With the official schedule being released merely two days before the gates opened, fans were irritated from the start. A much more thinned down roster from last year fueled the fire for the sold out event ticket holders whose high expectations were justified after the 2012 east coast premier of the festival.
For me personally, I was happy to see several favorites on the lineup like Gina Turner, Mark Knight, Steve Angello, NYC talent Tyler Sherritt, Eric Prydz, Dubfire, Richie Hawtin, and of course our buddies, Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. However, I knew the highlight of the weekend would be at the Neon Garden on Saturday with Art Department, Loco Dice, Carl Cox, and then Cox and Dice back to back for the final hour. I had no complaints… yet.
The weather on Friday was scorching hot, reminding me of last year when we got awful sunburns. Spirits were high all around, and the characters and costumes put smiles on everyone’s faces. Kandi exchanges were happening all around the grounds. Fans wore their most creative outfits and funny shirts. Yet amongst such seemingly happy people dancing in ecstasy, there were still many irrefutable vibe killers.
For starters, the new location didn’t do us justice for cell service. This is to be expected at large festivals with 50,000+ people but it was frustrating to not be able to do live tweeting, and finding lost friends was virtually impossible. Next, the clash of music from the stages being close together was undeniable. This was one of the biggest complaints I heard. While I didn’t hear any gripes about set time schedule issues aside from the Swedish dilemma of Prydz or Angello, nearly every artist only received an hour set which was too short for many people’s liking. Most DJs only play a contracted two-hour set and leave, so this is 50 percent, forcing them to cut to the best of their arsenal on the USB sticks.
The complaints continued with the long lines for the few rides they had. I got lucky on Saturday afternoon while the entire place flooded to Sultan & Ned Shepard’s set, I waited for less than five minutes to ride the gigantic Ferris wheel. I also heard that EDC overall had a low quality production feel as compared to last year, and it made it feel less like a festival.
If you look on the EDC festival guide with the map and schedule, there is a tiny clause at the bottom about “Adult Responsibility” and the “Zero Tolerance” policies. Maybe next year they should make this bigger so that there won’t be videos surfacing afterward of the kid who lost his pinky finger while swinging from the raindrop, or the “EDC robot” kid who was on drugs. These are just a few of the unfortunate instances that ruin the experience for the people who are truly there for the music, to have fun, and be responsible by adhering to these policies.
Speaking of the music, I heard some absolutely amazing sets and got to see several artists who I hadn’t had the opportunity to see previously, making my own EDC experience this year worth the hassles and annoyances. Despite the fact that press members weren’t allowed up on stage, which is an absolutely horrible policy since our job is to report up close photo and social media coverage, I have to tell you why EDC was still a hot two days for me and many others… the music!
On Friday I got there bright and early for local friend of EDMNYC’s, Tyler Sherritt. It was fun to watch the fans run towards his stage by the handful as the crowd filled up by 12:30. One girl held up a neon poster that read, “Tyler, have my babies!” ATB showed up nearly 10 hours before his own set time to watch Sherritt, and stuck around for Rudee who took over at 1pm. I had never seen him before, nor did I know any of the music he played, but I’d definitely go see him again because it was a great set. He ended with a “Sweet Disposition” vs. “Sweet Dreams” mashup and then “Molly” man, Cedric Gervais, hit the decks at 2:30pm. Ced took the mic and said, “you are one of the best crowds in the world“, as his remix of “Summertime Sadness” played, drawing loud screams from the massive crowd at Kinetic Field. Mark Knight, who I had been dying to see for a long time, opened his set with his Top 10 Beatport track, “Your Love”, at 3:30 and I stuck around for most of his killer set before heading over to the tent.
At 4pm I wanted to see what all the hype was about Maceo Plex at Neon Garden, and enjoyed a pretty deep house set. For the next hour I caught up with friends and cherished my first taste of the tent I’d call my home for a majority of the following day. I ran back to Kinetic Field to see Chuckie wreck the place, followed by our friends, Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. We hung out backstage with them for a bit and then got back to work. I caught some of Dubfire, who I also fell in love with on my first experience, and then heard the tail end of Steve Angello‘s set. I ran backstage, and as always, he was happy to say hello and ask me how I thought his set was. Such a class act! I ran back for the last hour of Richie Hawtin, and ended day one on a complete musical high.
Saturday brought me immediately to one of my absolute favorite ladies in the game, Gina Turner, who dropped “Brooklyn” by Groovebox which made me go nuts so early in the day, and then played some new album stuff and got the crowd to grow. I took a ride on the Ferris wheel as Sultan & Ned Shepard played “Epic”, the all-time dance floor destroyer track. I watched Quintino from the side of the stage with buddies Marlon and Fadil, better known as Bassjackers and R3hab. He wrapped up with their remix of “Chasing Summer”, and I went next door to see Bassjackers set since I was already in electro house mode and knew that was my last chance to have my face melted off before calling it quits and going back to the Neon Garden.
The weather all day was cold and drizzling, so what better place to stay warm and dry than the tent, right? From 4pm till the festival ended at 11pm, I refused to leave. Art Department for two hours, followed by Loco Dice for two hours, followed by Carl Cox for two hours was enough to send me into a techno overdose, but when Carl and Dice went back to back for the last hour, it was as if the garden had bloomed with thousands and thousands of flowers and it was simply magical. Every “Oh yes, oh yes” made the overpacked tent roar, and there really is nothing more to say about the last few hours of EDC in the Neon Garden other than it was completely spiritual.
Whether you thought EDC was hot or cold, good or bad, or something in between, tens of thousands of enthusiastic dance music fans came to New York for a carnival ride that is now on the road to Vegas. So if you don’t have anything nice to say, and you don’t want to adhere to the festival policies, and you want to be “that person” who diminishes the quality of an incredible experience like this for anyone in attendance, do us all a favor and stay home. The complaint department is now closed. See you all at Electric Zoo!
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