Updated October 25, 2021 - 5:01 pm
It wasn’t even dark yet and the pickle man was getting after it.
The sun had yet to set on the Electric Daisy Carnival — literally and figuratively — Sunday at dusk, and the guy costumed as an anthropomorphic condiment was boogieing down hard next to a woman in silver hot pants who’d set a camera up in the grass bordering the Cosmic Meadow stage to film herself doing the same.
It was 5:30 p.m., and the party hadn’t even really started — the EDC grounds don’t open fully until 7 p.m., though early birds can hang at the aforementioned stage, where the music begins at 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m, depending on the day.
Despite being so early in the evening — EDC would go on for another 12 hours — thousands of fans were already in the house.
“Yo EDC, we made it to day three!” bellowed DJ-producer Blossom, a pink-haired pogo stick who opened the Cosmic Meadow, as a dude pistoned an inflatable cow in the air to the beat, a shirtless fellow in body glitter knelt down to take a picture of his ladyfriend’s derriere and a group of four Raiders backers heckled an Eagles fan in a DeSean Jackson jersey.
In other words, it was (monkey) business as usual as EDC roared to a close at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with over 450,000 fans taking in nearly 40 hours of live music over three days.
Oh, there were some signs of fest fatigue on Sunday.
“Look at the way we’re walking,” a woman in a thong flanked by a trio of male friends said of their sluggish pace as they trekked the dirt path from a parking lot to the venue. “My face does not look happy.”
And then there was the pair of ladies in sparkling headgear lying asleep by the Cosmic Meadow stage — at 5:55 p.m.
But as EDC got going in earnest so did the crowd.
And if energy levels did flag a bit, there were plenty of quick remedies to make you feel as if you were the recipient of a blood transfusion with Red Bull in place of plasma.
There was the Mini Bar, a small, loud room accessible through a mock refrigerator door, where a mohawked little person served up shots as punk rock blared, rattling subwoofers and spleens alike.
Livelier still was the nearby The Queen, where drag queens reigned. An early highlight: show host Desiree De St. James performing handstands, grabbing dollars bills from a crowd member’s mouth by her teeth and doing the splits to Beyonce’s “Me, Myself and I.”
And if you really wanted to punch your adrenal glands in the face, there was always the Wasteland stage, which favors the hardstyle subgenre. Don’t know what that is? It’s a form of cochlear flagellation akin to getting your head slammed in a car door for fun.
The neighboring Basspod similarly catered to dance music at its most concussive and meat-cleaver blunt.
“Make some noise!” dubstep DJ-producer Marauda commanded at the end of his set on said stage.
But how could we?
You went and made it all, chief.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was Purple Disco Machine, whose deep house Deee-Lite remixes and Bee Gees chestnuts (“You Should Be Dancing.” You don’t say?) were like a musical balm at the Kinetic Field. He was followed on the stage by Vegas’ own 3lau, who debuted on the Kinetic Field as an opening act back in 2014. Seven years later, he’d ascended to a prime slot, giving a nod to his hometown with Killers remixes during his well-received set. Simultaneously at the Neon Garden, Black Coffee conjured some of the deepest house grooves of the weekend — and then luxuriated in them, like a cat soaking up a patch of sunlight.
Through it all, the crowd remained as much a part of the show as the performers on stage — when EDC refers to its fans as “headliners” it seems like hyperbole — until you get here. And it’s not just the costumes they wear, the totems they wield or the fact that they tend to glow in the dark like plutonium incarnate. It’s more about the communal atmosphere they begat by all the hugging and high-fiving of complete and total strangers and the come-as-you-are atmosphere that makes fest-goers comfortable flaunting bodies of all shapes and sizes.
If you don’t fit in here it’s most likely for one reason: you’re not here.
Earlier in the night, veteran DJ Z-Trip acknowledged EDC’s inclusive vibe during his old-school set at the Cosmic Meadow.
“You’re not alone, man, ” he observed. “You’re surrounded by all the right people, right here.”
And then he queued up Nora En Pure’s “We Found Love.”
“I’m where I’m supposed to be,” DJ-vocalist Ashibah emotes on the cut.
When the crowd sang along, they did so knowingly.
Contact Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow @jbracelin76 on Instagram
Check out images from the first two nights of the event here:
— Night 2: Check out Saturday night at EDC — PHOTOS
For full coverage of EDC, visit reviewjournal.com/edc.