about two weeks from load in to the very first day of the show. The other stages take about 10 days.”

Dreaming up the massive set designs is none other than Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella. “Once Pasquale comes up with the concepts and themes and ideas, then myself, Pasquale and a couple of different creative teams sit down and work on different sketches and drawings and 3D models of his vision. … It’s the slowest process out of everything. From building the stages to tearing them down, it [can] take up to six months.”

In fact, the logistics behind the stages are so in-depth, planning for EDC 2020 has already started, Hunt says. With Insomniac hosting Electric Daisy Carnivals all over the world, it’s important not to recycle any old concepts, and to make sure that Pasquale’s vision gets realized as closely as possible at the Speedway.

Once designs are approved, when the engineers are called in to make sure everything is built to withstand the heat and wind of the desert.

“Everything has to be engineered to withstand these winds so the headliners aren’t in danger,” Hunt says. “Once we have the structure in place, we work with different scenic companies to make sure the concepts translate to the real world.”

Hunt says there are 300 or more people working on the biggest stages each day, handling everything from audio and video to special affects like water, lasers, lighting and fog. The Kinetic Field stage alone stands 92 feet high and 446 feet long and uses 37 lasers, 10 fog machines, more than 40 flame units, 16 streamer and confetti cannons, 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide and 846 pounds of steamers and confetti.

“It’s a bit of a process to get exactly what [Pasquale] wants,” Hunt says, “but I think we do a good job of getting pretty close.”

ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL May 17-19; Friday, 4 p.m.-5:30 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 7 p.m.-5:30 a.m.; $319-$779. Las Vegas Motor Speedway, lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com.

Tags: Music, Featured, EDC
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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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