After launching in Southern California 15 years ago and expanding ever since, the Electric Daisy Carnival held its inaugural New York-area event last week. The electronic music festival brought 45,000 to the MetLife Arena in Northern New Jersey, offering 5 stages with 85 DJ acts across a three-day weekend (Friday May 18 – Sunday May 20).
I only made it to Saturday and Sunday after ending up too sick to venture out on Friday. I was bummed that I missed out on some of the fun, but glad I rallied and was able to experience two full days of electronic music bliss.
Overall, EDC NY blew everyone away with unparalleled production for an electronic music festival — the lights, the rides, the performers were all top notch. Yes, this music festival included carnival rides. (The swing was a surprisingly great experience — each time you spun around you heard music from a different stage.) But the essential elements were also executed with perfection: each stage had excellent sound, lights, and dance floors. Event producers Insomniac and their collaborators for this venture, Pacha NYC, deserve credit for such an epic event.
Now on to the music. Here are some highlights from the festival.
Carl Cox: What can be said about this man that hasnâ€™t been said already? He turns 50 at the end of July and has been making tunes and making people dance for almost 30 years! He is a legend and he puts on an incredible performance every time. His signature â€śoh yes, oh yesâ€ť lets you know he still loves what he does and the crowd really appreciates it. I hope Carl keeps it up for another 30 years because he is truly one of the best, and EDM would not be as big if it werenâ€™t for him. Danny Tenaglia gave a nice and heartfelt thank you and big hug to Carl Cox before his set and said Carl is the reason Danny does what he does. Side note: Danny is apparently NOT retired. His “retirement party” was not really a retirement. He is just not touring as much.
Magda: Will you marry me? Seriously, this chick is awesome. Almost too short to see over the decks, she keeps bopping the whole time and kept the crowd going for a solid set. It is hard to define the German-born, Detroit-raised producer’s style, but whether you want to call it house, tech-house, progressive, or anything else, the fact remains that she makes some killer tunes.
Jochen Miller: I should start out by saying that I am not a fan of trance. But Jochen surprised me. His energy was off the charts (see pics). He didnâ€™t play straight vocal, poppy trance, which was a good move. I really enjoyed his set and the fact he was so into it helped the crowd enjoy it, too. (Donâ€™t tell anyone I liked a trance set, please.)
Calvin Harris: Great set–but what’s wrong, man? Smile a little. He looked so bored his whole set that no matter how big the banger he dropped, I found it hard to get into. He did play some great tracks but he just didnâ€™t seem all there.
Thomas Gold: Thomas is not only a great guy and talented musician (see our interview here) but he is also an awesome DJ, who puts on a varied yet always-entertaining set. He does play some of the popular tunes but always does live edits or mashups to keep it fresh, and his set at EDC was no different in that regard. In his signature solid white or black tshirt, Thomas is always a treat to see and hear. Still waiting on the release of that new track he dropped at Cosmic Opera.
The Stadium Day 3: This is where the bassheads hung out all day until Bassnectar took the stage of course. And it was the perfect venue. Lots of open room to dance around and some heavy drum and bass and dubstep. Goldie, who is also getting up there in age but can still put on a massive set, was great to see. Dieselboy, another legend, put on a high paced DnB laced set that helped me meet my cardio quota for the day and the MC with him was quite impressive. Downlink was also pretty dope but I didnâ€™t care as much for his live MC, minus the fact he was wearing a Misfits shirt which will always gain you points with me.
Bassnectar: “Holy shit” might be the best way to describe Bassnectar. From the pyrotechnic-laced opening to the crowd singing along to his â€śPennywise Tributeâ€ť at the very end, every moment was incredible. I have not experienced so much energy and loud bass in a very very long time. I wish he wouldnâ€™t move around as much as it makes taking pictures impossible and maybe cut that hair so we can see that face … just kidding, he can do whatever the heck he wants as long as he plays sets like that. I look forward to seeing him play another massive set at Camp Bisco this summer.
Some final thoughts, thank you to mother nature for giving us some amazing weather. Thank you again to Insomniac and Pacha NYC for a great weekend. Thank you to the awesome crowd (especially you beautiful EDM girls). And thank you for reading. If you’d like to experience EDC next year in New York, there’s some good news: Insomniac has already confirmed it.