It was fleeting like a hot hand at the blackjack table, and just like that we were back home in Los Angeles wondering how a hectic weekend in the desert went by so fast. It was Thursday, and I had the grandiose idea of starting the weekend off by catching Richie Hawtin at Drai’s, a dark club in the underbelly of the Las Vegas Strip that played host to some of the biggest names in Techno over the weekend. Word was he wasn’t starting until 4AM, so that left some time for a quick pitstop at Benny Benassi at the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s Marquee Nightclub. Marquee is what Vegas is all about. Scantily glad girls and even more scantily clad employees, and enough energy in the air to get everyone through till morning even without however many Redbull vodkas they may have in their system.
After leaving Drai’s at 730am only to wake up to a string of tweets mentioning Richie was still playing at 11am, I knew we were in for a long weekend. Let’s just say I had to leave Loco Dice at Drai’s on Monday AM so we could go check out of the hotel room…
Have we yet to mention there was a little festival with about 100,000 people at it every night of the weekend? Insomniac proved once again that just about no one, in any genre of music, save for maybe ID&T from Holland, puts the amount of time, money, and effort into production as they do. The main stage this year was a monstrosity of light and sound unrivaled by anything I’ve personally ever seen. The Circuit Grounds stage was once again a skeleton of steel and light that created a phenomenal atmosphere, especially when $100,000 worth of fireworks were going off directly above on Friday and Sunday night. Each stage had it’s own distinct characteristics but definitely gave you the idea you were at a cohesive event. And the art installations were second to none. As the sun came up and I played Hijack’s remix of DJ Falcon’s Untitled at 515AM there were 30 foot fireballs erupting about five hundred feet to in front of the stage.
Our highlight reel consists of almost getting caught in a fireball backstage during Benny Benassi while getting yelled at by a fire marshall, watching two forty foot inflatable bananas supported by the weight of 100,000 hands during Dada Life’s Monday morning mainstage set, and Friday night, amidst an all-star cast of talent playing all around us at the Speedway, collectively heading over to the Basspod stage to catch some good ol’ fashioned liquid DnB from one of our personal favorites, High Contrast. With Bud Light flowing, we got our sweat on and danced to the sounds of the Welshman for the better part of his set.
As EDC 2012 came to an end, we looked back on all the amazing sets and crazy events that happened during the weekend, and one took us by surprise. If you haven’t heard yet, Day 2 was cancelled due to the dangers of high winds and many big artists like Avicii, Tiesto and Steve Aoki were not able to perform. Due to the safety precaustions, many attendees decided to file out and call it an early one. However, Marcus Schulz and Aoki took 6,000+ attendees and fans by surprise when they took over the Wide Awake ART CAR stage and performed massive sets out in the middle of the field. The result was an incredibly unique happening that gained alot of praise from even Insomniac chief Pasqualle Rotella – tweeting: “Thank you @steveaoki and @markusschulz for DJing the #wideawake art car at EDC till 5am during severe winds last night! #troopers”
The start of day 3 became the height of the weekend as single day holders from Saturday were allowed entry due to the wind cancellations the night before. Although it made for worse traffic going to and from the speedway, the heightened crowds made for a most memorable experience for the masses. Insomniac head Pasquale Rotella made room for Avicii to squeeze into the main stage lineup (after his Saturday cancellation) but the night went to high energy sets from Porter Robinson and Dada Life, who literally lit the main stage on fire. The Wide Awake ART CAR stage had cast a spotlight on itself after saving the festival Saturday night and gaining an upgrade to triple the amount of funktion one sound. Weekend favorites Prince Club laid down ‘boat-rocking’ sets both Saturday and Sunday, while the closing B2B2B set by Burn Unit, Bones and Steve Huerta capped off an epic weekend with a 3 hour set til the desert sun rose.
Although we showed up towards the latter end of the EDMbiz conference on Thursday afternoon, it was inspiring to see the amount of people that came out in the name of the industry that has seen such an exponential rise in recent years. We sat in on the final two panels, including the Promoter panel featuring speakers Pasqualle Rotella and Donnie Estopinal as well as super agent Paul Morris as the moderator. We heard some great insight from all speakers on the future of the industry with the impending influx of capital from eager investors — a topic very appropriate with the recent sale of Disco Donnie’s promotion company (an endeavor that sold over 700K tickets across North America last year.) We also stepped in to the final Artist panel and had a listen to Steve Angello, Richie Hawtin, Kaskade, and more chat about the current state of Dance music before heading back to the hotel room. With EDMbiz seeing the success it did with such little time to plan, we’re excited to see it grow in coming years. The Cosmopolitan Hotel was a gracious host both to us and as official headquarters for EDC – for anyone wishing to stargaze, I highly recommend getting a room there next year. The downstairs bar and lobby was a veritable who’s who of dance music over the whole weekend.
On a sad note, the weekend saw two individuals suffer tragic fates. One, a pre-med student from Arizona perished in a horrific 20-plus-story fall from her hotel window. The other, a man struck by a truck while walking outside of the festival grounds. From everything we’ve read, it seems as if both of these individuals were alone when they met their demise. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, everyone needs to watch out for each other. Even strangers. These incidents seem to be outside of the realm of control of Insomniac, but they will of course be vilified by traditional media as these details come to light.
Make smart decisions, be aware of what you’re doing/what you’re taking/who you’re with, because in the end it’s your life.
Best After Party on the Strip:
Loco Dice @ Drai’s Afterhours
Best Party on the Speedway:
High Contrast @ BassPod
Steve Aoki @ Wide Awake ART CAR
Best Pool Party of the weekend:
Bag Raiders, Classixx & Poolside @ Hard Rock Pool
Danny Tenaglia & Victor Calderone @ Marquee Day Club
Worst of the Week: