Whether it was your first time stepping out onto the speedway, running down its stairways through the arches of Electric Avenue, or you seamlessly navigated your way to your favorite destination as a long-time veteran, one thought we all shared in common is that the magic that unfolds under the electric sky will simply never grow old.
In its 22nd edition, Insomniac’s EDC Las Vegas 2018 ignited once again at the infamous Las Vegas Motor Speedway for three dusk-til-dawn nights, May 18 – 20. Over 400,000 headliners from around the world made their way to their second home, to lose themselves among eight larger-than-life stages, moving art cars, mesmerizing theatrical performs, jaw-dropping firework displays, and interactive art installations. The Carnival Square provided a space to live and let loose away from the chaos. Booming with a variety of shops, theaters, virtual reality experiences, and food and drinks, it was also home to the festival’s infamous centers of love – the Chapel of Nature and Chapel of Technology. Here, more than 100 legal weddings took place, while other fans celebrated their love with non-legal weddings, vowel renewals and commitment ceremonies. This year’s festival also featured food-trucks galore, plenty of water stations, life-saving battery charging stations, and of course, an impressive playground of carnival rides offering thrills and chills to all.
While it has always been a tradition for headliners to shuttle from the strip, this was the first year Insomniac presented Camp EDC. Seated right outside of the Speedway, 20,000 campers were treated to special early morning sets, pool parties, early entry into the festival, and a new home in the desert to complete their EDC journey. For those who opted for the hotel life, a new shuttle system organized by a third-party vendor safely and very efficiently got headliners too and from the festival. We couldn’t be more happy to confirm that this might have been one of the best years to take the shuttle. Both the lines for security and boarding were quick and efficient; if timed correctly, the lines were practically non-existent. By the third sunrise, leaving the speedway felt like a short, but sweet piece of cake in comparison to past years.
EDC Las Vegas has become known for its extravagant art installations. The artists and their teams go through extensive lengths to ensure that the conceptual pieces they create are unique, interactive, and inspiring. Although we are always truly impressed with each installation we come across, there’s always one that stands apart. Boasting 80 feet high, Kevin Clark’s pillar of flower and fire immediately struck us as we entered the gates on the first night. Beautifully lit in bold, neon colors near cosmicMEADOW, the festival’s tallest piece took our breath away with volcanic-like eruptions of flames that sparked at any given moment. Come sundown, it was a mesmerizing sight to be seen.
Another piece that took our breathe away this year – and every year for that matter – was the fireworks display. Over the course of the weekend, 7-minute long showings of fire burned through the atmosphere with incredible execution. Although photographers try their absolute best, no photo can truly do these showstoppers justice. It’s an overwhelming feeling to stop dead in your tracks in the midst of the madness, to look up and see thousands of pieces of light piercing the darkness. The fireworks of EDC Las Vegas are simply extraordinary.
Although there are so many elements that make this festival unlike any other, it’s always the destination of the music that captivates us most. It’s true what you’ve heard — the stages of EDC Las Vegas are in a class of their own. Whether you stepped through neonGARDEN, or bassPOD, or the majestic arches of KineticFIELD, once inside you become instantaneously immersed in the production and overall experience of the space; at times it was easy to forget that an entire world of art cars and seven other stages even existed.
This year, five extraordinarily quirky art cars made their way around the neon-lit grounds to deliver some of our favorite moments. From the Boombox to the Kalliope and more, the art cars provided a place for players to let loose and have fun in a smaller, more intimate setting. The Wide Awake art car hosted one of our favorite sets of the weekend with Will Clarke. Meanwhile, Corona Electric Beach created their very own sandy haven, offering tropical vibes in the desert and dirty beats from many rising talents like VOLAC, Birthday Partyy, and Jayceeoh.
At neonGarden, the Factory 93 experience took us to the dark side and we never wanted to see the light again. We saw takeovers from Paradise and Green Velvet’s La La Land, where Latmun, Lauren Lane, Hot Since 82, Camelphat, and many more brought the fire through groovy, deep, and bouncy basslines. One of the most magical moments of the weekend went down at neonGARDEN on Saturday morning when Cirez D played an entrancing sunrise set. La La Land gave us life as Green Velvet destroyed his two hour set, before playing B2B Gorgon City B2B Detlef. Sunday was a full-on spiral down the rabbit hole, with incredible techno sets from every player that night, including Adriatique, Loco Dice, and Charlotte de Witte. Meanwhile, circuitGROUNDS acted as home to some of the most massive moments of the weekend, including Claude VonStroke, Virtual Self, Borgeous, Eric Prydz, and Martin Garrix, who brought out to the stage Dua Lipa. Here, thousands closed the festival on a wild ride with BlackGummy’s sunrise set in the early hours of Monday morning.
No doubt, CosmicMEADOW was a favorite this year. Headliners lost their minds as players like Illenium, Zeds Dead, Jai Wolf, Shiba San, and DJ Mustard, who brought out Lil Jon, Ty Dolla $ign, YG, and Nick Jonas, took the stage. But the biggest eruption from the crowd went down when Post Malone showed face for a half hour performance, leaving fans in a total tizzy. This was also home to the first-ever early Opening Ceremonies, with Adin and Chris Lake B2B Chris Lorenzo. Just around the bend, our new favorite spot this year was stereoBLOOM. Hosted by Insomniac Records, we had the time of our lives watching high-energy sets from Fisher, Red Light, MK, Chris Lorenzo, YOOKiE, Hekler, and more.
WasteLAND and bassPOD delivered the dirtiest and hardest beats we heard all weekend. Crushing the apocolytpic world of wasteLAND was Adrenalilze, Sub Zero Project, Tonshifterz, TNT, Headhunterz, Wareface, and more. The beats coming from the bassPOD were difficult to pass by, as artists like Yheti B2B Toadface, Herobust, GTA, and Crankdat B2B Dirty Audio threw down with every ounce of their souls. Pendulum’s set on Friday night was easily one of our favorites.
Quantum Valley came to life with an evergreen of melodic and heartfelt moments. Hosted by Dreamstate, the sounds of this stage made you feel like you were floating on Cloud 9. Some of the most memorable sets of the weekend were played by Jason Ross, Dash Berlin’s classic set, Gabriel & Dresden, Cosmic Gate, ATB, and Paul van Dyk, just to name a few.
Not far from the stage of the dreamers stood the epic arches to the almighty KineticFIELD. Here, you entered a space booming with beats, love, and unity, truly signifying that EDC Las Vegas is a place where all are always welcomed. Kaskade, Diplo, Kygo and other superstar names lit the KineticFIELD ablaze. Tiesto’s set brought tears to many eyes with his special 12-minute tribute to the late and great Avicii. And for us, the most major moment to go down at this stage was the Chris Lake B2B Fisher closing sunrise set. House music beautifully infiltrated every inch of the main stage, as we two-stepped our way into the last morning of EDC Las Vegas, sore to our cores, but loving every minute of it.
At the end of the day, at the beginning of every new sunrise, what truly makes EDC Las Vegas an experience different to most is the people. There’s the performers – the dancers, stilters, aerialists, circus performers, and other characters – who are the epitome of what an entertainer should be, putting smiles on headliners faces no matter the time, mood, or circumstance. Then there are the workers, from ticketing to food & beverage staff, to the ride operators and paramedics, and every one in between, who tirelessly strived to keep attendees happy, uplifted, and safe all weekend long. It’s always impressive how hands-on, proactive, and high-spirited the staff is, regardless that they stay awake for hours on end, tending to hundred of the thousands of people.
And finally, there are the headliners. Insomniac has always gone above and beyond to make EDC Las Vegas about the fans, and it’s clear that the headliners take this seriously. The crowds were bursting with bright-eyed, energetic individuals who were friendly, thoughtful, and non-judgmental in every sense of the word. A quick exchange of words with a stranger reminded you that this was truly a place where people from all walks of life come to let their true selves fly free, to find love and unity, feel welcomed, and listen to some incredible dance music while they’re at it.
We would like to send a massive thanks to Insomniac for always being an incredible group of people to work with over the years. Every ounce of heart and soul that Insomniac and its vendors put into this festival is evident, and we can’t thank them enough for allowing us to be part of the experience once again. Until next year, take care of yourselves and each other. We’ll see you in 2019 under the electric sky!
Photo Credit 1: aLIVE Coverage
Photo Credit 2: Jake West
Photo Credit 3: Dustin Downing
Photo Credit 4: Julian Cassady
Photo Credit 5: Jake West
Photo Credit 6: aLIVE Coverage
Photo Credit 7: Jake West
Photo Credit 8: Adi Adinayev
Photo Credit 9:aLIVE Coverage
Photo Credit 10:Jake West
Photo Credit 11:Jake West