There may be excessive heat warnings in Las Vegas this weekend, but Electric Daisy Carnival was even hotter as the annual massive descended on the city for the first of three nights. June 16 welcomed revelers back to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway as neon and lasers abounded. Billboard Dance takes you on the scene with notable highlights that had them dancing until dawn.
9:13 p.m.: Whichever genius decided to plan construction along the routes to the speedway needs to be fired. All along Las Vegas Blvd. people are selling water to the cars barely crawling along, including one sign that says it’ll be two hours from that point. They weren’t kidding. It really did take that long to finally reach the parking lot.
11:52 p.m.: After getting water and unsuccessfully trying to buy earplugs at the merch stand (they said to check the general store), I hung back for Andy C at the Basspod. The crowd was grooving to a drum ‘n’ bass remix of Major Laser’s “Lean On,” but that’d be the most commercial track in the set. A guy that was a cross of Jesus with dreads and a caveman with faux fur shorts and boots was having the time of his life. However, if it wasn’t hot enough, the pyro upped the temperatures even all the way in the back.
12:03 a.m.: Arizona is in the house as the state’s flag waves midway through the crowd. Also spotted is a totem with Eric and Donald Trump Jr. — no wait, that’s Beavis and Butthead.
12:18 a.m.: The MC calls for everyone to put their peace signs up in the air and the masses oblige for a welcoming sight. A girl with a sign that says “Selena invented the rave bra” and a photo of the Tejano singer makes her way through the crowd. Good point. Andy C then goes into his track “Heartbeat Loud,” much to my delight.
12:53 a.m.: On the way to the Kinetic Field, my path is intersected by a parade of art cars and performers. The Wench art car adorned with the frame of a blimp follows people with butterfly wings, then comes a Pac-Man color-changing LED ghost and then the Boombox art car, complete with a DJ spinning where a tape deck would be.
12:56 a.m.: The owl-headed Egyptian gods at the entrance to the Kinetic Field are creepy AF. For some reason it reminds me of the scene in The NeverEnding Storywhere Bastian has to make it past the Oracle. I keep expecting lasers to shoot out of the owl-god’s eyes and fry me.
12:58 a.m.: Armin van Buuren is making sure the mainstage isn’t afraid of 138 and is banging it out. Though as is the case at the mainstage, the perfection of the visuals syncing with the tracks lets you know the set is preplanned.
1:02 a.m.: The Kinetic Field goes silent and dark suddenly. But wait, it’s just a fake technical glitch to coincide with Armin van Buuren’s track “This Is a Test,” and the production runs through a systems check in time with the song.
1:06 a.m.: Armin takes us down memory lane with a remix of the dancefloor classic “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good).
1:21 a.m.: A massive karaoke session is underway as the lyrics to “This Is What It Feels Like” display on the screens.
1:29 a.m.: “If you’re ready for the old school say ‘Yeah!’” The whole Kinetic Field waves their arms right and left in unison with Armin.
1:33 a.m.: The mainstage teases some fireworks and a few minutes later, they encompass the entire speedway as the sky lights up for the fireworks show.
1:45 a.m.: My earplugs mission has failed. After checking two additional places, they say they’re out. Really kicking myself for forgetting mine at home, so I end up lurking in the back of most stages to save my hearing.
1:48 a.m.: There’s a dude wearing a “Grab them by the pussy” shirt. Keep it classy, Vegas. “All Are Welcome Here” is this year’s EDC tagline, but that apparently includes a few jerks.
1:56 a.m.: Astrix is working them into a frenzy at the Quantum Valley tent, the Dreamstate branded all-trance area. I’m surprised there isn’t raver rain falling from the hot tent as a result of all the sweaty bodies rocking out to psytrance.
2:16 a.m.: I make friends with a couple from Palm Springs, and the wife offers me free face glitter. Everything is better with glitter, and I happily accept her offer.
2:24 a.m.: I spot my first old school raver of the night with oversized Kikwear jeans from the ’90s.
2:50 a.m.: There doesn’t seem to be as many kandi kids this year, but I finally found one guy with 3D cuffs so large from wrist to shoulder that he can’t put his arms down by his sides. Martha Stewart would be jealous of his craft skills.
3:04 a.m.: I found Waldo. There’s always at least one guy in the familiar red and white striped shirt and hat.
3:19 a.m.: Nicole Moudaber is throwing it down at the Neon Garden. If you ever wanted to see a white boy pulling out some Michael Jackson moves to techno, early Saturday morning was your chance.
3:24 a.m.: The PLUR is strong with the crowd listening to Nicole Moudaber. A guy with a green clown nose and suspenders offers me free gum.
4:50 a.m.: Pan Pot is digging deep for the last set of the night, but the visuals are distracting in that they remind me of retro Windows screen saver patterns. The sun begins to rise in the distance, and the duo behind the decks keep banging it out, although I would have preferred something that coincided with the mood of a sunrise better.
5:13 a.m.: On the way out, a dude steals the “All trash welcome here” wrap off a garbage can. Some people have the oddest taste in souvenirs.
Originally published on Billboard.com