Despite the heat and crowds, this year’s edition of EDC Las Vegas was one for the books with special performances, insane production, and more!
This year saw EDC Las Vegas celebrate the 30th anniversary of Insomniac’s inception, and they brought a show-stopping experience for the hundreds of thousands of dance music lovers who made their way to Sin City. New additions to the festival also included five new stage designs, upgraded art cars, and the replacement of art installations throughout the venue, along with Memory Lane transforming into Anniversary Lane.
Though there was a sprinkle of rain on day one, the party raged on as many got to experience performances from Said The Sky, Above & Beyond, and Sullivan King b2b Kai Wachi paired with a magical trickle of raindrops through the lasers and lights. Additionally, unique b2b and special sets were featured on this year’s stages along with guests, such as Crown The Empire and Ty Dolla $ign. But before getting the party started at EDC Las Vegas, there were some shows we couldn’t miss during EDC Week.
Related: Want to dive deeper into some of the moments that made EDC Las Vegas an amazing experience this year? Check out our favorites!
EDC Week parties initiated the fun under the sun and set the tone for the weekend ahead.
The Basscon pool party hosted at Citrus Grand Pool Deck the Thursday prior to the festival kicked off our long-awaited weekend of activities. The heat of the day reached a “feels like” temperature of over 100 degrees! Regardless of the heat and minimal shade at the venue, the pool at the deck was a great way to cool off, and the crowd at the party elevated the fun with the intensity of their dedication.
This event featured sets of several of Basscon’s mainstays, including DJ Anime, Lil Texas, LNY TNZ, and Adrenalize. The sound system had booming bass that had tracks like “Too Cold” by Rooler, “Get Up” by Adrenalize, and an unreleased song by Lil Texas and MUST DIE! played. If you hadn’t experienced zaagkicks yet, this was the perfect place to hear them live.
After a large hibachi meal, we headed to the Dreamstate party at AREA15. This event featured two stages: one indoor with a large LED backdrop setup and the other being the outdoor stage megastructure. My top three sets of the night were Infected Mushroom at the indoor stage, Ben Nicky‘s second set that day, and Will Atkinson, who went on at 4am on the outdoor stage. The event was well organized, and both stages had a booming sound system. Although the indoor stage was filled to the brim due to the limited space, the crowd seemed to make due and still enjoy the sets.
Traffic to EDC Las Vegas was elevated with a crash on the highway and road closures around the Speedway on the first day.
Traffic delays were bound to occur all weekend due to construction in Las Vegas, so we did our best to leave as early as possible to get to the venue each day. Communication from Pasquale Rotella also helped all weekend long as he took to social media to warn everyone that they should head to the Speedway as early as possible on Friday due to severe traffic.
We arrived shortly after sunset, following the end of the opening ceremony. I headed to the VIP near cosmicMEADOW to check out the exclusive area’s perks and concierge for goodies. The elevated VIP experience was worth the price tag with its amenities. Not only were there cleaner bathrooms and premier areas for viewing the stages, but having more space in VIP-only areas was a relief. The amount of extra dance and walking space in VIP areas was significant due to the large crowds found at and between stages, mainly surrounding bassPOD, kineticFIELD, and circuitGROUNDS during peak performances. If you want room to dance, definitely consider VIP next year.
One of the best sets of the first night was Warface at wasteLAND.
This set from Warface included some of his best hits along with tracks from his latest album, Rest In Pieces, which was released earlier this year. This was my first view of the revamped hard dance stage, as this was my first return to EDCLV since 2018. However, it was one of the few stages that didn’t get revamped after last year’s edition and was also reminiscent of the indoor Basscon Wasteland mainstage of 2022.
I moved to bassPOD to check out FuntCase and Riot Ten b2b Jessica Audiffred. I was extremely impressed with this design, which debuted last year. My feet began to ache, so I made the trek to the grandstands for a bird’s eye view seat of the venue during GRiZ at cosmicMEADOW. This funky bass artist is a regular in my home city, Detroit; however, he brought the insanity to EDC Las Vegas with a vibrant performance that the massive crowd ate up.
After an elongated amount of rest up high and getting a bite to eat, I headed to psytrance royalty Blastoyz at quantumVALLEY for a bit. I made the journey back to bassPOD in my sky-high platforms in time for muscle mania and heavy bass with a B2B set of Sullivan King and Kai Wachi. I also experienced my first EDC carnival ride at the Ferris Wheel by bassPOD during Eptic. The line was significantly shorter than usual, with a 45-minute wait time for GA attendees.
I finally got the chance to see kineticFIELD in its full beauty when Malaa and Wax Motif took the stage for a groovy house set, yet the bassPOD called my name soon after as I closed with Barely Alive and Eliminate. I was impressed with both sets, even knowing nearly every artist brings their best in their sets to this event. Although much of the night was spent sitting at the grandstands, Ferris Wheel, or the CHASM art sculpture, I thoroughly enjoyed the first series of sets and production.
Due to a significant amount of traffic going in on day two, we missed the set we anticipated the most.
Although one of the current leaders in the rawstyle scene, Rebelion, was scheduled very early in the evening at wasteLAND and, due to the high amount of traffic that night on top of road closures, we missed the entirety of the set. This was Rebelion’s third performance in the US, and I was torn when I discovered several unreleased tracks were blasted on the speakers of wasteLAND for their EDC Las Vegas debut. Not only were new tracks by Rebelion played, but shortly after, Audiofreq debuted his newest sounds in hardcore and faster BPMs at this home of hard dance.
Later in the night, I was well-prepared for a dose of drum and bass. The B2B set at cosmicMEADOW of Zeds Dead and Chase & Status brought nearly as much energy as the wasteLAND stage. Continuing this injection of bass, I headed to bassPOD for Svdden Death‘s solo “Into The Inferno” set. This riddim-packed set was sonically similar to his VOYD sets; however, as I had never had the pleasure of seeing a VOYD set nor ever seeing the artist perform at all, Svdden Death’s set was my favorite of the evening. This set even occurred amidst the fireworks show on the east side of the venue to make the moment even more magical.
Soon after, we failed in our attempt to get a good spot in the crowd of circuitGROUNDS for the special guest that was leaked earlier in the day, John Summit. Subtronics was scheduled as the set before, but we were in for a pleasant surprise of 30 minutes featuring John Summit and him going b2b as Subjohnics. Another riddim and bass-filled tracklist completed the night’s dose of dubstep.
Shortly following the surprise B2B, we headed to a bit harder and faster set over at wasteLAND. There, Warface and D-Sturb took the stage, bringing rawstyle madness to the smaller, dedicated crowd. It was a breath of fresh air from the massive number of attendees who had flocked to the circuitGROUNDS for John Summit. From Playground project tracks to older Synchronized album collaborations and even more Rest In Pieces album tracks, both artists were not afraid to bring the heat in the already-warm weather.
There was plenty of energy and even more surprises on the final day of EDCLV.
Beginning the night in the middle of Adrenalize, my second time seeing him this weekend, he played several songs that overlapped with his pool party set days earlier. After, Code Black debuted his new sound under the BLACKOUT project. This project intends to revert to the roots of his older sound but in a way that is evolved to the sound design of today’s rougher tracks. If you were expecting a euphoric set filled with his songs from a few years ago during the peak of euphoric hardstyle in the hard dance scene, you were ill-prepared for his rough set that played several unreleased tracks from his latest project.
Later, I met up for Yellow Claw‘s set at circuitGROUNDS, which had cleared out significantly after Excision, who had unexpectedly played a hard dance track by hardcore legends Evil Activities, which was a huge surprise to hear. Nearly the first 20 minutes of the Dutch duo’s set was jam-packed with techno and old-school hardstyle drops. Not only did this genre-bending pair play those styles, but the clock was also turned back to the peak of trap music in the scene as old-school bangers from nearly a decade ago were blasted on the crowd-wrapping stage. Regardless of the rise and fall of the genre’s popularity, Yellow Claw played it proudly.
Closing out the night, I headed to neonGARDEN for the first time ever, which, much akin to last year’s edition, was an outdoor stage instead of a tent or megastructure. The stage was extremely crowded for 999999999, and rightfully so, as the set was filled with techno bangers and progressively graduated to harder and harder drops. While his hard techno sound was prominent throughout the set, he ended it with a hardstyle classic, “FTS” by Showtek, to cap off the experience.
Even though there were some ups and downs, Pasquale and the Insomniac Team thoroughly impressed us with EDC Las Vegas this year.
Beyond the music, the non-stage experiences at this edition of EDC Las Vegas were impressive, with the shops in the vending arena, plenty of rides, and gorgeous new art installations placed frequently throughout the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Additionally, the debut of the VOLTA Beauty Bars was also a welcome surprise and are sure to be a great addition to the festival goer’s experience at Insomniac’s events in the future.
Unforgettable friendships were initiated through Downtown EDC’s variety of activities, not limited to wedding ceremonies, the Kandi Casino, and dancing alongside other attendees at the Silent Disco. Because of these flame-kindling activities, it was rare to experience any unsavory moments throughout the weekend as the crowd this year showed us PLUR still had a heartbeat.
Few, if any, festivals on the planet can compare to the spectacle that Insomniac curates for EDC Las Vegas each year. The massive stages, lineup filled with surprises, and insane production elements throughout the Las Vegas Motor Speedway make this festival a vibrant escape from the real world that you simply need to experience for yourself. See you all next year under the electric sky!