LAS VEGAS — They say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but when more than 200,000 screaming fans and an all-star lineup including Tiësto, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Afrojack and Skrillex come together for the largest dance-music festival in the country, it's no secret.
Insomniac's 15th annual Electric Daisy Carnival over the weekend transformed Las Vegas' Motor Speedway into a carnival, complete with thrill rides and aerial performers, six stages, 13 large-scale art installations, full fireworks displays and even lavish helicopter rides that took VIPs to and from the festival.
A somber moment came during the end of Skrillex's set, when he dedicated a moment of silence for his friend, former "Jackass star" Ryan Dunn, who died in a car accident last week. Audience members used lighters and cell phones to light up the entire dance floor, paying respect to the young star.
Each night of the festival, parachuters lit up the skies with flashing lights and flew directly overhead, providing eye-catching entertainment. This state-of-the-art event was an audiovisual experience comparable to the Coachella festival but distinct in its own right, as it's one of the only festivals of its size that caters specifically to electronic-music fans.
"EDC LA was one of the top festivals I did last year, and I think Vegas (this year) will be that times 10," Afrojack told MTV News earlier last week. "The thing that makes EDC so different from other events is really the production. The sound and lighting is some of the craziest I've seen in the world."
Friday night kicked off with impressive sets by Manufactured Superstars, the Crystal Method and a powerful performance by Wolfgang Gartner, who invited rapper Eve onstage to perform their unreleased "Get Em." The bouncy, fun, club-ready track, which featured Eve's vocals throughout, is planned for Gartner's upcoming album.
Later, Dutch EDM legend Tiësto played a progressive house and trance set for his adoring fans, many who donned self-made T-shirts and body paint with his name proudly displayed across their chests, on the massive main stage. Meanwhile, dubstep dons Skream and Benga brought heavy beats and bass, with a 25-minute fireworks show as their backdrop. Major Lazer's Diplo and Switch closed out the night, summoning the sunrise with dancehall and hip-hop anthems that kept the crowd on their feet until the wee hours of the morning.
On Saturday, there were daytime pool parties at nearly every hotel on the strip, leaving little downtime before the festival doors reopened. Roger Sanchez, Dirty South, Boys Noize, Benny Benassi and Martin Solveig all played to crowds of bikini-clad women and sun-soaked fans, some that didn't have tickets to the actual festival, but most that just wanted more tunes from their favorite DJs. The Cosmopolitan was the official hotel of the artists and Insomniac promoters, so some fans had the added treat of meeting their favorite stars, like Dirty South, Chuckie and Avicii, as they walked in and out of the casino.
Saturday night drew the largest crowd, as each stage held massive headliners including Empire of the Sun, Above and Beyond, Richie Hawtin and Dada Life. Tens of thousands of fans chanted for Afrojack to start his set, then sang along to nearly every word of his signature tracks, "Take Over Control," "Give Me Everything" (his current Billboard Hot 100-topping Pitbull production) and "Show Me Love."
Pyrotechnics erupted across the vibrantly lit stage during Benny Benassi's set and carried over into superstar David Guetta's nearly two-hour performance of dance-party anthems. Guetta, who brought out Flavor Flav, included "I Got a Feeling," "Sexy Bitch" and his new single with Nicki Minaj, "Where Them Girls At," which will be on his August 30 release, "Nothing But the Beat."
Dubstep was a dominant genre at this year's festival, with high-rising stars like Rusko, Skrillex, 12th Planet and Bassnectar bringing their deep bass drops, wobbly rhythms and energetic personalities to the forefront as they captured the second-largest stage throughout the weekend. Even Benny Benassi added dubstep to his set and brought Skrillex onstage to hype fans for switching up the style. Skrill's remix of Benassi's "Cinema," featuring Gary Go, was an anthem at South by Southwest earlier this year. Drum and bass was also represented strongly with the likes of High Contrast, Subfocus, Hype and Andy C.
Sunday was saved for dance music's current rock stars, Swedish House Mafia, who performed a memorable set for their fervent fans. Among the Swedes' offerings was their current hit summer sing-along, "Save the World." They let loose many of their bangers including "One," "Miami 2 Ibiza'" and "Leave the World Behind."
Other honorable performances were Laidback Luke, Avicii, A-Trak and Afrojack, who played his second stellar set of the festival. Wolfgang Gartner and Dada Life also played twice at EDC and helped finish the final festival hours, nearing 6 a.m., for crowds who begged for the music to never end.
Were you at the Electric Daisy Carnival? Tell us who had the most memorable set in the comments below!