This past weekend was the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Exposition Park and Memorial Coliseum in Downtown Los Angeles. Held over two days, Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26, “EDC” is an annual electronic music festival that sends LA through the tilt-a-whirl, quite literally, with carnival rides and five stages rigged with pyrotechnic displays, acrobats and dancers, multiple screens and loud, loud electronic music. Rave much? If so, this is your playground.
After I grew too old to care about the rave scene anymore, I figured everyone else had too. But anyone who thinks that rave culture is dead hasn’t spent the last two days fighting their way through a massive estimated crowd of 185,000 (over both days) of rainbow-colored kids wearing tall fuzzy boots, LED apparel, neon colored petticoats, Hello Kitty backpacks and little else. I quickly learned on Day 1 of the festival that those kids in your high school days who sucked on pacifiers went on to be replaced by a whole new generation.
As one guy said at the entrance, the festival is worth it for the people watching alone. If you really want to feel old, put yourself in a crowd of 100,000, and be one of the few people over the age of 25. The average age is somewhere between barely legal and barely old enough to drink, the preferred dress code is nude, nuder, and “fuck clothes,” and the girls run around in neon-colored bra tops and g-strings and have not an ounce of fat to show for themselves. Guys, if you want to know where to ogle nymphs, forget your Playboy magazines. The Rave scene is where the booty is at. It really makes you wonder, though, what happens to rave kids after the age of 29? Is it anything like the movie “Logan’s Run?” Or, do they suddenly wake up one day, take a shower, and rinse off all the rainbow of crud accumulated from years of looking like something that a Care Bear would puke out, had said Care Bear over-indulged upon some of that Infected Mushroom all these kids are listening to?
Ok enough about the crowds. You can pretty much sum up the dire situation in one sentence: Lindsay Lohan made an appearance, Chanel SCRAM anklet and all. You get the idea. Now we can move on to what made the festival at all tolerable: the music.
Day 1 saw the likes of Z-Trip, Basement Jaxx, the aforementioned Infected Mushroom, Moby, BT, Steve Aoki, Armand Van Helden, Travis x A-Trak, Kaskade and Deadmau5.
Basement Jaxx performed a DJ set at the Circuit Grounds stage, the largest stage second outside the coliseum, lit with circular rings that made the artist look like they were sitting inside some giant cornucopia with giant video screens inside, on both sides, and all along the field, flanked by cannons of confetti, flames, fireworks, acrobats, and even little people dressed like flying monkeys. Whenever a favorite artist of mine plays a DJ set, I can’t help but secretly hope they’ll bust out some of their own material. I’m a huge fan of Basement Jaxx, ever since they brought on my teenage obsession Siouxsie Sioux on for “Kish Kash.” But they played pretty straight forward without any real surprises.
Infected Mushroom took the stage between Basement Jaxx and Moby. They pride themselves on being one of those maverick electronic acts with a full band, including guitar player, singer and drummer to flank the DJs. The lead singer spent most of the time jumping up and down on the trampolines that ran across the front of the stage and banging his head, but not nearly enough time convincing me that they weren’t some washed up version of Lords of Acid. Even their graphic, a depiction of, you guessed it, an infected mushroom, looked like something a depressed goth kid playing around with InDesign would come up with.
God bless Moby. He came, and he killed; he may have single-handedly saved the night. With one drop of his beats he reminded us all what a good electronic sound is capable of doing: making you move while making you retarded and giddy all at once. Thank you, Moby, for making Day 1 of the Electric Daisy Carnival aight.
Deadmau5 was the finale at the Kinetic Field stage inside the coliseum. The numbers of raver kids in the coliseum was enough to make me think I stumbled upon an alien hive, everyone plugged into the same system, getting high off electronic beats, screens and whatever substance synthetic or organic they managed to pour into their veins. “Ghosts N Stuff” was a crowd favorite, and his trademark mouse head with dead eyes eerily makes too much sense as an icon of electronic music itself. As long as there are kids, there will be Disney; as long as there are kids who grow out of a love for Disney, there will be kids who drop acid, wear rainbows and idolize DJs wearing giant mouse heads — a fitting symbol of rebellion against their own candy-colored childhoods.
Words: Sara Bond
Photos: Alex King
Where can I find Electric Daisy Carnival photos? Here!
Click on thumbnails for more photos! There’s a shit load and you might be in one of them!