The Electric Daisy Carnival Extravaganza


The Electric Daisy Carnival is the biggest electronic music festival outside of Europe. Dubbed the “American Ibiza,” EDC kicked off in 1997 at the Shrine Expo Hall, and has morphed into a massively successful enterprise of epic proportions. Some purists might argue that it is nothing more than a commercial rave solely geared towards maximizing profit, but I say that’s a natural consequence of its ginormous popularity. Bottom line is promoters, organizers and artistes need to get paid. EDC’s creators are smart enough to monetize various aspects of their brand, thereby ensuring they will continue to attract the biggest names in electronica as well as huge crowds. 2011’s stellar line-up included Skrillex, Infected Mushroom, Green Velvet, Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, Steve Aoki, David Guetta and more. The inclusion of carnival rides, fireworks, performance artists and stunning visuals means there’s never a dull moment at this 3 day extravaganza. The fact that this is an in-your-face rave occurring in prestigious venues such as the Los Angeles Coliseum and Texas State Fair Grounds, speaks volumes about the progression of rave culture in the U.S. of A.

            However, EDC is not all flowers and unicorns. In 2010, the death of 15 year old raver Sasha Rodriguez, resulted in negative press, a wrongful death lawsuit and a subsequent investigation by the Los Angeles Times into Insomniac Inc.’s event management protocol. Mind you, this was 1 fatality at a rave of approximately 250,000 people. Though of course this incident is regrettable, statistically speaking those are very good odds considering the scale of this event. To put this in perspective, EDC provides on-site medical personnel and emergency services to deal with the influx of revelers suffering from heat exhaustion, alcohol intoxication, drug overdose and injuries related to crowd control (trampling etc.). All of these occurrences are commonplace at large carnivals throughout the world, including those of Trinidad and Brazil. It appears substantial efforts are being made by the EDC to ensure the safety of partygoers, so they are being vilified unfairly by what amounts to media histrionics and straight up playa hating. Realistically speaking, there is always the risk of death or injury at any event involving humongous crowds (think holy festivals in India and Toronto’s Caribana), so the media needs to get off their high horse. One positive outcome from the  fallout is EDC has been forced to improve their safety standards. Some implementations are an 18 years and over age restriction and the hiring of Investigative Advisory Group (IAG), to improve operating procedures and security.

Free spirited fashions rule at EDC

The arrest of EDC’s CEO, Pasquale Rotella, on corruption charges in March, throws the festival’s future into the spotlight once again. According to Spin, Rotella could face up to 13 years and 8 months in prison. Rolling Stone reported, “Rotella is one of six individuals charged in a colossal corruption case concerning Los Angeles’ historic stadium, the Coliseum, where the EDC has been held many times. According to L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley, more than $2.5 million of Coliseum money was rerouted to the personal accounts of Coliseum Events Manager Todd DeStefano and General Manager Patrick Lynch via back-room deals.” No kidding. Greasing the skids is (shock, horror!) standard procedure in the business world, so in all likelihood these accusations might have some credulity. If this was some bigwig mafia don, I’m sure investigators would look the other way in a jiffy, but because this involves the retention of  the hallowed Coliseum for a rave (read: a traditionally illegal youth event), it’s a big effing deal. The magic pony predicts Pasquale will  pay a fat ass fine and skip stir altogether. Either way, somebody is going to make a ton of moolah…

            This minor hiccup is unlikely to prevent the mammoth festival from moving forward. If Rotella’s Facebook page is any indication, he’s got major support from the dance community, many of whom consider his potential sentencing to be excessively stringent. With events slated for New York in May and Vegas in June, the EDC shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s obvious that this massively colourful machine of hedonistic mayhem will continue chugging along, despite the protests of angry moms and a biased mainstream media. 

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Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.


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