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17 months later, EDC Las Vegas’ ‘electric sky’ glowed anew [Review]

17 months later, EDC Las Vegas’ ‘electric sky’ glowed anew [Review]01 EDC Las Vegas 2021 Billboard 1548 1635199085 Compressed

EDC Las Vegas bent to the COVID-19 pandemic—but it didn’t break, and on October 22, 2021, Insomniac‘s flagship festival arched its proverbial back and stood tall once again across the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Come May of 2022, it’ll do just that as Pasquale Rotella and company reassert their promise that pandemic or no pandemic, their headliners will safely assemble under the electric sky.

October of 2021 marked the Sin City mainstay’s 25-year anniversary, a legacy of capable and forward-thinking festival production that was evident from the complimentary fanny packs and water bottles lovingly distributed to shuttle takers to the physical stage structures. Like other festival and event operators who were sidelined one-and-a-half years or more by the COVID-19 health crisis, Insomniac had a considerable amount of time to contemplate how to best return to the live programming circuit after an unforgettable stretch of time marked by the quietude of no in-person gatherings and music experienced mainly via livestream. And as the October 22 – 24 span demonstrated, the organizer’s approach was measured and well-planned, such that festival attendance felt normal and the devastating events of earlier months, far removed.

Festival-goers were required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken within 72 hours of arrival at EDC. After presenting the necessary documentation, attendees were granted access to the grounds, touted by Insomniac as an “oversized playground with all your favorite full-size thrills.” Indeed, the “thrills” were anything but fun-sized at the whimsical, LED-driven setting. Bedecked with eight different stages, performers—some on stilts, some in costumes, and some with art pieces in hand—a Downtown EDC area, rides by the many, bars, food booths, art installations, and other accents equally as kooky as they were imaginative, the EDC grounds functioned as an outdoor fun house of sorts where there was always something to see and always something to do.

Attendees traipsed, ran, jumped, and danced through asphalt sprinkled with water bottles, kandi and other “ground scores,” and the glitter and feathers that fell every now and then from the more eccentric outfits donned at the Motor Speedway. Over the years, the electronic music news and music media cycle has always paid close attention to the EDC Las Vegas stage designs and lineup, and with good reason. But what reviews and other thought pieces on the Insomniac favorite don’t always canvass is the vibrancy and camaraderie of the crowd that consumes the boisterous, energy-ridden affair that is EDC Las Vegas.

As an East Coast resident who frequents many shows and festivals in the tri-state area, the facet of the event most surprising to the author of this review was the consistent and prevalent kindness and concern that fellow festival-goers demonstrated throughout the course of the weekend. The music lovers who frequented EDC LV 2021 were talkative, engaged, and considerate, with “where are you from,” “is this your first EDC?,” “would you like some of my [given item],” and “sorry! [when accidentally pushing/bumping another],” were epithets of the weekend. The sheer humanity shown during the three-day celebration of EDC LV’s return was a heartening reminder that “PLUR” was still intact and human contact not only sought but also invited by others. Coming mere months after emergence from nationwide lockdowns, the feelings of togetherness and unity able to be experienced at EDC carried a new sense of novelty.

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Featured image: EDC Las Vegas
17 months later, EDC Las Vegas’ ‘electric sky’ glowed anew [Review]248822662 594295538430202 3700417157640652272 N
Featured image: EDC Las Vegas

EDC LV attracted more than 450,00-plus headliners and reinforced its message of inclusivity through a large billboard placed just near the festival entrance that read “ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.” It was true, and each day from 7:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. local time, headliners unique in their respective ways yet likened by their affinity for dance music diffused across kineticFIELD, cosmicMEADOW, circuitGROUNDS, neonGARDEN, bassPOD, wasteLAND, quantumVALLEY, and stereoBLOOM. For the first time in EDC LV history, this motif of inclusivity also led Insomniac to embrace the music lovers at home, broadcasting the action via livestream.

On the ground, EDC LV ran like the well-oiled machine that it is, with sets occurring on time, shuttles running in a prompt and coordinated fashion, and festival staff capably and quickly attending to requests of various kinds. Waits for premiere shuttles (the author of this review used a premiere shuttle pass) were short and pass holders were able to expeditiously board their shuttles at the time they specified at the time of pass purchase.

Standby wait times for premiere shuttles were also remarkably short, with the sole delay experienced when waiting on standby to leave the festival at its conclusion (5:30 p.m.) on its final day of operation. However, this is a delay of an expected nature; future EDC LV-goers should anticipate waits if they purchase a premiere shuttle pass with a shuttle departure earlier than 5:30 a.m./6:00 a.m. and attempt to go on standby to leave the festival at/after 5:30 p.m. on the last day. This is the busiest time of EDC LV shuttle coordination as many—if not most—premiere and standard shuttle pass holders plan to exit the festival at this time. EDC LV’s shuttle team/drivers worked quickly to shepard headliners home, with those in the premiere standby line able to begin boarding shuttles as early as 7:15 a.m. This was the result of Insomniac’s expert shuttle planning.

Wait times for restrooms were also short, thanks to the presence of various GA+ and standard restrooms throughout the grounds. It’s worth noting that those who intend to attend EDC LV 2022 or a later iteration of the festival should consider purchasing a GA+ Experience Pass over a GA Experience Pass, as the former affords access to the GA+ restrooms. The GA+ bathrooms are placed closer to the stages than the standard restrooms, translating to a shorter walk across the grounds for bathroom purposes. Needless to say, this is immensely helpful given the expanse of the Motor Speedway and the volume of EDC LV attendees. If you are cutting set times close or plan to jump from stage to stage, purchasing the GA+ Experience Pass is in your best interest as the greater availability and proximity to the stages of the GA+ restrooms greatly expedites the restroom experience. Of note, the GA+ restrooms are also premium, air-conditioned restroom trailers versus standard porta potties. Having used both the GA+ and standard restrooms, the author of this review can affirm that the extra expense associated with the GA+ Experience Pass is worthwhile.

As in past years of production, EDC LV’s 2021 lineup was packed with star power. The roster of talent spanned more than 220 electronic titans such as ZeddAlessoMartin GarrixThe ChainsmokersTiësto, and Nicky Romero. The event simultaneously welcomed a robust number of up-and-comers such as Dancing Astronaut Artists to Watch in 2021, Qrion and John Summit. Surprise guests also took to the festival’s various stages, with The Kid Laroi joining DJ Snake at kineticFIELD and Lil Nas X appearing alongside Diplo at cosmicMEADOW. Dancing Astronaut‘s social team was also live on location, delivering coverage of the 2021 festivities through Instagram and Twitter.

From May 20 – 22, 2022, EDC LV, the world’s largest dance music festival, will return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for its 26th year of production. Information about the event’s May follow-up will be available on Insomniac’s website, where fans can sign up to receive information on the 2022 installment, including pre-sale codes and other festival-related announcements, as it becomes available. In the meantime, relive the EDC LV 2021 magic on Dancing Astronaut‘s Twitter and Instagram channels.

Featured image: Insomniac

The post 17 months later, EDC Las Vegas’ ‘electric sky’ glowed anew [Review] appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

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