Some musical trends come and go, while others stand the test of time. The Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene falls firmly into the latter category – with new sub-genres being introduced all the time, plus sell-out concerts and festivals.
This is more than true in Las Vegas, America’s gambling mecca. EDM is a particular favorite here, with DJs Calvin Harris, Diplo and Skrillex all with residents at high-profile nightclubs. Vegas has always attracted the biggest musicians – and where the likes of Sinatra performed in the past, Tiesto is performing today. The soundtrack of the city has upped its pace.
Perhaps it’s the slightly decadent nature of EDM is in keeping with the bright lights and casino scene in this part of Nevada, or perhaps its 4/4 soundtrack is more than appropriate for the pulsating heartbeats and drama unfolding in the city’s casinos. Whatever the reason might be, the EDM scene is set to stay.
There are conflicting arguments as to who invented EDM. We can certain track the genre back to the mid-70s iconic disco tune ‘I Feel Love’ which was recorded by Diana Ross with more than a little help from synth wizard Giorgio Moroder. Dance and the electro sound seemed to be perfect partners but the decade would end in a more sombre fashion.
The late 1970s was a boom period for the electro genre with acts such as Tubeway Army, the Human League and John Foxx starting to dominate the charts. In turn, newcomers including Depeche Mode began to take over – this is the point where EDM music started to head into the clubs.
Many of the big name DJs employed electronic music as part of their act and in the modern day, we now have the big EDM artists who dominate that Las Vegas scene. The industrial edge to the music gave way and, as Summer and Moroder had intended, the dance element began to take over.
Utopia took full advantage of the global craze for EDM when it opened 1996. Boasting pyrotechnics and a booming soundsystem, it attracted superstar DJs such as Fatboy Slim and Carl Cox. It later closed and reopened as Empire Ballroom in 2008, when a new generation of house and trance DJs swept in to set dancefloors alight.
The best EDM acts in Vegas
EDM fans will naturally have their own opinions when it comes to naming the best acts around today – but there is much love for one artist who we sadly lost in 2018. Avicii passed away in April of that year but his work lives on and continues to be shared in Las Vegas and beyond.
Of those who continue Avicii’s legacy, Tiesto is perhaps the most well known. As he approaches his 50th year, the Dutch artist features highly on most lists of top electro acts. Tiesto has received numerous honours throughout his momentous career – and continues to hold a residency at the MGM Grand.
Also highly rated is Martin Garrix – another Dutchman who, this time, is just starting out with his career. Garrix has been spinning tracks in Vegas’s hottest nightclub: OMNIA.
Among those entertaining the EDM faithful in Las Vegas on the event calendar in 2019 are Drake, DJ Mustard, Lil Jon and Rick Ross.
Knock-on effect: how Vegas benefits from EDM popularity
While EDM continues to hold great interest across Las Vegas, its rise provides benefits not only for the clubs hosting the best DJs – but for Sin City in general. The host venues such as Tao at the Venetian and Hakkasan at MGM Grand have particular reasons to be grateful as they are full to capacity whenever the bests acts head to town. After all, these venues are able to attract more footfall into their casinos – and increase the number of gamers playing at their tables.
OMNIA is based at Caesars Palace is among the many casinos in Las Vegas to stage EDM nights. At the start of 2019, they were looking forward to the arrival of the mysterious Zedd – a superstar of the EDM genre – who is a versatile performer known for producing and songwriting as well as his successful DJing career.
Wynn Casino and the Mandalay Bay resort are other popular destinations and nights such as these provide a perfect opportunity to combine a great evening of EDM with a spin of the roulette wheel or a hand at the card tables.
And of course, anyone who visits Vegas to attend an EDM is of course going to visit the local restaurants, shopping malls and hotels – providing an all-round benefit for the city.
Clubs and casinos: living in harmony
Last year, Vegas received 42 million visitors. However, with casino revenue on the decline, this suggests that tourists are coming to the city for other reasons than just to gamble.
Another reason for the fall in revenue is the well-documented rise of online casinos, which are flourishing across much of the Western world. Convenient, accessible and more engaging than ever before, more and more gamblers are going online to play their favourite casino games. In fact, the online gambling market is predicted to be worth just shy of $60 billion this year.
Some online operators have gone a step further in a bid to attract players. One leading online casino, for example, has themed its whole brand around the glory days of Las Vegas, complete with a Wurtlitzer soundtrack and chequered flooring. This, along with its range of exciting and immersive online casino games, are hugely tempting for any gambler wanting to have a flutter without catching a bus, train or plane to Vegas itself.
In this era of unprecedented competition – not just from online but from Macau in Asia – Vegas’s land-based casinos are reaching out to EDM and other entertainment options to plug the gaps in casino revenue.
In the same way that Nashville dictates the country music scene, Las Vegas is now acknowledged in many circles as the centre for EDM. It’s a welcome addition to the area for local businesses too and while the venues can attract the top talent and pay the highest prices, the scene is set to thrive over the next few years and beyond.
Whether the turntables or the roulette wheel is spinning the most, both clubs and casinos are working hard to keep Vegas’s glamour alive.