Every EDC is A New Adventure

May 25, 2022

5 min read

CosmicMEADOW at EDC 2022CosmicMEADOW at EDC 2022

Keiki-Lani Knudsen for Insomniac Events

This weekend the dance music world turned its eyes and ears to Las Vegas as Insomniac threw the 26th annual Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. From May 20-22 North America’s largest dance music festival welcomed festival-goers from around the world to what some might consider the raver Olympics. It’s a singular spectacle spread across nine massive stages melding old-school rave vibes with larger-than-life production, a fully operational carnival, and immersive art and performance. 

This was my fifth time attending EDC, and no two trips down the rabbit hole are quite alike. There are a few constants, like the feeling of awe and wonder as you take in the spectacle of thousands of lights dancing across the horizon entering the Speedway for the first time of the weekend. Or the hundreds of random acts of warmth, kindness, and love that you witness and find yourself a part of throughout the weekend. 

EDC Las Vegas 2022EDC Las Vegas 2022

Alex Perez for Insomniac Events

For me, however, there is something far more important I can always count on. That I get to experience EDC with my trusty rave buddy of nearly 20 years, my wife. I can’t imagine wandering the electric wonderland that is EDC without her. 

This was one of the most powerful takeaways for me this year. I spent most of the time there wandering and being with friends. And even if the interactions were brief, they left me feeling whole. Something that I sorely missed in the nearly two years we spent without dancing together. 

Whether it was getting lost in a parking lot for the first time in more years than I can count trying to locate our ride back to the strip, meeting up with URL friends that I was excited to make IRL friends with, running into old co-workers and hanging out with current ones, or having more fun than you should while sitting in a parking lot without moving for several hours, friendship was the theme of EDC this year. 

It was clear from the onset that Insomniac’s attendance had returned to pre-pandemic levels. The crowds packed the stages quickly, giving even the earliest DJ slots a proper dancefloor. Yet, we could always find a space near the back of the crowd with plenty of room to dance and a gorgeous view of the stages. 

EDC Las Vegas 2022EDC Las Vegas 2022

Alex Perez for Insomniac Events

During Chris Lake’s set on Friday night, as he blazed through IDs and hits like “Turn Off The Lights,” we marveled at how much space we had nearby to stretch out without feeling cramped or overcrowded. Although that feeling quickly evaporated as we attempted to check out the VIP viewing deck for CircuitGROUNDS, which had an entrance that was so crowded we felt claustrophobic. We decided to skip our way back to the dancefloor, where the real party was. 

Yet another pre-pandemic memory of EDC returned this year. The wind and cold. Those who were there in 2019 will remember the intense wind that shut down several stages, canceled two nights of fireworks, and left merch booths with no warm clothes to speak of, forcing ravers to don hotel bathrobes to combat the bad weather. 

Friday of this year, while less windy, was a chilly night in the desert and one without the magic of the incredible fireworks display that makes Disneyland look cute in comparison. 

Wandering is my favorite activity at EDC. And isn’t just okay to wander. It’s encouraged. Our treks across the festival as we bounced from friend meet-ups to artist interviews and DJ sets saw us wandering through the new urban-themed NeonGARDEN dancefloor surrounded by LED-lit graffiti emblazoned shipping containers. We stopped in awe inside of the greatest art installation ever, Pixel Forest, and enjoyed several art car sets. 

Who was DJing during these art car sets, you ask? That question brings me to the two overarching questions I was asked at EDC. Where am I? And who is this? Questions I was generally able to answer, but when you’re in cell phone hell and forgot to screenshot a map, it seldom matters where you are, just that you’re having a great time.

KineticFIELD at EDC 2022KineticFIELD at EDC 2022

Alex Perez for Insomniac Events

Among the new additions to EDC this year (There are several every year) was a towering new stage design for the BassPOD, a breathtaking new design for KineticFIELD complete with Insomniac’s trademark owl hidden in its floral centerpiece, and a brand new stage dedicated to house music, BionicJUNGLE. 

Watching Gene Farris transition masterfully into Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey” while a thick green mist floated around him was a transcendent rave experience. I couldn't help but wonder, though if the rotating eye above the stage —reminiscent of HAL 9000 from 2001 Space Odyssey — was boring into my soul.

As we walked past thousands of ravers zooming by us, faces lit by the glow of art installations and carnival rides, my wife turned to me and said, “This must be what ants feel like.” 

And I don’t know if the experience of EDC has been broken down more succinctly. You are constantly dwarfed by everything around you. The stages tower over and wrap around you, the art installations hang odd and perplexing shapes overhead. Yet as you walk, float, and swerve with the flow of oncoming traffic, everyone seems to move in unison. When you slide by someone or nudge them as you pass, there’s always a kind word of apology and a smile. These brief human interactions are different from the way we treat each other in the default world. As you wind and wither through the thousands of bejeweled ravers, you always feel seen. It’s a community of thousands moving together in every direction.