Electrical Storm: The Electric Daisy Carnival 2010 in Review

 “So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
-Hunter S. Thompson

There was a moment this weekend at the Electric Daisy Carnival when the whole thing nearly exploded. In my head, I mean, since even through all the fireworks, the Coliseum remains to this day in one piece.

But as your mind tries to comprehend what’s happening in front of your eyes, the synapses spark together so fast that they nearly burn down everything in sight. From glowstick-wielding dancers to latex-clad pirates, laser lights to confetti blasts filling the air, it’s all a full-scale war on the senses. A few hours of this and you have no idea what your life was like before you got here, and as you spill out to the streets at four in the morning, ready to come back for another day of the crush, you don’t really mind.

It’s important to note that we came prepared for this event. Smash resembled a mountain-climbing pirate, Duke played it cool wearing his Randolph Engineering shades long into the darkness, and I had on a flowered shirt that hasn’t seen the world since the last EDC.

It was always going to be a daunting task for Insomniac Events founder Pasquale Rotella and his team to top the spectacle and attendance of last year’s Electric Daisy Carnival. “We had an amazing turnout this year,” said publicist Alexandra Greenberg.

Friday was 85,000, Saturday was sold out at 100,000 – totaling 185,000 over the weekend. The latter makes EDC the largest attended music festival in America (per day).

This year, the stage shows were bigger, there were more carnival rides and art exhibits, and quite possibly the best top-to-bottom line-up of electronic music artists Insomniac has assembled yet for their signature event.

“Something like this is really exciting,” explained BT, one of the festival’s headline performers. “It’s amazing to watch dance music culture growing at the exponential rate it’s growing at in this country. I think the real tipping point has been electro-house infiltrating the hip-hop community and now suddenly everyone in this country is interested in dance music.”

BT’s influence spread out past his own stage, with Above & Beyond playing his Tiesto collaboration, “Love Comes Again (Bart Claessen Remix),” and Armin van Buuren mashing up D-Mad’s “She Gave Happiness” with BT’s “Every Other Way” as the crowd spun out of control.

The storm of life shook through five stages, where along with Sasha, MSTRKRFT, Moby, local heroes LA Riots, the liquid drum and bass of LTJ Bukem the lightning bursts of sound and energy surrounded Z-Trip, who played by far the most musically diverse set of the festival.

“It’s great when you have everybody there and there are so many different styles of music at each stage. I feel like it has always been my style to borrow from each piece of all the genres anyway, so playing a festival like this really works in my favor.”

Of course one of the biggest aspects that makes EDC so memorable is the unique atmosphere that has been created inside the LA Coliseum, which played host to the headlining Kinetic Field stage. The massive field served as host to the stadium-sized sounds of the Swedish House Mafia, Kaskade, Deadma5, Above & Beyond and the world’s number one DJ for three years running, Armin Van Buuren. It’s impossible to explain the feeling of watching fireworks explode in the sky while carnival rides spin past your head and a massive crowd bounces to high-volume tunes. You probably could hear it from Long Beach, but that doesn’t matter because it seemed like all of LA was inside the gates.

I’m also guessing we were the only ones who had attended the Dwell on Design show and then stumbled down to the Coliseum. I didn’t see too many people with brightly colored bracelets milling around the patio furniture.

Certainly you can stand on the shores of life, far away from the record-setting crowds and the swirling skies, but why would you want to do that?

The air here is charged, the daisies are electric, and as insomniacs never sleep, we’ll dream it all up again real soon . . .