EDC Vegas 2016: The Best and the Worst

EDC's main stage, Kinetic Field.EXPAND
EDC's main stage, Kinetic Field.
Sarah Purkrabek

Note: this article originally appeared in our sister publication LA Weekly.

There’s a little bit of everything at EDC Las Vegas. The outfits, décor and stages are all unbelievable, and the massive festival grounds offer plenty of chances to intermingle with fellow ravers. Throughout the weekend, there were many, many bests. But, as with any large logistical nightmare of a gathering, there were some worsts as well. Here, the good and the bad of what stood out most.

BEST: Insomniac’s super-polite and friendly EDC app
It welcomed us when we arrived in Las Vegas (location services permitting). It gently reminded us to drink water. It thanked us for coming out, hoped we had a great time at EDC, and bid us a safe trip home. It even reminded us all that we are beautiful. What's not to love?

Anna Lunoe makes history on the Kinetic Field stage.EXPAND
Anna Lunoe makes history on the Kinetic Field stage.
Felicia Garcia for Insomniac

BEST: EDC’s first (and second) solo female artists play the main stage.
Back in 2014, Krewella was the first female duo to perform on EDC Las Vegas’ main stage. This year, on the Saturday of EDC’s 20th anniversary, Anna Lunoe became the first solo female artist to do it. (And on Sunday, Alison Wonderland became the second.) It may have taken longer than we'd have hoped, but these ladies made history. 

BEST: Serving Dippin’ Dots onsite.
If there was one thing we'd think for sure this carnival would be missing, it would be Dippin’ Dots. But then Insomniac thought of that, too.

WORST: KSHMR blowing his speakers during his sunrise set Saturday morning.
He was killing it before half of his sound went out, and unfortunately he lost a good chunk of his audience in the two or so minutes it took to get them back online. 

BEST: The totems.
Without a doubt, EDC-ers are the most creative, clever totem-makers of any festival crowd. Just like EDC itself, totems are over the top, brightly lit, and totally unique. Usually, they’re also pretty cheeky (from signs reading “OMG, Levels is my favorite DJ!” to “Don’t worry guys, I’m right here!”).

The BassPod stage, not on fireEXPAND
The BassPod stage, not on fire
Freedom Film LLC for Insomniac

WORST: The fire at BassPod.
EDC’s bass-in-your-face stage, BassPod, was one of Insomniac’s coolest creations. However, things were decidedly not cool when one of the stage’s pod props actually caught on fire during Andy C’s set, just before 3 a.m. on Sunday. Not that it wasn’t hot before that — the functioning pyrotechnics, crowd and high-volume speakers are enough on their own to make a person dizzy, so this is one stage in particular where partiers had to tread cautiously. 

BEST: Oliver Heldens’ perfect mix of groove and bass.
During his Saturday main-stage performance, Heldens stayed true to his funky roots while maintaining the progressive bass lines that keep people glued to a festival set. Even his remixes of Estelle’s “American Boy” and Thomas Jack’s “Booka Shake” started off soft, with soul, and deepened into bass-heavy masterpieces.

BEST: 4B’s gnarly trap set.
New Jersey producer 4B brought trap and hip-hop to EDC in a big way Saturday night — and that was before he pulled Soulja Boy onstage for a tricked-out rendition of “Crank That.”

Fine, we'll put our hands up.EXPAND
Fine, we'll put our hands up.
Scott Hutchinson for Insomniac

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WORST: Being told to put our hands up.
We know it’s a classic, but really — can’t someone come up with a new way to phrase this? We’re with Lorde on this one.

BEST: Troyboi’s gooey bass and the dancers that personified it.
Troyboi’s unique, grimy bass music kept BassPod packed — even when his sound went dead for a few minutes mid-track. His slowed-down beats were the ideal soundtrack for two onstage dancers, who moved slowly and deliberately, as if through gelatin.

BEST: The Kalliope art car.
This roaming stage was the home of DJs like Frankie Bones, Tommie Sunshine and Brian Seed over the course of the weekend, and it provided a much-needed place for meandering people to gather and dance away from the bigger, more heavily produced stages. 

If you take anything away from this admittedly subjective list, let it be this: EDC is not like any other festival. If you haven't been, you should go, because with this one, Insomniac is in the business of blowing your mind. 

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