If you’re new to rave and electronic music festival culture, you may have heard people talking about “EDC” with the type of reverence usually reserved for celebrities and superstar athletes. EDC is a superstar in its own right - a superstar of electronic dance music festivals, that is! If you’ve been asking yourself “What is EDC?” you’ve come to the right place. The next question you’ll be asking is “How soon can I go?!”
What is EDC?
EDC is short for Electric Daisy Carnival, which just so happens to be the largest electronic dance music festival in North America. It is located in Las Vegas, NV. The three-day event draws more than 400,000 people, making it one of the largest music festivals in the world. In addition to being the largest electronic dance music festival in North America, it’s also one of the most popular; EDC was named “Festival of the Year” at the 2017 Electronic Music Awards.
If you can believe it, the 400,000 person dance party known today as EDC actually started as a warehouse party in Los Angeles in 1997. Today, the festival is more than a music festival; it incorporates carnival themes and attractions, more neon and glowing lights than you even knew existed on the planet, and cutting-edge stage production to push the boundaries of your imagination. The name Electric Daisy Carnival might seem strange at first, but once you attend your first EDC, you’ll realize that there’s no name more appropriate.
Where is EDC?
The very first EDC premiered in 1997 in Los Angeles, California, and it has continued to grow ever since, requiring changes in location. Today, EDC’s flagship festival is held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it’s known as EDC Las Vegas. When most people talk about EDC, that’s the festival they’re referring to. However, the event has grown so popular that it has expanded into other cities and to several different countries around the world. Today, the world of EDC festivals are held in the following locations:
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Orlando, Florida
- Mexico City, Mexico
- South Korea
What Time of Year is EDC Held?
EDC Las Vegas is typically held in May, but the COVID-19 pandemic has required some rescheduling on the part of many different festivals, EDC included. This year's event will be held in Las Vegas on October 22-24, 2021 during a special rescheduled date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The weather for EDC is notoriously hot, and even with the temporary move to October, it’s likely to stay that way, so planning accordingly is important to make sure you have a great (and well-hydrated) time.
Photo Credit: EDC/Insomniac Events
What Makes EDC Unique?
EDC is truly a multi-sensory experience in a way that sets it apart from any other festival or rave out there. The festival combines music and art in a way that inspires and excites your senses, with giant three-dimensional structures, glow-in-the-dark areas, and massive lit up plants and animals. There have even been big names in music like Calvin Harris. You’ll also experience carnival performers making their way through the crowds, dazzling you with their talents. Plus, carnival rides abound at EDC. There’s the fast, thrilling, and scary ones, of course, but you’ll also have plenty of options for rides that will help you relax, cool off, and enjoy the atmosphere. There’s truly something for everyone!
Photo Credit: EDC/Insomniac Events
What Should I Pack for EDC?
Packing for EDC can be a bit overwhelming. After all, this isn’t just some festival out in the middle of nowhere - you’re in Vegas, baby! In addition to everything you’ll want to pack in order to look and feel your best at the festival, you’re no doubt going to want to hit the clubs while you’re out on the strip. You can find a comprehensive packing list from iHeartRaves on your cell phone or computer that you use on a daily basis, but we’ll hit the high points here, too.
- Swimsuits and cover ups for days by the pool while you’re on the strip
- Sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your eyes and skin from the strong Vegas rays
- Dresses or club attire, plus dress shoes for nights at the clubs downtown
- Casual outfits for exploring the city during the day, including comfortable shoes - you’ll be doing a lot of walking!
- EDC gear or Festival outfits for Days 1, 2, and 3
- Thin jacket or outerwear for chilly desert nights
- Comfortable shoes or boots to wear to the festival (platforms, anyone?)
- Poncho - great in case of rain, plus it provides a clean place to sit down
- Your ticket (EDC now has a mobile app available, so you can scan right from your phone)
- Kandi to trade and give away
- A totem to help you and your crew find each other easily
- A hydration pack - why miss your favorite set when you’re running to get another bottle of water? A hydration pack makes it easy to stay hydrated and saves you money, too.
- Unopened lip balm and unopened gum - you’ll make friends fast!
- A portable phone charger - don’t miss an Instagrammable moment!
- Hand sanitizer - enough said.
What Tips are There for First Time EDC Attendees?
If you’re nervous and excited to attend your first EDC, don’t worry! We’ve all been there, and the festival operates on the PLUR principle - peace, love, unity, and respect. There’s no need to worry about fitting in, because as long as you’re true to yourself, you will. Here are a few tips for first time EDC attendees.
1. Stay hydrated: There’s nothing sexy about getting dehydrated, and if you don’t come to EDC prepared, that’s exactly what will happen. Make sure you bring a hydration pack with you. Yes, they sell water bottles and hydration packs at the festival, but why not bring your own? You can find cute ones that match your outfit on sites like iHeartRaves.
2. Schedule the sets: There’s a lot happening at EDC, and there’s bound to be a ton of different artists you want to see. Make sure you check out the lineup ahead of time and prioritize which acts are must-sees. You can’t see them all, so it helps to have a plan of attack ahead of time so you’re exactly where you want to be when the beat drops.
3. Visit the LUX Rave Store: Any festival is bound to have some cool pop-up stores, but the LUX Rave pop-up store at the Luxor hotel is a must visit. You’ll find all your last minute rave essentials on hand, and you can even order your outfits online and pick them up when you’re there if you’re trying to pack light.
Lux Rave Pop Up Shop at the Luxor Hotel
4. Carpool if you can: Traffic getting to EDC is going to be crazy, so save yourself some time and stress by carpooling via Uber or Lyft. If you absolutely have to drive to the festival, make sure to take a photo of where you parked (signage, etc) or drop a pin so you can find your spot later. The last thing you’ll want to be doing when you’re exhausted is wandering the parking lots looking for your ride.
Bring a portable charger: You’re undoubtedly going to want to take a ton of pictures and video at your first EDC, and that will suck the battery out of your phone fast. Make sure you bring a portable charger with you so you can juice up on the go. You don’t want to be the friend that no one can find at the end of the night because their phone is dead!
5. Dress for comfort: EDC is a huge festival, which means you’ll be doing a lot of walking in addition to dancing all night long. Make sure your shoes are comfortable - we can’t say that enough! If possible, try to spend a whole day in them ahead of time to make sure that your favorite pair is really what you want on your feet all day every day during the festival. Staying comfortable will make it a lot more fun to dance the night away!
6. Find some time to chill: EDC can be a lot for any rave rookie, and it’s ok to feel overwhelmed. There are plenty of chill areas at the festival that are designed specifically to help you unwind, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of them when you need a break. The rides also offer a great vantage point to take some time away and look out over the festival while still feeling like you’re a part of everything.
Arrive early and get your bearings: If you’re worried about getting lost at the festival or feeling overwhelmed, try to get there early for the first day. You’ll have more space to walk around the grounds and get your bearings, plus you’ll have a lot fewer people in all of your pictures.
Whether you’ll be attending your first EDC or your fifteenth in 2021, you’re bound to have a blast out there amongst all those good vibes. No matter what you decide to wear or which sets you choose to catch, just be yourself and let the good times roll! And of course, don’t forget to hydrate and get plenty of sleep - you’ll need it!