Electric Daisy Carnival is a festival whose name has become synonymous with rave culture. As the festival is about to begin in its beacon, hub city, Las Vegas, it will welcome some of the biggest names in dance music to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. What's special about the arrival of EDC Week, is that it officially marks the 20th anniversary of the fesetival. A unique experience welcoming the biggest names in dance music, as well as budding artists to perform from dusk until dawn, EDC hasn't always been the international Insomniac Events machine that it is today. In honor of the festival's milestone this weekend, we've taken a look back to the festival's roots.
The first EDC started out in the 1990's rave culture – a heyday for secret, gritty parties about music and community. Many parties sprung up in Southern California like this, with only a few stages and a couple of DJs gracing its decks. And while there are rumors of EDC being this kind of party in the early 90's, it seems confirmation of its whereabouts might remain with the few who tracked it down through flyers and nondescript pre-recorded messages. Though the men who created the party – Steve Kool-Aid and Gary Richards who you might know from Hard Events – it wasn't until 1997 that the first official Electric Daisy Carnival launched to the public by Insomniac Events at The Shrine Expo Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The scene of concert-goers wasn't quite the brightly colored outfits we see today, but a sea of wide-legged JNCO pants and t-shirts. With a flyer so telling of graphics and dance music trends of the day (check out Gouryella's video for their title track for an animated version) and a $20 ticket price for entry, it marked a turning point for rave culture.
In the following years, EDC would move to additional venues throughout southern California: the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Exposition Park, and various venues in Barstow, San Bernadino. In 2009, EDC went international, launching in Puerto Rico, and in 2011 after controversial deaths at the LA Coliseum, EDC would make its move to its current home at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and expand to tour stops around the US, and in 2013, worldwide.
Electric Daisy Carnival's official launch in 1997 marked the entry of a new party into the franchise's directorship – Pasquale Rotella, now the infamous head of Insomniac Events. And from there, it only saw expansion.
As the event has grown over the years, there have been a few consistent appearances, like those of DJ Dan and Bad Boy Bill, who will return to the festival in 2016 to perform once again.
It wasn't until 2006 that the current branding and contemporary style of Electric Daisy Carnival surfaced.
Under Rotella, EDC went from an underground party to a multi-million dollar, 400,000 person experience. In 20 years, you can see just how far it's come:
Over the years, there have been celebratory events to document EDC's influence in the dance music industry's rise to fame with an exhibit in New York and even a documentary on the event and its history in dance music culture. And this year's EDC will be another time for fans to rave on and look back at how far it's all come.
Electric Daisy Carnival will take place June 17-19, 2016 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.