edc 2019 recap

Hey Everyone! It’s finally time to discuss edc 2019.

First of all, I can’t believe we are one month (and some change) out from edc 2019. It feels like it happened six months ago. Probably because the weather is dramatically different from what it was during the festival. Let’s get into it.

If I had to sum up edc 2019 in one word, I would use: chaos. It was probably the weirdest year I’ve attended thus far (*knocks on wood*.)

Looking back, I miss it incredibly and I wish I could go again tonight. I’m sitting here thinking that I’m not fully satisfied. For the first time attending a festival, any festival, I could not get enough. I’ve been to multiple festivals with different formats over the years and never before have I been so sad for it to be over. Of course you have the BonnaBlues (when leaving Bonnaroo) or Monday morning at work sucks because you stayed downtown at Life is Beautiful all night. But this overwhelming need for an “edc weekend 2” is a whole new territory.

Perhaps it’s the fact that adulthood can be treacherous and paying your bills, cleaning the stove and going to the dentist are less fun than crafting outfits and running around festival grounds hearing fantastic music. Oh well.

Let’s talk about the weather and the chaos of it all.

IT WAS SO COLD. Colder than we were expecting and planning for. On Day 1 we didn’t think it would be that cold at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (where the event takes place). So I wore my Queen of Hearts bra (that I made) with leggings and no jacket. My brother wore shorts and a tank top because he is not a Vegas Local and he’s used to colder weather.

We were both surprised and disappointed when it turned out to be so cold after the sun went down and the winds picked up.

After riding the swings carnival ride, we decided we could last longer if we just bought a sweatshirt. Us and thousands of other people had the same idea because we waited in line for probably close to two hours to buy one. We stood in line, made friends, froze and heard rumor upon rumor that all the warm stuff was sold out. When we got to the front of the line we learned that the rumors were, in fact, true. We made the unfortunate choice to leave early in an attempt to not be absolutely miserable all night.

As much as this sucked we drove through the Taco Bell drive thru and watched The Office while better planning our Day 2 outfits.

Day 2

When we woke up on Saturday morning we learned via social media that Insomniac would be opening up Camp EDC to everyone to check out. Honestly such a smart move on their part as it made me more open to staying there in the future.

Some background – 2018 was the first year the festival offered an on-site accommodation option. They have tents, RV’s, pools, stores, food and some pretty cool hang out areas with a bunch of fun activities. Bonnaroo was my very first festival and it also happens to be a camping festival which I love. It’s nice to be able to walk in and out of the festival grounds at your leisure and it’s definitely the safest route if you want to party.

We spent some time walking around, checking out the offerings and observing. It was awesome and I plan to camp at some point within the next couple of years. As nice as it is to come home everyday, I think the camping experience might give edc that extra quality of community it sometimes can be lacking.

I was pumped for Day 2 because I had probably thee best and my most favorite outfit I’ve ever worn to edc. (See below.) We also had sweats and sweatshirts in tow so we were fully prepared (or so we thought) for what the night might throw at us.

My favorite sets of the night were Rezz and Loud Luxury – who surprised me. I love their music but I wasn’t sure if they would deliver a festival set. They did. I’m here to tell you that they can definitely play more than just “Body” (a great song that I personally jam to all the time.)

I was especially excited for Day 2 because my beloved KASKADE  was playing and I never miss a chance to see my boy. He’s my favorite DJ EVER, he’s been the soundtrack to the best and worst times in my life and I have lyrics to his song 4AM tattooed on my wrist. The only thing left is to meet the guy (seriously who can hook it up?).

So imagine my disappointment when we  made our way to Kinect Field (the main stage) only to see mass amounts of people walking the other way and a message on the screens.

Now I get this, it all makes sense. As someone who has worked events, I have the curse of seeing it from both angles. This was done to avoid some major liability which I appreciate very much especially after seeing other festivals not having plans to get their guests out of the venue due to weather or forcing them to walk 4 miles back to their hotels (looking at you Ultra).

What I did not appreciate, however, was the volunteer worker who screamed in my face to “get out of here and find something else to do.” Did I move to the “secure location” he was squawking about? Yep, sure did. Did I want to go to another stage which at that point would be overcrowded due to the closing of the main stage and potentially miss an update or KASKADE suddenly taking the stage? No, no I did not.

So we stuck around to see if anything would change or if KASKADE would come out. Spoiler alert – he did not. : (

At that point in the night the wind was crazy, it was cold and we made the choice to bail at 3am. That night, there was no way and KASKADE never played a sunrise surprise set. So he better play next year because we need some redemption. (Yes he plays clubs here all the time but a club set is so different from a festival set.)

Day 3

I had a whole different outfit for Day 3 and instead I said “Fuck that I’m gonna be warm and comfy” which was hands down thee best decision I made all weekend. I started in an Under Armour long sleeve shirt, Barstool sweatshirt and brought my sweats with me. That night, I learned that sometimes to have the best possible time, you have to make yourself comfortable.

On Sunday night we saw some great sets including San Holo, Timmy Trumpet, Illenium, Dillon Francis and Bonnie X Clyde while watching the sun rise. I think San Holo was my favorite set of the weekend, he is some kind of magic. I felt so much lighter, happier and alive after his set and his encouraging words were much appreciated. And if I didn’t get to see KASKADE, I’m glad I got to see San Holo.

We also rode a few of the carnival rides which I’ve never really done in previous years. For the first time in my life, I got to ride in the very back row of the pirate ship that rocks back and forth. Let me tell you, that was wild. Definitely one of my favorite rides of all time.

I forgot my earplugs so we made sure to make a stop at Ground Control’s Headquarter’s within the festival. Insomniac (the company who presents edc) does a great job of providing resources for their attendees. At Ground Control, you can take a break if feeling overwhelmed, get supplies like earplugs and chapstick and learn about overdosing symptoms or toxic drug/alcohol combinations.

Insomniac has a great security and medical team that roams the venue all night ensuring that guests are safe and healthy. I think the company is very much aware of the reputation the rave scene tends to get and they have done a good job of cultivating a space where people are free to enjoy the experience in whatever fashion they choose.

To be very clear, Insomniac does not promote the use of illegal substances. It is still very much illegal to have, consume or distribute them at the event. They won’t, however, turn you away if you or someone in your group is having a problem. They want to keep everyone safe, healthy and alive. A massive shout out as well because there were no fatalities this year at the festival.

Now not everyone is there to experiment. Many people, including myself, want to go to enjoy the music, dance and hang out with cool people minus the substances. But they really do need to order more Red Bull next year because they ran out on Day 3.

Which brings me to another not-so-fun point in the weekend. The crowds and an attitude I saw way too much of.

The rave community is based on PLUR – Peace, Love, Unity, Respect. What it comes down to is being nice to other people, not judging, expressing yourself, enjoying your life, letting others do the same and looking out for each other. While I did see many people embodying these attributes, I saw more people not doing that. I’m not saying if you come to edc you need to adopt a cult-like attitude and brainwash yourself into being a full-on raver. What I am saying, however, is you need to not be a complete and total asshole. And that’s not just at edc, it’s at any festival you attend.

That means not pushing and shoving without saying excuse me, having some respect for the people you are cutting through with your 35-person rave train and calming the hell down. Basically, be courteous of the other human beings you’re sharing the space with. We’re all there for the same reason and no one needs negative vibes to ruin their experience.

Something you may not know about me is that I get anxiety in massive crowds. I feel like I’m on the verge of a panic attack if all I see is people around me and I can’t find an escape route. It stems from getting nearly trampled in a concert crowd when I was 18, my height and the general state of the world. So when I get a bunch of people surrounding me and pushing me just so that they can get to the front of the stage or crowd in close so they can stand with their friends, I get overly annoyed and bitchy. It’s a legit fear for me and when all this is done without an excuse me or an “I’m sorry”, I get pissed. Thesis of this point: be a better festival goer. Be considerate. Don’t be a douche canoe. Treat others the way you want to be treated. 

Let’s move on to something more fun – the art installations, stage designs, atmosphere models and overall aesthetic of the festival.

I love the art and aesthetic of edc. The bright neon, intricate stage designs and beautifully costumed atmosphere models are so fun and bring an interesting element to the festival as a whole. This is the place where my neon-obsession became solidified (Vegas in general being the place where the obsession was born.) I’ll share some photos because it’s hard to talk about beautiful things, it’s easier to observe them so, enjoy : )

Overall, we had a chaotic, but fun weekend. This was my fourth edc and I definitely enjoyed myself. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be attending next year but if that’s the way my path goes I will be thoroughly excited to be there. I love picking out, putting together and creating unique outfits and dancing all night.

To wrap up, I’m going to share my thoughts on a question I’ve been asked a few times before: the appropriate age to attend edc.

This is tricky because everyone is different and at different places in their lives. Let’s start with the facts. To have a GA wristband you must be 18 years old and to have a VIP wristband you must be at least 21 years old. The first  security checkpoint verifies that the age on your ID matches the age requirement for your wristband. So this is taken very seriously.

In my honest opinion, I think 18 is a good age to experience this festival. I took my brother last year after he turned 18 and he had a great time. I think a serious conversation should be had with your child if they’re wanting to go and they’ve never been. They need to know to avoid people that make them feel uncomfortable or who are asking them about drugs. Again, the security team is great and a constant presence so they can get you the help you need. I personally went to my first festival at the age of 22 only because I had no one to go with prior to that.

I don’t have kids so I’m not the best authority on this topic, however. At this point in time I would say that if my potential future children want to go I might go with them at 18 to help show them the ropes and be a resource if they need it. That’s obviously easier said than done because I’m currently trying to keep the cactus my boss got me for Christmas alive so…who knows.

To answer that question concisely I would say – it depends on who your kid is as a human and how exposed (or not) they may be to the world.

I hope this was informative and interesting for you whether you’ve been to edc or you’re wanting to go! As always, if you have questions feel free to comment or message me on Instagram!

Author: Jess

Las Vegas local / writer, creator, festival goer, explorer, marketer, promoter, special event & experience curator

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