Fellow “Headliners,” the day of the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas lineup reveal is upon us. Insomniac founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella is announcing the artists for EDC’s 10-year anniversary at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, through song snippets on his Night Owl Radio show at 6 p.m. PT. Yes, the lineup is pretty much set—expect almost all the big names across dance music genres—but here’s our two cents.
EDC has celebrated birthdays in recent years—the festival’s 20th anniversary in 2016, Insomniac’s 25th anniversary in 2018. But its tenth edition in Las Vegas is something special because it marks the beginning of a whole new level of dance music festival production that was unseen in the U.S., rivaled only by Tomorrowland.
EDC’s decennial is the perfect time for some throwbacks and an opportunity for one-offs. Here’s a wishlist.
EDC Lineup Two’s And Surprises
Festival giants including Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival have renowned DJs playing two or multiple sets, and EDC used to, too. The EDC lineup in 2012 had trance legend Armin van Buuren playing circuitGROUNDS for his A State of Trance stage on Saturday, and kineticFIELD on Sunday. Armin essentially made two appearances in 2016 on circuitGROUNDS, on Saturday and again on Sunday as his cloaked alias GAIA.
Other veterans, Afrojack and Steve Aoki, also played twice in 2012. They shared the neonGARDEN stage on Friday, Afrojack played kineticFIELD earlier on Friday and Aoki closed out kineticFIELD on Saturday with Blue Man Group. That year, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano spun at cosmicMEADOW on Friday and kineticFIELD on Sunday.
The pros of giving two sets to a few widely popular artists seem to outweigh the cons. Some Headliners can’t attend all three days and even those who do often have EDC lineup schedule conflicts, so two sets boost their chances of catching a classic act.
There’s also room for second appearances in surprise sets, which are in themselves a great thing. Not thinking Swedish House Mafia since they already reunited for Ultra’s 20th anniversary in 2018 and Creamfields in 2019, but along the lines of what Rotella has been pulling like Skrillex’s surprise set last year. A Porter Robinson and Madeon reunion would be epic, and not impossible since the old friends did a b2b at a smaller festival last year.
The 2010s were when dance music blew up in the U.S., for better or worse. Definitely for the better because the rise of “EDM” brought exposure to various dance music genres and at EDC, “all are welcome here.”
Taking a page from Tomorrowland and its anniversary sets for the EDC lineup would really please Headliners. For Tomorrowland’s 15-year anniversary last July, Armin played a 15 Years Tribute set and 3 Are Legend (Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike and Aoki) played a 15 Years of Iconic Anthems set. With the longest EDC sets limited to about an hour-and-a-half, DJs usually fill them up with their latest tracks. Armin and 3 Are Legend played the 15-year sets in addition to their own sets, which goes back to the value of double sets.
While EDC’s Memory Lane video tunnel with footage of the past is wonderful, there’s nothing like hearing the greatest hits at a stage. Imagine raging to Hardwell’s ‘Apollo,’ Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Don’t You Worry Child,’ and Avicii’s ‘Levels’ like it was 2014. It’s doable.
EDC Lineup Set Times
After the EDC lineup unveil, everyone wants to know who is playing when. It is sold out, with a waitlist. We’re just under three months away from the May 15 to 17 festival dates so it is a bit early. But it wouldn’t hurt to release the schedule earlier than the week of, let’s say, a month out.
Earlier this month, Rotella posted that hundreds of RV hookups are “FINALLY getting taken out,” allowing EDC to use the entire speedway like never before.
“That means more dancing room at neonGARDEN, quantumVALLEY, more space around pixelFOREST, and better Raver Feng Shui overall!” Rotella wrote on his social media accounts.
We know that the deep house and techno stage and the trance stage will expand, so there may not be plans to grow kineticFIELD. But it’s all a matter of perspective.
Flashback to 2014 and the kineticCATHEDRAL stage. At 100 feet tall and 440 feet wide, it was the largest stage ever built in North America, at the time. From memory and a video from the Leisure Expert Group which designed it, kineticCATHEDRAL appeared to sit along a longer side of the speedway oval, instead of its present spot at one of the narrow curves. The old positioning would allow for a wider stage, or at least the appearance of that. The cathedral felt like the most massive EDC stage to date.
Finally, a request from many Headliners is resurrecting the megastructure stage. It was the old circuitGROUNDS and holy ground for tranceheads. Though circuitGROUNDS gets bigger and badder every year, the megastructure has a special place in EDC OGs’ hearts. Trance’s new home, quantumVALLEY, has gone through several iterations, none of which fans have fallen completely in love with. Bringing back the cavernous megastructure, even a smaller version of it, would certainly be a treat.
Fireworks x Music
The fireworks show at 1:30 a.m. make one of the most magical moments under the electric sky. In a AMA last fall, Rotella indicated that the fireworks in 2019 were coded to the same music across stages.
“It was pretty amazing if you were in the right spot, but if you weren’t in the right location it didn’t sync up right and in some cases was completely silent,” he wrote. “Most likely we won’t be doing that again next year.”
That means the format could return to live sets during the fireworks. Perhaps 50/50 synchronization and live sets would be a good compromise, but if in doubt, the latter wins.
The Electric Daisy
EDC’s logo designs have changed over the years, but its name has not. Anyone remember the giant Electric Daisy? It “dazzled and entertained all weekend long” in 2014, the Insomniac editorial team reminisced in 2017.
It was everyone’s designated meeting spot. Therefore you could never find your friends there. Take us back.