wedding bands wedding bands

how to travel with a smile

the [perfectly calm] adventures of david-andrew

carnival of lights

On a whim I mentioned a traveling electronica music event I had run across online to my friends Astrid & Hiccup. It was a massive carnival of rides, art, performers, and some of the biggest DJs in the world. It couldn’t have been more tailor-made for us. One of the stops on the tour was near them in Colorado. Then Astrid was going away the day of the CO leg, so I let it go. Half jokingly I said, “Let’s do Vegas then?”  
Two days later I received a text from those two crazy kids.
“We’re going to Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas! Get your 3 day pass.”

Hiccup and My Pilot actually ended up bailing on us. So Astrid & I were going to have this adventure all to ourselves.  
The next few weeks I obsessed over the EDC website. I watched a bunch of videos of the rides at previous EDC events. I poured over the list of rumored DJs getting very excited. Social sites were full of anxious and impatient revelers waiting for the official lineup of musicians. Turns out, this was EDC’s 15th year and it’s 1st year in Las Vegas. I watched this trailer made from the earlier years in LA about 42,000 times (not exaggeration): Electric Daisy Carnival 2011 Las Vegas

Even after all of this research and obsessing, I was totally unprepared.

I’ve said before on this blog, flying on seat-available benefits can be difficult. This time I thought I was golden with a 5A Friday morning flight that was showing 75 open seats. no problem. Then around 11P on Thursday night I got a call from My Pilot to tell me it had filled to 3 seats left. There are 37 people listed ahead of me for those 3 seats. I panicked for a bit. Then I realized it could be better.  
I sent a text to Astrid,  
“Looks like I’m driving to Vegas. See you in a few hours.” 
I didn’t see much on my way to Vegas. Save a few passing truck lights, it was one of the darkest drives I have ever driven. I stopped in Kingman, AZ to stretch my legs, bought a caffeinated beverage and a “Route 66″ ashtray for my friend. Everyone asked me about the new bridge that crosses the Hoover Dam. I did not see it on the way. Just as I crossed into Henderson, NV the sun started to peek out over the hills.
We decided to stay up as long as we could then take the ultimate disco nap (enough for 3 days?) into evening. So we got up around 5P, ate a quick stir-fried bite, and headed out for our adventure.  
This massive party was at the Las Vegas Speedway. About a mile and a half from the exit, traffic on Route 15 came to a stop. The crazy people partying came to a start. Beaded and glow-lighted arms waved and fist-pumped out of windows. Kids were hanging out of their windows. The local and trucker traffic didn’t know what was happening. We were crawling out of our skin at this point and wanted to crawl out of the car and get inside the raceway. We turned up Bad Boy Bill in the car and got in line.

The line to get in was really bizarre. There were separate boy/girl lines because they were frisking everyone entering. Yet on the last night I was frisk by a woman. Does that make sense? Some lines were moving faster than others because of the varied qualities of pat-down.  
Astrid told me to meet her by the white tent just inside the gate and went into the girl line with 3 bodies ahead of her. I got into the guy line with 200+ bodies in front of me. It immediately stopped moving at all. no lie. 30 mins later some kids behind me started pushing forward and shouting. “Let’s get this line moving!” There was a minor argument when they tried to push past the guys in front of me. Right there they stopped. Now we were all packed like sardines. My brain starts telling me that a panic attack is in order. I resisted.  
All this time we could see the other lines passing us up at twice the speed. So after being in a still line for an hour and a half, I finally decided to jump the barrier and get in the faster moving line. I was finally up to the check point. I removed everything from my pockets, placed my items on the table, and put my hands in the air to have my body frisked. I spent a total of 5mins in this line.

Inside the gate I looked for the little white tent where we agreed to meet. No one was there. Security was keeping a line of girls about 15ft from the security gate. How was I going to find Astrid in this sea of females? I was suddenly grabbed by the hand and pulled through the sea. Astrid was pulling me as fast as she could toward the entrance gate.

“You have to see this!!!”

Did I say “unprepared” yet? so.

Inside the raceway grounds, there was an entire amusement park. From the top of the bleachers you could hear the boom of six competing stages. There were artist performers on stilts (walking trees, schools of rainbow fish, magic bugs) and on bicycles made to look like creatures. A ship of pirate women sailed through the sea of light. Everything was lit in all the colors. Skydivers fell from the sky like shooting stars. The best fireworks show I’ve ever seen completed each night.

I don’t have a lot of really great pictures because we were not allowed entry with the good camera. Pictures can’t do justice for the experience anyway. I guess you’ll just have to come to see it for yourself next time. =D


Video: Carnival Rides – Cliff Hanger – More Cliff HangerBike Snake – HeinekenDOMEClown Band – Donald Glaude – Shooting Stars – LightPOOL – Fireworks


Early Saturday morning we were at the bassPOD stage listening to the very intense Dieselboy. Astrid turned to me and asked if I wanted to go. I could have stayed forever, but we had 3 more nights to go. I agreed, and reached for the my car key. Then panic hit my brain again. I checked every pocket. again.


This time I did little to resist the building panic. I checked again and then turned to Astrid. “I have no keys.” Instantly the past few hours raced through my head. Images played of us on spinning, flinging, upside-down rides. I remembered us laying in the grass in the chill out area. I thought of the 42,000 times someone suspiciously bumped me. We started to retrace our steps. Then I thought of the possibility that I was going to have to call My Pilot. That made it worse.

After scouring every stop we made that night, I started asking for lost+found locations. No one seemed to know anything about it. Every staff and security person sent us on trips to the complete opposite side of this enormous raceway. We did more laps than NASCAR, I’m sure. Every person asked, “What did you lose?” and every time I answered, we got the same “OMG” reaction. After visiting 3 first aid stations, 2 security booths, and a closed lost+found, we finally found an open and staffed lost+found.

They didn’t have my key. I put my number in their notebook and described my Munny key chain.  
We decided the sit down awhile before talking to security about the possibility of being towed. We had some juice from the smoothie stand in preparation for sitting by the car in the soon-rising Nevada sun.  
The whole time we were at the carnival we had full mobile signal, but nothing was able to send or receive. I just imagine one little tower in the desert trying to handle the traffic of 100,000 party people. While we were having a sit, my phone suddenly started to blow up with every text reply from the night.  
One of them said  
“Come to the info booth. We have your car key”
Easily in the top 5 of best messages I’ve ever received. If I wasn’t so dry and exhausted, I could have cried.  
I went through the motions anyway. 
Thinking about it later, I realized that, in my rush to meet Astrid, I must have left them on the little table after being frisked. That’s why they were able to find them at all. If I had dropped them somewhere, I’m sure they’d be gone forever.
After retrieving the keys, we decided to watch the already-peeking sun rise. I’m sure I could have slept right there in the LightPOOL. That was the end of day one.

that's me on the far right with the death-grip on my key. smh.

sleep. eat. party. repeat.

On the last night, we were walking down the stairs in a giant single-file line of anxious-to-party people. As we approached the bottom everyone started to bounce to some infectious sound coming from the cosmicMEADOWS stage at the bottom of the bleachers.  
I wasn’t sure who it was, but I couldn’t wait to get down there and dance!  
Then we rounded the corner.  
“Rabbit in the Moon!!!” 
There was Bunny covered in glow lights. He was throwing them out to the crowd on the big beats.  
Then he was gone from the stage. When he returned he was in a giant bubble and crowd surfing. Everyone was screaming, us included.


We were able to catch The Crystal Method, Wolfgang Gartner, Royksopp, Dirty South, TiĆ«sto, Dieselboy, Above & Beyond, Rabbit in the Moon, Paul Oakenfold, DJ Siren, Simon Patterson and Sean Tyas, Avicil, Ferry Corsten, Donald Glaude, Swedish House Mafia, Bingo Players, ATB, and R3hab. There were so many more. If I could have been 6 places at once, I would have seen them all. It was very hard to choose. 

 Kudos to Insomniac Events for these amazing things:
1. FREE water (!) The water refilling tents were so great, like gas pumps for people.
2. so many porta-potties = We never saw a line once.
3. The crowd control was amazing. There were police and venue security, but joy-kill wasn’t their objective. The vibe was kept safely fun. We saw several police who brought their cameras after the 1st night. I’m sure they had stuff to show the wives at home.
4. a lost & found! I got my car key back!!!


There is no way I’m missing this next year. See you there!




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in art and media and travel by lucysbeau on July 23rd, 2011 at 7:40 PM.


Previous Post:   Next Post:

2 Replies

  1. Man, what a roller coaster of a night. My heart started pounding when you realized you’d lost your keys. You are one lucky sob when it comes to keys. I remember another roller coaster and lost keys. You can tell you had fun. I’m glad it all worked out.

  2. oh yeah, I forgot all about that other keys incident. crazy!