Electric Daisy Carnival New York was held at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey this past weekend and coming from someone who attended the last two years of EDC NY I’m proud to say that EDC stepped up their game and held the best EDC to date. Fortunately the weather cooperated both days and it was lovely and sunny with a cool breeze and the temperature hit up to 80 degrees so sunscreen was essential. The security line into the festival was about 20 minutes long with a single pathetic “amnesty box” near the entrance which I saw multiple people jiggle the lock of to see if they could “swipe some good shit”. Security itself wasn’t too brutal, I knew the rules so I got in quickly with no problems with my sealed chapstick and sealed gum. They did however throw away Roma’s eyedrops and hand sanitizer which is kinda excessive considering what could people possibly be smuggling in those teeny tiny bottles? The festival addressed issues they faced in the past of sound pollution and overcrowding by spacing things out appropriately which was awesome, although this year the inside of the stadium wasn’t used as a stage because it got way too trashed last year which I sorely missed for the pristine sound and actual bathrooms.
Once inside I headed straight to the MiO free water refill stand to fill up my camelbak which left an unpleasant aftertaste of dirt in my mouth, forcing me to purchase watered down lemonade and bottled gatorade for $5 the rest of the day. Not out of the norm but pretty disappointing. The festival had four stages once again and each catered to serve a distinct sub-genre of music. I headed to the Kinetic Field owl stage which was gorgeous and had a stunning stained glass design which changed to display graphics. The center of the stage had water fountains that were synchronized to the music while the top of the stage had torches for occasional roaring flames to accompany the electro house acts that dominated that stage. Personally I think the flames were pointless in the daytime because it was already hot as fuck and if I felt the heat of them from way back in the crowd then I can only imagine that the people in the front row probably sizzled like a slice of bacon on a grill.
The Neon Garden stage was a modest sized tent equipped with sick lasers and thumping bass to benefit the tech house and deep house acts that performed there. I trekked here only once and stayed for less than five minutes and I don’t know if it was just because of the DJ playing at the time but I literally couldn’t hear anything but *untz* *untz* *untz*
Circuit Grounds was personally my favorite stage and had three wide screens for graphics as well as pretty sweet lasers and a ton of room for dancing. This stage hosted the most diverse acts of the weekend and was well suited for anything from future house to techno and trance.
Last was the Cosmic Meadow stage which was purposely set up in the corner of the festival so that it could efficiently be the exclusive home to dubstep, drum n bass, and trap and while the stage wasn’t that big the sound was definitely dense and powerful as it should be.
The festival had vendors serving smoothies, lemonade, gatorade, frozen margaritas, alcohol, noodles, and pretzels but compared to other festivals the food options were pretty limited. General admission only served beer so to get liquor you had to be in the VIP area which didn’t affect me but was annoying for people of legal drinking age at the festival. Additionally they set up a bunch of hang out spots for people to meet up with their friends in case they got lost or just to relax. There was a big buddha statue near the lockers, a dandelion forest where hoopers showed off their stuff while bubbles blew from a machine above, and a handful of amusement park rides for the brave and patient souls.
Aric: My friends and I arrived to the chill vibes coming from the Kinetic Cathedral as Arty set the mood for the day, bringing the energy up in the crowd with tracks such as his wonderful remix of Porter’s “Lionhearted” and a notable usage of Above & Beyond with his remix of “Peace of Mind” and a mashup of Steve Angello’s “Payback” with “Sun & Moon”
My favorite set of the day was easily that of Laidback Luke. One of the most technically sound DJs out there, Laidback Luke completely killed it. This was probably around the 8th or 9th time that I’ve seen him and I can safely say that each and every one of his sets are unique. Laidback Luke demonstrated his mixing finesse by effortlessly combining recent singles such as his collaboration with Shelco Garcia & Teenwolf “XXX” and edits of his older tracks such as “Show Me Love” and “Turbulence”.
From there we went to see W&W who featured a great track selection throughout with a variety of new IDs and edits of classics such as Eiffel 65’s “Blue”. One noticeable aspect of their set was the nonstop energy which felt a little unbalanced as the crowd was not given any time to stop dancing and jumping during the constant stream of bangers.
The night ended with Armin Van Buuren, who put on a set that I’ve certainly never heard before despite having seen him twice already. Armin has recently taken steps to revitalize the trance genre alongside his protege Andrew Rayel, creating their own tweaks to the traditional sound. With unreleased tentatively named tracks such as “Next Level” and his collaboration with W&W “Your House is Mine” , my friends and I wondered whether Armin or Hardwell, who was playing at Kinetic Field at the same time, had the harder set. Armin really showed that he was putting a new foot forward as he didn’t end his set with his song “This is What It Feels Like”, which he had in the past.
Anna: One of the other closing acts of Day 1 was the incredible Carl Cox. Unfortunately there were technical difficulties during his set as the feed from Flosstradamus’ microphone cut into his speakers and phrases like “Turn up” and “I’m a stoner” were interfering until Cox got fed up and stopped the set to get things straightened out. During this time a lot of people left the crowd and I’m sure both Cox and his dedicated fans were disappointed.
Proof: (Skip to 3:20)
Aric: On Day 2, my friends and I got there early around 2PM to skip the long lines and catch MarLo’s set. It was well worth coming early for as he showed everyone the talent that Armin Van Buuren sees in him. With trance anthems such as “Visions”, needless to say it was a great set.
Shortly after, Andrew Rayel followed with his house-infused trance style as he continued to push the trance genre to new boundaries with his mentor Armin. Always with plenty of energy, Rayel really pumped up the crowd to get them going for the rest of the day with tracks such as “Eiforya”, mashups like “Save My Night vs Ping Pong”, and even playing Darude’s “Sandstorm” at some point.
Tiesto had a set with a great selection of tracks as always, really demonstrating the talent of the artists of his label Musical Freedom. The set included tracks by the artists on his label and collaborations between himself and his artists. Some of my favorite tracks played included MOTi’s “Valencia”, of course one of my favorite rising stars KSHMR’s “Secrets” and DallasK’s “Show Me”.
Among my favorite sets that night was easily Kaskade’s. With classics such as “Something Something”, “Room for Happiness” as well as newer tracks such as “Never Sleep Alone” and “A Little More”, Kaskade’s set included an abundance of tear-jerking vocals and energetic beats, as he brought his crowd through an emotional journey, ending with “Eyes” before letting the crowd go.
Anna: Day 2 I arrived around 4pm and went straight to see Brodinski and he did not disappoint. He played tracks like “US” ft. Bloody Jay and “Can’t help myself“. His set was full of adrenaline inducing techno and the graphics on the screen were slightly disturbing but mostly mesmerizing. The crowd was more sparse than he deserved but let’s chalk that up to the early time slot he was playing.
Afterwards I went to see Loudpvck but wasn’t feeling it so I left quickly to see The Magician at Circuit Grounds who was a lot more captivating. The Magician played plenty of sultry house songs like “Sunlight” and “Together” as well his his remix of “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit drawing in a much larger crowd than I expected from him and remixing his tracks to keep things fresh while encouraging the crowd to continuously dance in a very mellow way.
I stayed at this stage for Tchami who played all of his own songs like “Promesses” and “After Life” along with his remix of “You Know You Like It” by Aluna George and “Turn It Up” by Mercer, which I absolutely love but he wasn’t as creative with his set as I hoped he would be, just as minimally good as you could expect. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great producer so I can’t complain that he played his own stuff but it just sounded like he was going down his soundcloud hitting play one track after the other.
Duke Dumont was up next and the first half of his set still had a future house sound as if Tchami was still on so I guess he was trying to keep the mood without throwing the crowd off. You could say this shocked me because I believed that this was a long lost art in this day/age, especially at festivals. The second half he got really into it and played his distinct house hits like “Need you (100%)“, “I Got U” and “Won’t Look Back” along with a remix of “Hope” by Alex Metric and Oliver.
At this point I needed to rest desperately and laid down near the dandelion forest and let the grape scented bubbles fall over me like rain drops as I overheard DJ Snake’s sloppy and confusing set full of buffoonery over the mic. Of course he played his well-known hits like “Turn down for What“, “Lean On“, “Bird Machine” and “You Know You Like It” but tried randomly throwing in Hardstyle and Spanish music which didn’t fit at all.Maybe I’m just a restless hater but I feel like the crowd doesn’t ever care which half is your favorite and yelling on the mic between every mismatched song of a totally different genre isn’t equivalent to mixing a transition. By some weird fate I’ve seen DJ Snake 4 times and although I never go to shows specifically for him, he just coincidentally happens to end up being on the lineup of the events I attend. The first time I saw him was opening for Major Lazer at Pier 94 he was good and was still enjoyable the second time at EDC 2014 but seems to get more careless each time as his popularity expands.
Thankfully Kaskade was up next and played favorites like “Atmosphere“, “Turn it Down” and “Last Chance“. Kaskade made sure to weave his signature touching vocals tracks to soften the crowd up and get them to sing along and then brought the energy right back with crazy electro house drops. I cried….3 times and it was 100% worth it. He even played a new song that he said only a few friends of his heard so far along with his remix of “Runaway” by Galantis which the crowd totally ate up. Towards the end of Kaskade’s set fireworks went off for at least 15 minutes and they were gorgeous to say the least. I was upset that I missed Eric Prydz who was playing at the same time but Kaskade totally made it up to me. According to billboard Kaskade had one of the largest crowds of the entire event which doesn’t surprise me whatsoever. Kaskade was without a doubt my favorite set of the day.
Calvin Harris took the stage after Kaskade and I stayed a bit, but hearing generic radio EDM hits got boring fast and I made my way over to Datsik which was definitely the right move. Datsik went crazy, playing remixes of his own superb tracks like “Lightspeed“, “Scum“, and “Swagga“. He topped the night off by dropping a “Toxic” vs “Bricks” vs “Pop That” vs “I Can’t Stop” mashup that blew my mind and had everyone moshing and jumping.
It was very similar to his close at TomorrowWorld 2014
Despite the fact that EDC remains a pricey and relatively strict music festival held in a parking lot in New Jersey, overall it was still very fun and had a star-studded lineup. I genuinely wish I went two days instead of one.
Written by Anna Stepura, Aric Li, and Roma Moradian