In its third year of carnival-meets-concert splendor, Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando welcomed more than 30,000 dance music devotees back to Tinker Field for two days of stadium-smashing magic last weekend.
Kicking off on Nov. 8 with eleven hours of ceaseless musical mayhem, EDC Orlando satiated the electronic cravings of fans across the genre spectrum. Fuzzy-boot sporting P.L.U.R. warriors bounced about uncontrollably at the Kinetic Field (main stage), singing along to every lyric bursting from Kaskade and Calvin Harris’ sets. Bass addicts and trapaholics alike clamored over the Circuit Grounds’ dynamic lineups, reveling in Showtek’s grinding electro riffs and Brillz’ unrelenting drum-rolls. Minimalist aficionados escaped to the remote Neon Garden, basking in an oasis of underground acts spinning a refreshing blend of deep-house, tech-house and techno.
Although one of the smallest events in the EDC franchise, which boasts six annual festivals across the globe, EDC Orlando glowed as one of Insomniac Events’ largest success stories. The festival’s brilliantly-planned layout left no room for noise bleed between the three stages, allowing each structure to blare crisp, undisturbed sound from its towering speakers.
As stated on the lineup, Insomniac believes the most important headliner of all is the attendee. As such, the entertainment conglomerate spared no effort in stimulating guests with boundless interactive elements. When patrons tired of the music, they retreated to one of the six full-scale carnival rides which provided hours of giddy entertainment. The Pool, one of the festival’s four art instillations, offered 100 circular platforms which lit up in neon when stepped upon and reminded us of our Dance Dance Revolution heydays.
Motorola sponsored a 6-story tall LED tower “Kandi Shop” where guests created free beaded bracelets to keep as memories or trade with new friends. Toward the end of each night, fireworks launched from the top of the tower to illuminate the night sky and cap off a wonderful day of music.
Because it would be impossible to applaud each of the festival’s more than 60 performers, we’ve compiled a list of our EDC Orlando highlights:
Most Danceable Set: Martin Solveig
Martin Solveig’s determination to make his first-ever performance in Orlando memorable manifested a punchy, uptempo hour of electro-pop as the sun set behind the Kinetic Field on Saturday night. The French producer launched into the set blaring his new collaboration with Laidback Luke “Blow,” succeeded by a piercingly synthesized edit of La Roux’s “Bulletproof” and a bass-heavy drop of Steve Aoki’s “Boneless.” Fusing together a sublime mashup of Justice’s “We Are Your Friends” with Don Diablo and Matt Nash’s “Starlight,” Solveig displayed his seasoned mastery of mixing skills, song selection and overall performance art.
The Set We Wished Would Last Forever: Madeon
Only a week after temporarily losing his hearing from acute otitis, French producer Madeon dazzled his packed Kinetic Field crowd Saturday night with an impassioned, carefully-crafted performance. Showcasing his hallmark brand of French-house meets nu-disco fusion, the 19-year-old wunderkind started off strong with his 2011 hit “Pop Culture” which blends together 39 pop songs from the multifarious likes of Daft Punk, Martin Solveig, Madonna and more. Madeon’s set continued in this sinuous fashion, weaving together original works such as “Finale” with classic tracks like Deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon” and leaving audience members begging for more.
The Classic Catalogue: Calvin Harris
It’s easy to assume the world’s highest paid DJ is going to toss out a tired set of overplayed top-40 nonsense, but Calvin Harris’s Friday night set reminded us what we loved about poppy, progressive house before commercial radio chewed it up and spit it out. The legendary performer unveiled an upbeat, atmospheric set which paid homage to the productions that made him a global superstar. Putting fresh and funky spins on classics such as “Sweet Nothing,” “We’ll Be Coming Back,” “You Used To Hold Me” and “Bounce,” Calvin Harris rewinded to a time before Lil Jon called himself a DJ while simultaneously encapsulating the innumerable potential of progressive house’s future.
The Hour-long Heart-palpitation: 12th Planet
Dubstep stalwart 12th Planet kicked off his Friday night set with guns literally blazing as fire shot up from the stage to signify the beginning of a meteoric performance. The SMOG Records label-head turned up the heat with his first song selection of GTA’s rump-shakin’ “Booty Bounce,” followed by a refreshing electro-twist on Jay Z’s “Holy Grail.” The audience shuffled wildly as 12th Planet continued his unremitting bass-drops, unleashing his collaborative remix with Juakali of Doctor P’s “Reasons” and Skrillex’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air edit of “Right On Time."
The Electro Eargasm: Showtek
Dutch duo Showtek took a no-holds-barred approach to their growling performance Saturday night, drawing a brimming crowd to the Circuit Grounds with their infectious brand of bone-shaking hardstyle-electro. The brother-pair began the set with their percussion-based track “Slow Down,” leading into an onslaught of bangers from genre heavy-hitters like TJR, Fedde Le Grand and Dyro. Showtek’s continuously-building set came to its pinnacle when they dropped their final track “Cannonball” and sent audience members into an adrenaline-fueled frenzy.