The highly anticipated return of Electric Daisy Carnival kicked off last night for a third year at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With attendance numbers estimated at 115,000, all 50 states and 46 countries were represented in the 17th annual celebration of music and fellowship.
This year’s event — beyond the hundreds of DJ performances — features 20 art installations, eight art cars, seven stages, three graffiti walls and numerous amusement rides in addition to a nightly pyrotechnics display and special surprises throughout.
Here are five initial observations from day one of EDC Las Vegas 2013:
The improvements made here are phenomenal and much appreciated. Arriving around 8:30 p.m., we only experienced traffic congestion on I-15. Once exited from the highway, event traffic flowed freely into the parking lots with little to no waiting.
Leaving the venue at 4 a.m. was just as easy with no wait whatsoever.
Last year’s experience was quite the opposite, with some waiting in traffic for hours to enter, and even more to exit. Many taxis refused to take people to the speedway because of the delays.
Exclusive routes for shuttles through neighboring Nellis Air Force Base, improved flow through parking lots, and police and volunteer support can all be credited for the improvement.
We saw some preliminary photos of the stage designs (though we chose not to share them to not spoil the surprise), but seeing them for the first time in person felt like finding presents under the tree on Christmas morning. These are by far the most massive, yet intricate stages EDC has ever featured.
This year’s main stage (Kinetic Field) takes a break from the usual LED screens backdrop and instead features a giant 440-foot-wide bright-eyed owl surrounded by towering 3D mushrooms, daisies, and other psychedelic characters. These tangible elements, similar in style to what we’ve seen at Tomorrowland, bring a much-needed sense of personality and emotion to the stage.
The new Basscon stage is as equally impressive, featuring a gas masked-clad fellow holding a bouquet of flowers atop a massive clock. The Basspod stage has grown in size and features a 180-degree design, while the Cosmic Meadow stage uses LED screen-glazed cubes to dazzle fans.
Circuit Grounds again utilizes the metal domed “mega structure,” and the Neon Garden has a similar, yet open-air feel.
3Never ending fireworks
EDC is well known for its impressive pyro displays but last night’s were nearly continuous. Firework shows originated from various locations around the track throughout the evening instead of all at once to wrap up the evening.
And we’re not talking about a few at a time. Each mini-show was more captivating than the previous.
4Art car/performer parade
Eight art cars are spread across the grounds, but we stumbled upon an impromptu parade of sorts later in the evening. Crowds parted as several of the art cars and a handful of the 500 roaming theatrical performers marched through the grounds. It was a great way to see much of the art and creativity all at once.
The art installations, art cars, and costumed performers create a unique immersive experience as you move among the massive stages. It’s what truly sets EDC apart from all other festivals in the world.
We’ve heard of people getting engaged at EDC and other festivals in the past, but this year — in true Vegas fashion — you can make it official on the spot too.
Two wedding chapels are setup atop a balcony in the center of the race track offering legal marriages and friendship commitment ceremonies as well. Even Elvis is onsite to facilitate.
It’s rumored Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella and girlfriend Holly Madison will choose to tie the knot at EDC this weekend as well.
Snaps: EDC Las Vegas Day 1
Photos by Kent Otto/Electronic Midwest unless otherwise noted.