Insomniac's "Electric Daisy Carnival" made its return to Met Life Stadium after a brief one year relocation to Citi Field. Not only did the move solve many of last year's issues, but Insomniac (teaming with Pacha NYC) found ways to make it an even better experience than it was two years prior. After spending both days on the grounds, here are my thoughts.
Anyone who attended EDC last year will tell you that sound bleeding was the biggest failure. However with a bigger space to work with and better planning, this year's layout seemed to work even better. Kinetic Field and Circuit Grounds were separated with Neon Garden in the middle of them. Each was just a 2-3 minute walk away, and the sound did not interfere with either. Inside Met Life was the Cosmic Meadow hosted by HARD this year. Also inside Met Life was the Bud Light Platinum club, a spot that not everyone knew about, but would factor heavily into my Saturday plans.
The biggest change/upgrade came on Kinetic Field as Insomniac's Owl made its east coast debut. To me however, I felt while it was cool to see it, I thought more could be done visually with LED boards, therefore to me Circuit Grounds was the more impressive stage to the eye. Neon Garden was exactly what it needed to be, a haven for the techno fans with some LEDs and Lights, but nothing over the top, to allow the music to do the work. Cosmic Meadow offered a festival sized stage with a historic setting; when else would Giants and Jets fans get to walk on the very field where their team plays? That in itself helped the appeal of the meadow, not to mention the stacked lineup.
Saturday- When it rains, it pours...
My Saturday kicked off in the Cosmic Meadow with Wax Motif, who i always try to catch when he is in NY. I also spent time checking out Mercer and Dannic rock the Circuit Grounds, before finally checking out Kinetic Field to see 3LAU. All the while, the sun went away and those "end of the world" clouds made their way in. I knew that Gina Turner had made a last minute announcement that she was inside the Bud Light Platinum club and running there was maybe my best decision of the weekend. While the outside turned to a downpour and stages were shut (unfortunately for UMEK who I was looking forward to and local NJ residents Cash Cash) I inside stayed dry and heard a SOLID techy and housey set from Gina Turner making her return to the booth after the birth of her and Laidback Luke's first child.
By 6pm the weather had cleared and just in time to catch my favorite set of Saturday from Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano. These guys always seem to step it up when they are in New York, and this was no exception. Opening with Fedde Le Grand's latest offering "You Got This" they kept the energy level high while working in tons of housey and drummy beats while still engaging the crowd with the vocals to many popular records. They also debuted a remix they produced of Calvin Harris & Alesso's "Under Control" which the crowd really reacted to. I had a chance to sit down with them after the set, and that conversation will air on Clubplanet Radio this Friday May 30th so tune in for that!
DJ Snake put on maybe the most anticipated set of the day inside Cosmic Meadow at 8pm as I saw people sprinting into the stadium to catch him. The buzz around this guy is really something to see. He did not disappoint, opening with Chocolate Puma's Remix of Revolution and of course sending the crowd into a frenzy with his monster smash, "Turn Down for What"
I closed the day checking out some Carl Cox as well as Hardwell. Finally headed out but made sure to stop at Afrojack's closing set and heard him rocking many of the tunes from his new album "Forget The World".
Sunday Sun is Shining...
My plan for Sunday was to spend much more time in the Garden, with guys like MK, Damian Lazarus, Green Velvet and Dusky just to name a few. I started off with some trance from Andrew Rayal, as well as some big anthems from Quintino. Thomas Gold took over the main stage & premiered his new track with Borgeous. I also spent some time checking out Sander Van Doorn, Martin Garrix (the only artists to play both days on different stages!) and Calvin Harris as well.
The set of the day came from Marc Kinchen. His hour long assault was filled with favorites like his remix of "My Head is a Jungle" and of the Duke Dumont summer feel good record "I Got U". The crowd was dancing and grooving for the entire set before closing with the classic Nightcrawlers "Push the Feeling On" which sent the entire Garden into a frenzy on the drop of the bassline. Coincidentally (or on purpose) Skream followed MK by opening with another classic house tune, The Perculator! Damian Lazarus & Dusky followed up with sets that were equally as impressive before the LED screens went neon green for the man, Green Velvet.
Closing out the night left the festival attendees with a tough choice, Tiesto at Kitnetic, Steve Angello at Circuit, Nero at Meadow or Claude Van Stroke at the Garden. I split my time between Tiesto and Angello. Seeing Tiesto play in NY still is a magical experience to me, and once again he did not disappoint. I sprinted over the catch Steve Angello and luckily was able to catch his previews of upcoming releases from his Wild Youth album, and in my opinion, the track of the year "Payback" he produced with Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman.
Insomniac & Pacha NYC heard the complaints from last year and turned EDC NY (NJ) back into a fun and awesome experience. The installations were top notch (from a metal owl whose head would light on fire to a giant daisy that would raise and lower throughout the day). There seemed to be every more carnival rides this year, with lines that never seemed to end (but that is to be expected at a show with 50,000 people). My only complaint would be the 'food area' inside Met Life, not the most ideal area for traffic flow with both people waiting for food, people eating, and foot traffic from in and out of Cosmic Meadow. After walking out of EDC at Citi Field last year with severe doubts of attending another EDC in NY, Insomniac restored my faith and put on a fantastic event.
As an aside, there has been some debate among attendees of Mysterland and EDC as to which was better. Both were amazing events and both allowed the festival goers to make the experience their own! The most important thing to come from the weekend was not one death from drugs at either event. As I walked the grounds only once did I see someone on the ground, and he had friends attending to him and medical people coming towards us to help him. He seemed to be ok as well. Insomniac's purple-clad festival angels were seen at every stage handing out free waters and assistance to those in need. Amnesty bins (one of my proposed suggestions after Electric Zoo) were also present outside the entrance gates. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come as festival season is now in full swing.
Photos Courtesy Insomniac via Doug Van Sant & a LIFE Coverage