EDC 2017: Inside Dance Music’s Mecca With Drake, Rezz, Diplo, Alison Wonderland and Lil Jon (Photos)

Mikey Glazer
EDC 2017: Inside Dance Music’s Mecca With Drake, Rezz, Diplo, Alison Wonderland and Lil Jon (Photos)

The 21st Electric Daisy Carnival, the largest dance music festival in North America, took place outside Las Vegas this weekend. Costumes, neon, and bass drops were expected. Drake (center), was not.

The Kinetic Field main stage was rebuilt from scratch this year, dubbed “Kinetic Gaia”. Illuminating the intersection of nature and technology, the most popular and mainstream artists like Tiesto, Dillon Francis, Hardwell, and trance legend Armin Van Buuren played here.

One totem-toting fan in the crowd at Metro Boomin’s midnight set on Sunday must have been tipped off about the rap royalty about to appear.

“(Metro Boomin) brought me to space for a night,” Drake said of his virgin voyage to EDC.

The stage he appeared on, Basspod, is about the fifth largest stage, making his appearance a total shock. Drake sang “Fake Love” and “Jumpman”.

At the same time that Drake was turning up, Lil Jon was singing “Turn Down for What” during Flosstradamus’ set at the Circuit Grounds. Lil Jon required no introduction.

He just showed up on stage and started directing the mosh pit before spitting out “Prison Riot,” his collaboration with Flosstradamus.

Standout performance #1: Porter Robinson. The young ambient producer, who killed with a sunset set on Coachella’s mainstage back in April, brought his hour to a crescendo with “Shelter,” “Goodbye,” and “Language” as fireworks lit up the speedway on Saturday night.

Standout performance #2: Alison Wonderland, Diplo, and Jauz performed together as a trio for the first time ever, a world exclusive on Sunday night.

The three artists performed a “b2b2b” set, which stands for “back-to-back-to-back”.

They traded songs on the same decks.

Standout performances #3 and #4: K?d (pronounced “kid”, left) and Rezz (22, from Niagara Falls right) are two of the faces of more experimental electronic music.

“EDC, this is the biggest crowd I’ve ever played to,” Rezz said on Sunday night. She snapped this selfie backstage.

Insomniac’s “Ground Control” team had a roll call meeting on Friday night.

This trained team of peer volunteers keeps fans, dubbed “headliners”, healthy, happy, and hydrated.

Their job: keep fans (dubbed “headliners”) healthy, happy, and hydrated.

The festival preaches about their free, no-questions-asked, no-police-involvement abundant medical services. Ground Control are the ambassadors who look out for anyone in need.

“All are welcome here,” was the theme for EDC 2017.

Unlike other festivals, the EDC crowd acts like a community. This year, they scheduled countless meet-ups, housing-shares, resources for solo-travelers, and brought their own bracelets and merchandise to give out, largely fueled by an active EDC subreddit.

Don’t forget about the “Carnival” part of EDC. Photographer Rebecca Britt caught the Zipper ride in action.From 135,000 attendees on Sunday night, there were only four DUI arrests and three traffic accidents reported, with no traffic fatalities, per the Las Vegas PD. Performers and VIPs flew in to the Speedway on Maverick Helicopters, skipping the traffic.

Online, guests complained about 90-120 minute drives in to the festival in what was 100-degree heat. Note: For sanity, this six minute ride is worth every bit of the $850 round trip ticket.

Tropical house star Kygo had never played EDC before this weekend. He started at the top: on the main stage.

L.A. based producer Valentino Khan (“Deep Down Low”) and Austin-based Bro Safari both played the Basspod stage.

The festival runs from dusk-til-dawn, but there was no avoiding the heatwave. At 8 p.m. on Sunday it was 104 degrees.

By midnight, it was only down to 96. Insomniac stressed the need for hydration on their social media channels and through the festival app.

EDC’s totem game was strong.

Exhibit A: This snarky tongue-in-cheek question directed at casuals.

Exhibit B: This meme comes from the “Adult Swim” show “Rick and Morty”.

Exhibit C: The fidget spinner.

Swedish duo Galantis rocked the Circuit Grounds until 3 a.m. on Friday night.

In addition their traditional sea fox flags, they worked under 2,000 moving lights, 40 flame units, and 1,200 pyro units.Over 200 singles became 100 legally married couples at EDC.

One guy proposed on the main stage before Kygo’s set.Lowlight:

The enduring popularity of saccharine rave bro Marshmello is concerning.

His fans showed up in force, and in costume.On the other end of the festival from the Marshmell-bros, philosophically and geographically, the Neon Garden pumped out three nights of slower builds with experimental and more underground techno.

Widely credited as the “Adam” of hardstyle genre, The Prophet spun the Wasteland stage.

Let’s call the hard-hitting electronic analog to death metal an “acquired taste.”The”Love Wins” heart installation was a frequent Instagram photo spot.

Smirnoff commissioned the artwork and surrounded it with plush seating while promoting their take on the message of inclusivity and love.Every night around 11 p.m., the main stage Kinetic Field would erupt in an “opening ceremony”.

“Thank you for all that you do for dance culture,” fan @StefAmoroso (right) posted to Instagram upon running in to EDC founder Pasquale Rotella amongst the crowd around 6 a.m. on Monday morning. “Thank you for creating a place where we can be free and not be judged.”

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