The 12th annual Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando (EDC Orlando) took place from November 10th to November 12th at Tinker Field in Orlando. This year’s edition was particularly unique in the fact that it incorporated so much more than just a festival but also a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Insomniac Events, the organization behind the global electronic music brand and the masterminds behind EDC.
Between four larger than life stages, two spectacular art cars, dazzling carnival rides, vibrant light installations, and some of the biggest names in the electronic music industry, EDC Orlando was one for the books!
Amy Melissa Farina
*This article was originally published in EDM House Network
Obviously getting to Orlando was a bit more complicated than my usual treks through Europe being as I live in the Netherlands. However, a couple of trams, buses, trains, a ferry, and a plane and some car ride share apps later, I made it. As a second timer at EDC Orlando, we opted to stay at the Holiday Inn across from Universal Studios once again which is easily accessible to the festival by shuttle via the Orange Shuttle Line. EDC Orlando shuttles are divided by color and are organized to pick up festival goers from various hotels throughout the area. Our shuttle picked us up about a ten minute walk from our hotel and then it was about a twenty minute or thirty minute drive to and from the festival depending on the traffic.
The shuttles dropped off party goers at a grassy field about a mile from the festival entrance. There was only one main entrance this year, which caused some congestion. The foot traffic walking from the shuttle drop off to the entrance (which was across from the will call/box office) made the walk difficult as thousands of people were all walking on a single path.
A veteran tip I discovered for the way home however is, once the festival is over, they open up additional exit points, so we were able to exit near the Stereo Bloom stage and walk to the shuttles much faster than through the regular entrance. Also, leaving a bit later to wait for the crowd to dissipate makes it easier to move through the festival and to the exit as well.
Tinker Field, a former baseball stadium, situated in downtown Orlando transforms into an electronic playground each year for EDC Orlando. Despite EDC Orlando only having four stages (not including the two art cars) the festival was extremely spread out, giving it a larger festival feel. On top of this the stages are massive with next–level production, but we’ll get to that shortly.
The festival was well equipped with a general store, multiple merchandise stands, a bouncy house, free water refill stations, various food stands, photo opportunities, a vendor village, phone charging stations, safe places for those in need of mental and physical assistance and wheelchair friendly areas. There were also special lounges for Insomniac Passport Holder members (an incentive program for die-hard fans to pay a flat price and gain access to all Insomniac events) and a Sky Deck, a premium lounge for those wanting bottle service.
Navigating the festival despite the size was fairly easy as everything was organized by sections such as Rainbow Road, Daisy Lane, Polygon Park, etc. Each day we arrived at the festival around 3:00/4:00 PM and getting through the ID check, wristband scan, and security check was extremely fast, each day we got in straight away with a very little wait time. Attempting to get phone service to find the rest of the group, however, was nearly impossible but that’s to be expected in a crowd of more than 100,000 people but just a chance to make some new friends instead!
Food & Drinks
EDC Orlando had a large selection of food and drinks to choose from ranging from specialty cocktails, to your traditional American “ready to drink” options such as Four Loko and BeatBox to premium cocktails. Alcoholic drinks ranged in price from around $14 to $30 and non-alcoholic drinks costing around $5.
As for food, there was everything ranging from your traditional burgers, corn dogs, and fries to spring rolls, orange cauliflower, teriyaki bowls, acai bowls, smoothies, fruit cups, stuffed pretzel rolls, and cotton candy. The prices for the food ranged from pieces of fruit being $2 to a burger being $20.
EDC Orlando consisted of four stages and two art cars each with their own unique theme and vibe. For those unfamiliar with the EDC brand, an art car is a miniature stage designed around a car (think of a parade float).
Kinetic Field was the mainstage centered around a mystical face with pyrotechnics, lasers, and fireworks shooting from all sides. The theme of Kinetic Field felt very much like what I would envision a stage in the celestial forest of Tulum. Kinetic Field was the home to some of the biggest artists in the scene such as Deadmau5, Kaskade, Zedd, Dom Dolla, and the Chainsmokers.
If Dubstep and bass music are for you then Circuit Grounds was the place to be. Circuit Grounds is a perfect example of the EDC brand’s commitment to pushing boundaries when it comes to the audiovisual experience. The stage incorporates multiple LED panels and pyrotechnics creating a futuristic landscape. Each night the stage illuminated the sky taking ravers to another dimension with heavy hitters such as Subtronics, Excision, Liquid Stranger and Allison in Wonderland.
What sets Stereo Bloom apart from the other stages is that it offers ravers a more intimate setting that allow them to really escape into sounds of Trance and House artists from all over the world. The stage is also easily accessible, allowing for fans to get up nice and close with their favorite DJs. Some of the major artists at Stereo Bloom throughout the weekend were Dombresky, Mau P, and Paul van Dyk.
Neon Garden is the place for techno. Serving an industrial underground vibe, Neon Garden is set apart from the rest of the stages surrounded by shipping containers. The stage’s design is reminiscent of a time before electronic music entered the mainstream, a time before social media, where raves were held under bridges, or in shipping containers. The underground atmosphere of the stage is taken to the next level by the immersive lighting design and state of the art sound system.
Anniversary Art Car
To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Insomniac, EDC had surprises sprinkled throughout the festival including a special art car stage. The art car, in the shape of a birthday cake of course, pays homage to three decades of incredible events and creating life-changing experiences for ravers all over the world.
Rynobus Art Car
Last but not least, the Rynobus Art Car. Nestled in the Pixel Forest, the Rynobus Art Car was a kaleidoscope of colors, lights, and effects. The Rynobus Art Car is truly a moving canvas as the lights from the sky hit the bus at different angles. It paints the night giving partygoers a different experience from every vantage point.
The first set of the weekend for us was the one and only Miss Monique. Miss Monique is known for her distinct style of combining melodic progressive house with pulsating beats. She consistently transcends the boundaries of the genre and her set at EDC Orlando was no exception. With tracks like Aria and Coming Home the energy of the crowd electrified Kinetic Field in the opening hours of EDC Orlando.
As the sun set on the first day on Kinetic Field Deadmau5 delivered an electrifying set filled with nostalgic gems. The highlight of the set was when he dropped some of my favorite classics such as The Veldt, Maths, and Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff bringing me back to the good ole college days.
Subtronics was slammed for the closing set at Circuit Grounds on Friday night with bassheads headbanging all the way from the rail to the Pixel Forest. Throwing down one of the best sets of the weekend, the heavy bass-lines of Subtronics coupled together with mind-bending visuals made us question the nature of our reality (cue his track Clockwork) and left us wanting more.
BLOND:ISH b2b Dennis Cruz
BLOND:ISH and Dennis Cruz threw down a groovy Latin inspired back to back set at Neon Garden. With bangers like G Vibes, Freaks Pon Di Floor, and Despacio, BLOND:ISH and Dennis Cruz joined forces to take us on a musical journey we won’t forget!
Paul van Dyk
Trance legend Paul van Dyk took over Stereo Bloom on Sunday night. Renowned for his vocal ethereal trance melodies, Paul van Dyk had us singing and swaying to some of our favorite classics such as Time of our Lives and Euphoria.
Afroki is what can only be described as a collaboration of epic proportions. Steve Aoki is infamous for his energetic stage presence (and cake throwing) together with Afrojack’s signature big-room sound make them a force to be reckoned with. This high-energy dynamic duo had the crowd going hard on the last day of EDC.
Sound & Visuals
Having attended many Insomniac events, it goes without saying that the production is always next level. From the intricate stage designs to decorative walkways, pyrotechnics and laser shows, they set the bar extremely high. That being said, there was definite sound bleed between some of the stages, especially between Circuit Grounds and Pixel Forest. Aside from the sound bleed in that area, the sound at the rest of the stages was crisp and clear.
Atmosphere & Organization
Overall, EDC Orlando was very well organized. Getting around the festival was easy, even at its most crowded moments. EDC also demonstrated its commitment to safety with the presence of End Overdose, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing overdose deaths at events. Additionally, there was consistently staff (known as Ground Control) walking around ensuring safety. There were also plenty of safe and quiet spaces for those who needed it.
All in all, EDC Orlando is one of those festivals that is on the top of my list each year. It’s all of the best parts of a major festival (the production level, the sound quality, top DJs) at a manageable size (although I did get a crazy step count every day!).
Until next year!