‘Electric Daisy Carnival’ is a festival for those who have been working hard all week and fancy doing something slightly more interesting than a standard Saturday night in watching Netflix. The carnival is a day festival, with timings that are similar to Exeter’s Hijacked; eleven AM until eleven PM. However, by half ten it’s likely you will be following the crowds back to the train station ready for a good night’s sleep.
Above: the main stage at EDC
Undoubtedly the massive owl main stage, which was imported from the larger EDC event in Las Vegas, was the event’s outstanding selling point. The two looming pink owls had their wings spread framing unusual screens which the visual effects team had clearly put some time into creating. Wherever you stood in the bowl, if you looked into one of these 3D screens you could be taken to enchanted garden worlds, planets of fire and space scenes where the stars would fly out at you. On top of this, fireworks could be expected along with smoke and bubbles at almost every artists set, which made the atmosphere extremely ‘electric’ throughout the festival.
The festival surprisingly didn’t have any queues that my friend or I could see, not even for the beer or cider which were ‘festival prices’ at £5 a 500ml bottle. Although the initial price of the festival was £60 for a ticket, if you didn’t pre-drink then it could potentially amount to quite a bit more. However, pre-drinking did seem to be a popular choice. The security was really tight on alcohol and so crowds opted for the cheaper option and chilled in the parks around the bowl, drinking their own cheap alcohol and soaking up the sun before going in. The festival only started to get busy at around four in the afternoon and after that most people headed to the main stage to dance.
Despite the incredible staging and effects, I felt as if the music that was played for the entire day was music that we hear time and time again; if you went into TP, or even Arena, you would have probably heard it already. We managed to secure an interview with Paul Van Dyk during the day, which is included below, and he appeared to feel the same about the music that was played. He told us that “there are so many amazing musicians in the electric field and they are making so much great music, but because it has become more and more corporate, a lot of people don’t even get to hear it as the channels are stuffed with the same sounding things.”
The festival was really incredible in terms of staging and extravagance, but when we talked about our experience afterwards, my friend and I both felt like the songs were primarily crowd pleasers. Although the carnival was a great day out for many, it was an experience which would have been very different if less effort and thought had been put into the staging, and the effects had not been so extravagant. However, the fantastic staging and effects, the short journey back on the train and a full night’s sleep all made the trip definitely worthwhile.