The weekend before the 2016 U.S. election, EDC Orlando brought a sense of unity and respect that is so truly characteristic of EDM. I know, more talk of politics isn’t something you want to hear about when reading about a music festival, but the presence of it was hard to ignore in Orlando. From political costumes and shirts to DJ sets that called on us to vote and express our voices, the feeling was definitely there. While the country is so divided, EDC showed us why music is the universal language that unites us all, regardless of our beliefs.
I didn’t expect EDC to be so well put together. I knew Insomniac’s production value was impressive, but being a fan of more remote festivals like Mysteryland and SnowGlobe, I expected the festival to be a glorified block party. I was proven definitively wrong when I saw just how much of an atmosphere Insomniac created with their massively intricate stages, carnival style rides, and lit up trees around the lake in Tinker Park. While in this adult electronic music-lover playground, I almost forgot I was miles away from Disneyland.
We started off the afternoon with KAYZO in the Circuit Grounds stage, the mid-size venue between the Neon Garden tent and Kinetic Field main stage. The Neon Garden was host to Cosmic Gate, which completely hit the ball out of the park with their energetic set. Perhaps my favorite moment of the night was when they played a remix of London Grammar’s “Wasting My Young Years” to a trance tune. I’m not the biggest trance fan myself, but this set definitely transported me to another dimension. It started pouring early in the night, so some sets were cut short. We caught a bit of The Chainsmokers, who played “Closer” and an electronic version of The Lion King. We ended the night with a beautiful set by Above & Beyond, as expected. The DJ/producers dropped classic anthems like “We’re All We Need”, “Sticky Fingers”, and “Sun & Moon”, as well as some timeless songs such as their remix of Moby’s “Porcelain” – another memorable moment of the night as the crowd swayed in beautiful melody.
The second day started out with some Valentino Khan, who showed why his mixing chops are close to Skrillex’s as he layered in trap, deep house, and future bass tracks so precisely and continuously. Jauz, in a similar fashion, energized his shark squad at the main stage at the Kinetic Field. I received a pleasant surprise in attending Rabbit in the Moon’s set, which I hadn’t heard of before. Their music is filled with a variety of different elements, including techno, house, and drum n’ bass. I will definitely be listening to them after their intriguing set. Probably the highlight of the night was Porter Robinson’s DJ set at the main stage. I love Porter Robinson and his live set due to his use of instruments and lights, but man does his DJ set blow it out of the water. He played his own Worlds tracks, interlaced with heavy drops and clubby harmony, as well as classics like Flume’s remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court” and the 2000 anthem “Better Off Alone” – quite a delight. We ended the night boogying in the Neon Garden tent with Jamie Jones, who is a legend and definitely did not disappoint.
EDC Orlando was definitely an incredible experience. From the production value, to the uniquely talented artists, to the good vibes all around. During this time of uncertainty and divisiveness in our country, perhaps these good vibes and music can begin to bring us together, even if only for a couple days under the electric sky.