So, the Electric Daisy Carnival is coming to Las Vegas this weekend, bringing an estimated 250,000 – 300,000 people with it. For the uninitiated (like me), EDC is a three-day giant electronic music festival and carnival with hundreds of acts, six dance areas (at last count) and much more. (*Las Vegas CityLife has an excellent package of stories on the whole EDC thing, but I can’t figure out how to link to the entire package, rather than just individual stories. Note to CL’s online media dept: Get on that.)
My fellow Gen Xers have a term for this event: Rave.
EDC has been frequently heralded as this generation’s Woodstock, which no doubt is irritating to the actual Woodstock generation who seems to be the most freaked out about EDC coming to town. (I’m following a lively debate between @RalstonFlash, @SteveSebelius and @OyVegas on the merits of not only EDC itself but of Las Vegas’ potential culpability in welcoming this event.)
Indeed, EDC seems to be a lightning rod of controversy in Las Vegas and in many of the places this traveling show dwells. This weekend’s event moves EDC to Las Vegas after spending time in Los Angeles. A 15-year-old girl died at the event in LA last year. And just this past weekend two more deaths have been linked to an EDC event in Dallas. The safety and the overall civic wisdom of bringing such an event to Las Vegas is a serious and legitimate topic of discussion.
My guess is there will be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking when the dust settles.
And I’m not sure what, if any, wisdom I can provide on this issue. I went to raves as a kid. But it wasn’t really for me. I find that music to be boring and I’m not into doing drugs. In fact, the only times I went to raves was before I went to college (when I was 18), by which time I was totally done with that experience and on to embracing my rock-n-roll roots and punk rock shows. But after the rave phase, for me at least, came the big rock festivals like The Warped Tour and Lollapalooza. (Fun fact: My husband and I spent our fifth wedding anniversary at The Warped Tour.)
I think the sheer size of EDC makes it a little scary. That’s a looooot of (mostly young) people. And I think raves, or whatever you want to call them these days, are a bit scary to the mainstream. But I’m not 100% against this event or 100% for it. For me, it all comes down to how this thing is managed. If they do a good job with it — like Sin City does every year on The Strip for New Year’s Eve — then it could be a money-maker for our city. If this thing goes to hell in a handbasket, well….
One thing is for sure, everyone who is going needs to be prepared. So, here’s some tips that might come in handy:
- It’s summer in Las Vegas so that means it’s really, really, really hot. Way hotter than you imagine it will be. So even though this will make me sound like your mom, it actually is really important to wear your sunblock and sunglasses (the UV index is at 10 right now!) and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And no, Red Bulls don’t count.
- Seriously, drink water.
- Have a plan to keep yourself safe from sexual assault. Some things to consider include keeping an eye on your drink and never accepting an open container or beverage from anyone; always have a buddy — be careful to not find yourself alone in compromising situations; and if you are going to imbibe (or do drugs), have a sober buddy around to make sure no one takes advantage of you.
- Wear comfortable and realistic clothing for what you are doing. A friend who came with me to my first Warped Tour wore flip-flops. That’s right, flip-flops to an outdoor concert in the Oregon woods. She lost her shoe in a mosh-pit and limped around m most of the day with just one shoe (including going to the bathroom in the port-a-potties). Gross and dangerous. (Although, crazy enough she found her shoe amongst the hundreds of orphaned shoes and assorted loot at the foot of the main stage that night!) But this tip goes for more than just shoes. So unless you want to have your top untied and probably removed, without your permission, while dancing, leave the silly-string tops for lounging by the pool.
- Don’t be the a-hole who wears something that will compromise the fun of others. You’re all there to have a good time. And you all paid for your ticket. Another example from my youth: Don’t be the tool who wears a full-studded jacked in the mosh-pit. I know EDC isn’t a punk show, but you get the idea.
- Expect to lose (or have stolen) anything you bring. I’m sorry to be a buzz kill, but with 250,000 people around, there’s going to be some folks who just want to pick your pockets. But malicious intent aside, you might also just lose stuff while you’re dancin’. If it’s your favorite stuff — or even more importantly, a key to your identity that thieves could use to wipe you out — leave it at home (or in the hotel safe).
- Have a meet-up spot. Chances are that at some point you are going to get separated from your friends. Have a place and a plan for where you can find each other.
- Have a back-up plan. Your ride decided to get wasted? Someone just puked on your foot? Your cell phone died? (All of these things have happened to me at shows.) Have a contingency.
- And here’s some other really great tips.