I Found Happiness At My First EDC Orlando
This past weekend, Insomniac made history with its 10th anniversary of EDC Orlando. After a two-year-long hiatus, festival-goers have been itching to reunite Under the Electric Sky once again. With over 250,000 people in attendance this year, it was the biggest EDC Orlando to date.
EDC gives us the opportunity to come together from anywhere in the world, from any background or culture, without fear of prejudice or judgement. Living in the moment as our truest selves, collaborating with one another, and expanding our minds through our love for music is what it’s all about.
- Pasquale Rotella (Founder and CEO of Insomniac)
EDC also celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and Insomniac did not fail to step the festivities up a notch. Besides putting together one of the greatest lineups yet, they raised the bar high with their jaw-dropping visuals, stages, and art installations. From massive fireworks to radiant lights and beaming lasers, attendees were mesmerized.
I’ve attended plenty of music festivals over the years, but EDC Orlando takes the lead as one of my favorites. It was my first EDC, and certainly won’t be the last. From the moment I entered to the moment I left the festival grounds behind, I couldn’t wipe a smile off my face. It was truly one of the best weekends of my life, and I’m sure anyone else who attended can say the same. Here are some of my favorite experiences from EDC Orlando 2021.
The Owl in the Sky
Insomniac always strives to enhance the guest experience by incorporating new technologies, and this year was no exception with the addition of a jaw-dropping aerial drone show. As seen at EDC Las Vegas last month, around 400 drones lit up the sky above kineticFIELD, forming different words and images. For many, it was the first time experiencing a drone show. Check out the 25th Anniversary Drone Show here.
Is the Owl Looking at Me?
The spectacle of the EDC Orlando stages largely contributes to the overall festival experience. They were unlike any other festival stages I’ve seen and each one varied in design & theme. My favorite was kineticFIELD, also referred to as EDC’s “Main Stage”. With the rotating gaze of the Insomniac Owl, continuous pyrotechnics & fireworks, water effects, and dozens of high-quality speakers, it made an imprint on my memory that I’ll never forget. kineticFIELD is redesigned every year but usually downsized for EDC Orlando. However, this year Pasquale Rotella aimed to bring the full-size main stage from Las Vegas, and his goal was nearly accomplished. I also loved circuitGROUNDS, which was one of the most visually intriguing stages. It provided superior audiovisual displays with its fascinating lightwork and LED screens. Make sure to check out the full list of stages here!
Kygo at Sunset
After seeing so many live sets throughout the weekend, it can be hard to choose a favorite. But this was an easy choice for me: Kygo! It was my first time seeing him live, and it still gives me chills thinking about it. Not only did he perform during a beautiful sunset, but I was also front row at kineticFIELD, which enhanced my experience. The positive vibes amongst the crowd were so strong that I could feel them radiate from one another. During his set, Kygo even brought out vocalist Justin Jesso who sang “Stargazing” live. He also came back out to sing “Firestone” for the last song. Kygo’s set was one of the last of the festival, and what a fabulous finale to an amazing weekend. If you ever get the chance to see Kygo live, make sure you do! Honorable mentions for my other favorite sets include Seven Lions, Jason Ross, and Said the Sky.
Colorful Characters Everywhere!
Producers and DJs aren’t the only performers you’ll get to experience at EDC Orlando. You can also interact with various colorful characters! Spread out amongst the festival grounds are dancers, stilt walkers, aerialists, circus performers, and entertainers. Dressed in over-the-top costumes designed specifically for Insomniac, there’s never a dull moment with these performers around. Not once did they break character, which was pretty impressive given all the excitement and commotion around them. My favorite performers were the creatures that looked like Furbies called Rainbow Rascals, the characters dressed as Piñatas, drumline musicians, and the performers flying high in the sky in an inflatable tube.
Island Noodles and Beatboxing
No matter what festival you go to you will inevitably need to eat and it will surely be expensive. Despite the high prices at EDC Orlando, much of what they had to offer was worth the price. Vendors were scattered all over the festival, so you didn’t have to walk far to find nourishment. Some lines were longer than others, but I was impressed with how short the majority of the lines were. There were plenty of choices to choose from; ranging from American food to Asian food, and even vegan/vegetarian options. Over the weekend, I tried the basic chicken fingers and fries, chicken teriyaki on a stick, and my favorite of all, Island Noodles: stir-fried noodles, vegetables, and chicken.
As for my favorite drink, BeatBox Beverages takes first place hands down. BeatBox is an 11.1% ABV wine-based “Party Punch.” Since the alcohol percentage is pretty high, you only need one or two to get the job done. They offered multiple flavors such as Tropical Punch, Blue Raspberry, and Pink Lemonade.
My only recommendation regarding the food & drink vendors is that I wish EDC integrated contactless payment. They only accepted credit, debit, Apple Pay and Android Pay. At other events/festivals I’ve been to, you load your credit card to your wristband that you simply scan when paying for items. This method is much safer and saves time in line.
Release Your Inner Child
You’ll never run out of things to do and see at EDC Orlando. If you want to take a step back from the music, break out your inner child and go on a carnival ride! Or take a walk and explore the interactive art installations sprinkled throughout the festival. You’ll experience a world of 3D superstructures and vibrant, glow-in-the-dark surroundings. Besides viewing the art installations, some of my favorite activities included: swinging on the cloud swings, visiting the merch booths to purchase a new pashmina, observing all of the creative totems, and making new friends & trading Kandi bracelets with them.
My favorite part of the whole experience was how kind and considerate every single attendee was. Following the tragedy at AstroWorld a few weeks ago, our community seemed stronger. Members of EDC were always willing to help others in need, like picking someone up in a mosh pit, giving out bottles of water, or simply complimenting each other. When I asked festival-goers, “What does EDC mean to you?” this is what they said:
It’s a place to connect with people, everyone is happy and there’s a big sense of comradery.
It is over-joying to see the world fall in love again.
EDC is about love and unity, and letting the world know you aren’t alone.” - “We’re all family here, we can all enjoy it together as one.
It’s a magical world that I can explore, from seeing my favorite DJ’s to meeting different types of people.
EDC is where I find my happiness