The first thing that caught my eye was the Ferris wheel. It wasn’t moving, but it loomed over the expansive parking lot. It wasn’t lit up, but the sheer presence gave me shivers because I knew what awaited me on the other side of the gate. There’s a reason that you can only enter the portal once; when you walk through, you enter the Electric Daisy Carnival, one of the most wondrous places this side of the Atlantic. Adorned with five stages and five rides, EDC New York lasted just 24 hours spanning two days, but the memories and experiences will last a lifetime. Friday was a beautiful day for a festival; clear skies, warm weather, and fantastic music, while Saturday was the cool off day with a cold wind blowing across the fairgrounds, overcast skies and the occasional rain drop. But the music was still there. There were fairies, there were animals, there were zombies, there were Guy Fawkes and there were flower children. And when the sun went down, there were Glovers and ravers who crawled out of the crowds to put on some of the best light shows New York has seen.
With everything that was going on in the crowds, it was easy to forget there was a concert going on — for about two seconds. This weekend included new songs from Adam F, Afrojack, Borgore, Calvin Harris, DJ Fresh, HeadHunterz, Krewella, Knife Party, Nicky Romero and much more. It featured everything from Adam F and Borgore blowing a CDJ, to DJ Fresh getting the entire crowd to get low on the ground, to HeadHunterz getting bass-blocked on their last song right before the drop to Culture Shock, Cookie Monsta and Funtcase opening up one of the most intense mosh pits of the weekend. The place was filled with an electric energy from the second you got there and it was very easy to get lost in the moment, especially because there was no cell service anywhere. But once you were in the crowds, you didn’t need cell service because the music took you out of this world to a familiar place, one where you had never been but everyone knew who you were. That’s what makes the festival scene so special, that instant camaraderie between ravers, ragers and the inbetweeners. There’s no beef, no drama, just music, lights and love.
This was immediately felt in Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano’s incredible set, only to be topped by the one and only Zeds Dead. Listening to them was like sitting in your car with your best friends going through and choosing all of your favorite songs. And that was the best part about EDC; whether it was Zeds Dead of DJ Fresh, everyone played their own style of music that incorporated a little something for everybody. Notably missing was the 1001 plays of Clarity, although it did make appearances. With the intense energy still coursing through our veins codename Animal Crew made its way over to Nicky Romero’s set only to be blown away. We were greeted by this weekend’s theme song ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and from there we did not stop moving for his entire set. Whether it was from our hard style dance pit or just jumping up and down, it was impossible to stand still for these sets. From there we bounced our way over to catch the last of Adam F’s dirty set to get ready for the be all and end all set of the weekend, Borgore. This was the first time I had seen Borgore, and folks he does NOT disappoint. Even when they had technical difficulties he started singing Decisions a cappella to pass the time, followed by fireworks launching over Citi Field to coincide with the beat nonexistent. He then proceeded to play one of the filthiest sets I have ever heard live, which includes performances by Deadmau5, Knife Party, Skrillex and Excision. For an hour it was as if you thought of a song and he had it lined up ready to play. From trap to dubstep to true gorestep as only Borgore can churn it out, this set took everything out of you and more and was the highlight set of the weekend. We managed to drift like zombies over to HeadHunterz, our minds in complete shock at the five hours of filth we had just experienced. Unfortunately there is no rest for the weary for as soon as we got there the whole crowd was jumping and raging out. The climax came when HeadHunterz played a brand new, never-before heard collab with Krewella that was just perfect, putting even more excitement into the group’s highly anticipated album. As if it was too good to be true, HeadHunterz was lining up there last song with an extremely intense drop when the event crew was forced to pull the plug. It truly was the biggest tease of the weekend as Insomniac bass-blocked us, but it only prepared us for the next day.
Although it was dark and gloomy, the second day still had its own unique energy. Everyone realized that to beat the cold they would have to rage as hard as they could, and so they did. We wriggled our way to the front for two hours of Culture Shock, Cookie Monsta and Funtcase to unleash whatever energy we had left over from the day before in a very successful mosh pit where time seemingly stood still as the beat moved people back and forth. With Cookie Monsta and Funtcase over, it was time to head over to Gareth Emery, with a pit-stop at Cosmic Gate. There was never a moment to sit as everywhere you went people were encouraging you to follow them in every single direction; so many wonderful stages, so little time. We chose Dash Berlin to hold us over until the power duo of Calvin Harris and Afrojack. The sounds of the radio took over as Calvin Harris’ insanely popular tracks filtered through the airwaves, and although it seemed as though 75% of the entire concert was crammed in front of this one stage, I couldn’t help but feel weightless drifting on a sea of notes. Normally not one for progressive house, I got completely swept away by the whole euphoria that is EDC; that Sudden Clarity Clarence moment where you realize that you are in one of the most exciting and electrifying places on the planet listening to some of the best performers in the world play some of the most popular songs that are out. It was an out of body experience for me as I watched the whole crowd jump and sway with every synth note and drop with every bass drop.
But the crème de la crème of day 2 was DJ Fresh and Crizzly. Known for Gold Dust, DJ Fresh had the people moving all throughout his set including a gag release of the track ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which was followed by his actual new collab with Diplo. And then it was time for Crizzly. His heavy rap remixes filled the crowd, giving a complete change of pace, and although everyone knew what was coming when he started to play the intro to ‘Thrift Shop’, no one expected it to be so heavy. And that’s how I would describe Crizzly’s entire set, heavy. He also dropped mixes of ‘All Gold Everything’ and ‘Bugatti’ before ending the night with two of his best tracks ‘Chain Hang Low’ and ‘Way We Ball’. Even the MC got caught up and for a moment flew off the stage before landing on top of us and being carried off into the night.
And that’s how it was; it came and left as quickly as it was here. As the lights died down, the cleanup crew spilled out onto the grounds, and the last fan walked off that field back onto Earth, the magic hung in the air for just a little bit longer. No one wanted it to end, no one wanted to go back to their regular lives. For one weekend we were one, sharing in this musical experience from another world, where magic happens, the outside world doesn’t matter, and everyone is the fullest of their imagination. Whether you want to be a kandii kid, a raving penguin, or if you just want to be Anonymous, Electric Daisy Carnival let you live the dream, even if it was just for 24 hours. And we’re all stuck here asking; when are you coming back?