I find happiness through spending time, money, and effort on experiences that will create life-long memories. Music has always been really important to me. I mean, it’s the only language on earth that everyone can understand. It connects us…all of us. It’s my favorite thing in the world.
For the festival goers and music lovers who can relate, you know a unique story unfolds from each journey we take. And for whoever decides to read this post, I’m happy to share this particular story with you. I’ve been to many dance music festivals with Electric Daisy Carnival in Orlando being the most recent. My EDCO experience could never be properly put into words, but if at any moment you smile or learn something while reading this, I’ve made a solid attempt.
In the middle of August, a friend of mine who lives in Orlando suggested that I should go to EDCO with him in November. At first, I was reluctant to make plans to attend another EDC after an unsatisfying experience at EDCNY last May. It wasn’t that I had a bad time at EDCNY, but I was very disappointed in a number of things. I didn’t like the location, the setup, the production, and most importantly, the crowd. But me being me, I made the absolute most of that weekend…taking in the amazing artists and sets that blew me away. (I remember falling in love with Eric Prydz at EDCNY. That’s something I will never forget.) So, after really thinking about it, I decided to give the infamous Insomniac Events another shot…
When I found out that I would be available the weekend of EDCO and there were no major school conflicts…I said, why not? The following day, the pre-sale tickets were purchased, and it was officially all happening.
It felt like years leading up to the event…between my friend in Orlando calling me each day to tell me how beautiful the weather was and how much he couldn’t wait for me to get there…picking out outfits and making flower headbands…making special kandi for each and every person I planned on meeting up with…watching the EDC videos on YouTube over and over until I had them memorized…and anxiously waiting for the line up to be posted (this felt like centuries, actually). But before I knew it, it was November 6th, and I was boarding a flight from Oklahoma City to Orlando.
Everything suddenly started happening SO FAST. The day before the festival was spent lounging by the pool and preparing for the madness. My other friends weren’t arriving until early Friday morning, so I was getting really anxious to see them. I barely slept that night.
Friday morning felt like Christmas, but it wasn’t until everyone arrived carrying their Camelbacks and dripping in kandi when it finally hit me…we were going to EDC.
We were a random group…as random as you could possibly get. Who knew a few kids from the University of Central Florida, a kid from Atlanta, a girl from Alabama, and two crazy Jersey girls could end up being a family. That’s one of the many things I love so much about music and festivals…they bring people together, no matter how long you’ve known them or where they came from.
Heading to EDC on day one felt like a dream. All seven of us were in the car on our way to Tinker Field with the windows down and music blasting. The way the palm trees swayed back and forth constantly reminded me how perfect the weather was. Every car that passed by was filled with fellow ravers who were just as excited as we were…well, almost. We were like a bunch of little kids having the time of our lives, when in reality, it didn’t even start yet.
Walking through the doors of EDCO was magical. That first moment you see the stages, the people, the carnival rides, the lights…when you first feel the bass run up through your entire body…the very first moment you throw your cares away and start dancing. We were officially headliners. It was hard to take it all in because everything seemed too perfect to be real. The energy was unlike anything I had ever felt, and it was only just the beginning.
The stages were broken up into Neon Garden, Circuit Grounds, and Kinetic Field (main stage). Neon Garden was for the techno lovers, like me, and I loved every second I spent there. Richie Hawtin’s set literally gave me chills. Circuit Grounds featured a lot of dubstep/trap artists. Although those are not my go-to genres, I loved the energy and atmosphere at that stage so much. The majority of our time the first day was spent at the main stage though, which featured amazing sets by Arty, Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson and Deniz Koyu, who I ended up meeting afterward. He was so nice and took a picture with every single one of us.
EDCO was a huge festival with an intimate feel. DJs were constantly walking up to the gates to meet fans and take photos. Pasquale Rotella, the genius behind Insomniac Events, and his wife Holly Madison were frequently seen walking around the festival grounds. I was even lucky enough to run into them and get a photo. I thanked Pasquale for creating this wonderful experience for us. I was so taken aback by how sweet and humble they both were. You didn’t feel like you were at some big, flashy music festival. You just felt like you were home.
We all walked through the gates on day two knowing that this was it – this was the last day at EDCO together. It was all going by so fast, and I just wanted time to slow down.
Most of day two was spent at Circuit Grounds, which featured sets by 3LAU, Seven Lions and Showtek. The energy at Circuit Grounds that day was even better than the day before. Our group stayed in the back right corner, where we had tons of room to dance around. I loved every second of it…but hated knowing in the back of my mind that time was running out.
The sun was going down, and we all headed to the ferris wheel. The line was long, but we agreed it’d be worth the wait. Being on that ferris wheel at sunset was amazing. Seeing the entire festival beneath you was like looking at a photo…it didn’t feel real at all. Unfortunately we only got to go around once, but that one time felt enough for me.
The rest of the night was spent at Kinetic Field, where I was amazed by New World Punx and Kaskade. The production at Kinetic Field was absolutely mind-blowing. The whole time I kept thinking about how much effort must’ve gone into planning this festival. I’m really happy that I was able to thank Pasquale for that.
There were so many moments from EDCO weekend that I’ll keep with me forever. Like the moments we would all hold hands in a giant circle and sing the lyrics at the top of our lungs…or the moment we all knew Porter was about to drop “Language” and I started to sob…or the moments we hugged each other and said “I FEEL LIKE I’VE KNOWN YOU FOREVER! YOU CAN’T GO HOME TOMORROW!”…or the moments we danced like complete idiots and didn’t care, but remembered to make fun of each other for it the next day…and especially the moments when I would look up at the sky and know that nothing could possibly be any better than this moment…right here, right now.
I could go on for hours, days, and weeks about what took place at EDCO. I could go on about my favorite sets, my least favorite sets, what I loved most about the festival and so on. But what really matters isn’t what happened, or how it happened…it’s how that entire weekend impacted me for the better.
I honestly went into my EDCO experience scared to death at first…barely knowing anyone I was going with, not knowing how the weekend would unfold, knowing I would come back to tons of homework to worry about, not knowing if the festival could possibly come anywhere near my amazing experiences at Ultra or Veld…
That was the beauty of it all though. The only risks in life are the ones we don’t take. For once, I didn’t let every little negative thought or “what if” hold me back from doing something that turned out to be one of the best times of my life. EDCO was many things…it was a blast…an escape from reality…a perfect experience…and looking back now, it taught me a whole lot:
Jump at every opportunity…if you have the money and it seems practical, buy a plane ticket and go. Travel as much as you can…even just a few days in a different city can open your eyes to so many things. Find new music…don’t be set on a certain schedule, going with the flow is all part of the experience. Introduce yourself to anyone and everyone…you’ll be amazed by how many beautiful people you’ll end up meeting. Twitter people are the best people! Don’t have any expectations…go in with an open mind and you can’t be disappointed with the outcome. Food and water are your best friends. Stay off your phone as much as you can…every Snapchat sent is a moment wasted – but don’t forget to take pictures, those actually last forever. Look out for one another…if someone needs help, help them. If plans change, don’t freak out…everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Be positive…no matter how many things go wrong or if your stress level is at a maximum, things will get better. And if you ever forget that life is beautiful…music can help you remember.
I want to thank everyone who was a part of my EDCO experience…whether I danced with you in the crowd for five seconds or spent the entire weekend with you…thank you. I left that festival with many more friends and tons of memories. I’m never going to forget any of it… and I can’t wait for next year.