Let me preface by stating that this is the first electronic dance music festival I have ever attended. With that out of the way, this is the best music festival I have ever attended.
Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando – what an absolute dream. Prior to setting foot inside Tinker Field, I had no benchmark to base a comparison to EDC Orlando. I had heard folks talk of EDC Las Vegas, Tomorrowland, and other giants in the music industry, but did not bother to even set an expectation. I wanted to walk in, no bias in mind, and just take everything as it came. I can tell you without a doubt that if Insomniac holds its other festivals at the same degree of standards and you have yet to attend one of their events, you must. Pasquale Rotella, Insomniac’s founder and CEO, has truly shown a magnitude of care for this venue, paralleled only to that of parent and child. The production value, excellent visuals, roaring, yet crystal-clear, sound quality, attention to details, etc., really resonated as you journeyed through this musical theme-park.
Upon entry, the first thing you are greeted with is the most common aspect of every festival and the only negative downside to this one: long security lines. Now, we all know that lines are necessary. They keep order and allow the employees to maintain our festival experience fun, yet safe. When a metal detector goes out of commission on Day Two, however, and the only response is to merge two lanes into one, this can lead to a few displeased headliners. Not because of impatience, but because they just missed that entire Alan Walker set heard in a stage far, far away.
As soon as you enter, though, it is as if you are Alice entering Wonderland for the very first time; all preconceived notions are broken. Giant neon flowers, zip-lines, Ferris wheel, people in characters making your experience more immersive, little village stores set up all over, and finally, the venues.
It really is an indescribably intimate feeling, being one in the massive crowd, whether it be in Kinetic Field, Neon Garden, or Circuit Grounds; the event plays like a fairy tale. Everyone carries a radiant smile in this unique atmosphere of acceptance. There was never a single time where I felt out of place or unacknowledged, even during my awkward dancing in front of the Boombox Art Car. In fact, I feel like the more I let go and the more I was myself, the more I felt at home. And it is just that for many people, a home. I met others from unimaginable places, like Canada and Mexico, yet everyone treated me like a brother. In a day and age where people will curse you for taking a second too long to move on a green light, it was truly a welcomed sight.
As the sun begins to tuck itself away, and the night takes over, you notice a whole new world. Most don’t really give it thought, but lighting engineering is not an easy task. Yet Insomniac somehow made it look like child’s play with beautiful, well-timed visuals and pyrotechnics. Picture yourself in darkness with a massive crowd full of anticipation, smoke inundating the area from the previous set, stage barely visible. Suddenly, the bass kicks, vibrating in your chest, and lasers cut through that smoke like a blade. You look up, and the entire sky is netted with these massive, colorful lines. It is incredible.
One thing that really stood out to me, and I hope gets the recognition it deserves, is how caring the staff at the event was. Whether it was Ground Control, the characters, or even the vendors, you felt important. If you had the EDC Orlando mobile application, you would be frequently notified that it was time to hydrate. This small thing made the biggest difference, at least for me.
Insomniac also had a mobile hospital unit tucked in next to Kinetic Field, and its purpose was to get knowledgeable doctors to fix you up on-site so that you could go back and continue enjoying your night. Most festivals I have been to would have just sent you to the nearest hospital with no chance of coming back in, but not them. This is something that I was grateful for and really stood out.
I can say without a doubt in my mind that I fell in love, and that is not something I say lightly. I have always been a fan of rock and hip-hop, and while I was familiar with and enjoyed some electronic music, I did not expect it to become a part of my life. EDC did just that for me. It allowed me to step out and my comfort zone and experience a certain bond to the music and its people, that I truly fell in love. I laughed, I jumped, and I had the best weekend of my life with individuals who were complete strangers to me before, and are now a second family. I am grateful to have captured the moments I did, and I hope you feel the energy through my lens. Again, if you have not attended any Electric Daisy Carnival event, please do yourself the favor of doing so.