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Daisy comes to the desert: EDC hits Vegas this June

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The crowd at the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival in LA.
Photo: Richard Brian
Sarah Gianetto

Over the past decade, Las Vegas has become a new mecca for electronic dance music, home to top talent from around the world most every weekend, in the form of visiting DJs and semi-permanent residents like Tiësto and Paul Oakenfold. Now comes word that the largest annual EDM festival outside Europe—the 15-year-old Electric Daisy Carnival—will take place in Las Vegas this summer.

“It only makes sense for the No. 1 electronic festival in the country to move to Vegas,” says veteran Las Vegas nightclub executive and DJ Michael Fuller. “We are now the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

The two-day event is scheduled for June 24 and 25, at a confirmed but yet-to-be-announced venue, according to EDC promoter Insomniac Events. Rumored locations include Sam Boyd Stadium and its adjacent fields—site of the Vegoose music festival from 2005-2007, which drew as many as 72,500 fans over a two-day span—and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (capacity: 140,000-plus), some 17 miles north of center-Strip. Insomniac’s promise that EDC will run “dusk till dawn” would seem to make Sam Boyd improbable, because of its proximity to homes. The area’s largest indoor venue, the Thomas & Mack Center, lists its largest-ever concert crowd at 18,300.

The Details

Electronic Daisy Carnival
June 24-25
Location and price TBA
Beyond the Weekly
Electronic Daisy Carnival

Regardless of where Electric Daisy Carnival sets up here, it will be outside Southern California for the first time since 1997. It reached peak attendance there last year, with reports of 160,000 to more than 185,000 filling the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to see acts like Armin van Buuren, Groove Armada, Sasha, Moby, Swedish House Mafia and Deadmau5 spread over five stages. But record crowds also brought highly publicized problems: more than 60 arrests, 200 medical emergencies and the death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez, by ecstasy overdose, according to LA Weekly. That led the Coliseum Commission to impose an 18-and-over restriction and a cap of 75,000 attendees per day for the 2011 edition, but even with those controls, the upcoming festival had not been green-lighted for LA.

“As Freddie Mercury used to sing, the show must go on,” Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella said in a statement. “We are very excited to bring Electric Daisy Carnival to another world-class destination—Las Vegas. We invite all of our fans to join us there.”

What will EDC mean for Las Vegas? Local promoters sound excited. “My first experience at EDC was last year, and I was blown away by the production and all the amazing talent,” says Zarnaz “Zee” Zandi, electronic talent director for Angel Management Group. “I’m looking forward to saving on the expense of traveling, since it’s in our backyard.”

Sol Shafer, music director for Marquee nightclub, says EDC’s arrival in Las Vegas “clearly supports what we have been striving so hard for over the last several years—putting Las Vegas on the map for electronic dance music.”

According to Insomniac’s website, the Vegas version will be 18-and-over, giving that crowd a chance to experience DJs and live acts typically reserved for casino clubs.

As for the Vegas heat (Weather.com puts the average June high here at 100, compared with 80 in LA), lasvegasweekly.com commenter Joe Ferris summed it up this way: Yes, Vegas IS that hot. Can’t wait though!”

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