Insomniac Events’ Electric Daisy Carnival New York kicked off its 2015 edition this Memorial Day Weekend (May 23-24), drawing dance fans enticed by the sunny weather and a stacked roster of marquee artists performing at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
Despite going head-to-head with fellow dance festivals including Mysteryland USA, Movement Detroit, Lightning in a Bottle, and Summer Camp over the holiday weekend, EDC NY’s fourth edition drew an estimated 100,000 fans over its two days. With the scene’s more seasoned demographics occupied with the aforementioned events, the 18+ festival catered to dance music’s younger and more rave-oriented crowd with plenty of kandi bracelets, neon garb and irreverent t-shirts spotted throughout. Billboard takes you back to the scene to recap 10 of the festival’s standout performances.
Showing that his jaw-dropping Coachella crowd was far from a fluke, Kaskade amassed one of the weekend’s biggest audiences for his Circuit Grounds set. Attendees joined the San Francisco artist in full-throated sing-alongs to originals like “Atmosphere” and “Turn It Down,” as well as his colossal remix of Galantis’ “Runaway (You & I).”
“Look at that cascade of people… I’ve never seen anything like it!” gasped an onlooker. Pun unintended.
Kaskade wasn’t the only artist building on their Coachella momentum. The French DJ/producer is hitting stride right now with three singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and it showed in the enthusiastic throng that showed for his set. Clutching signs of sunglassed emojis and Snake’s serpentine, infinity-inspired logo, the crowd went wild to originals like “Turn Down for What,” “Lean On” and an absurd “Ah Zabenya” homage to the Lion King.
“Ok let’s try something new tonight!” he yelled towards the end, before dropping a grimy dubstep drop that seemed to have Skrillex’s name written all over it.
While EDC NY was dominated by more mainstream dance music, the oddly named Neon Garden played host to some of underground dance music’s finest talents. German DJ and Innervisions label head Dixon had the honor of closing the stage on Sunday, working his mixing magic against a backdrop of pulsing LED cubes. Seeing artists like Dixon play a short festival set is like downing a fine cocktail in one gulp — you may get a hint, but it’s far from the full experience. But for the modest crowd of ravers who showed up despite competition from the likes of Calvin Harris and Knife Party, it’s a good start.
The young Dutch star drew one of the ornate Kinetic Field stage’s most sizable showings for a high-energy sprint through jagged, electro synth-stuffed takes on familiar standards “Animals” and “Gold Skies,” new vocal tunes, and a set-closing rendition of “Don’t Look Down.” While Garrix would later take to Twitter to admit he accidentally played “Proxy” twice, he probably could have fooled this crowd.
While many artists approach an early festival slot like it’s peak hour, the French artist was one of the few mid-afternoon performers to play to the moment at hand. His upbeat, but not over-the-top, performance provided the perfect funky soundtrack to a sun-soaked Saturday afternoon that was only the start of what for many would be a marathon holiday weekend. “Who’s ready to get intoxicated?” he hollered before launching into his hit of the same name.
The Yousaf sisters continue to push their “rock n’ rave” show forward with live guitar, drums and a drumline backing their mixing and singing. While the Circuit Grounds crowd took a moment to warm up to the rock instrumentation during verse and instrumental passages, the group wisely structured their show around pummeling drops that ultimately won the audience over.
Check back next week for an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes at Krewella’s rehearsals and onstage at their performance in Beyond the Beats’ third episode.
The British house talent brought throbbing funk bass and shuffling hats to the circuitGROUNDS, proving that one can still play smoothly on a main stage and keep the crowd’s attention. Highlights included his recent reprise of “The Giver” and MK’s timeless “Always.”
EDC New York was absolutely amazing ! Now on my way back home for another show with my buddies @arminvanbuurenofficial and @marlomusic in my hometown!!✈️😎🌅 #andrewrayel #Rayelfamily #EDC #newyork #arminvanbuuren #marlo #moldova #home #music #trancefamily #edm #Daylight #OneInAMillion #miracles #darkwarrior #armada
The young Moldovan trance artist has been one of the genre’s brightest hopes, and the 22-year-old showed exactly why with an impressive Circuit Grounds showing. Layering soaring trance synths over booming festival sub-bass, the artist leaped atop the DJ booth to lead energetic arm waves to remixes of Alesso’s “Heroes” and Above & Beyond’s “Sun & Moon.”
Cox is about as consistent as they get. On Saturday night, the decorated dance veteran closed out the Neon Garden with a trademark tech house set whose unyielding groove and upbeat piano lines were only interrupted by his signature refrain: “oh yes, oh yes!”
The French artist played an uncharacteristically easygoing set that felt entirely appropriate for the afternoon time slot, blending cuts from debut LP Brava into an 808-riddled hour that traversed the ever-blurring line between techno and hip-hop he calls home.
Boombox Art Car
If you didn’t drop by this bumping ex-Burning Man box on wheels, you missed one of the festival’s best kept secrets. Featuring oversized bass and treble switches and spastic lights controlled via iPad, the car hosted deep sets from crate-diggers like Jubilee, Star Eyes, Troy Kurtz and Panic Bomber.