Someone who has never attended would probably imagine an out of control rave with unspeakable depravity going on; but to the initiated it would only conjure images of lights, sound, vibrations, good friends, and a Oneness that is embodied in the mantra PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect).
I had the good fortune to attend EDC Orlando this year for the first time in over a decade, due to my working overseas for the past 10+ years. I had almost forgotten how different it is from other music festivals.
Every show you go to has a certain personality (if you'll allow me the turn of phrase) that draws people in. Country music fests have a small town, down home feeling that reminds one of quiet nights in the South; rock shows boast an in-your-face attitude that pumps up the crowd with unrelenting energy; but EDC has a feeling unlike anything I've found anywhere else, even at other electronic dance music events.
Describing EDC is somewhat hard to do. It's like trying to put words to the feeling you get when you hear a favorite song or wake up feeling incredibly refreshed. Such strong emotions lack words to convey them. It's a feeling of being bathed in a sea of strangers, but feeling like you know every one of them. Of not even knowing the name of the DJ on the stage, but every song seems like it was written for you specifically. And it's the feeling of community that evolves in minutes around people who might not otherwise interact in the “real world”. This is the power that these festivals bring, this is the true Magic that a certain Orlando theme park wishes it could emulate.
While it is pure enchantment once you're in the show, there are some things that must be said about the infrastructure and planning AROUND the event.
The police are never far away in case of an incident or if you get lost.
Fellow EDC attendees are extremely helpful (for the most part) and will do a lot to set you straight if you're a newcomer.
Everyone working the event is trying to help as much as they can, but this will also be touched on in The Bad.
Festival staff vs people is around 100 to 1 and it is impossible for them to help everyone with every issue, they just don't have the manpower.
Traffic is a nightmare. Roads are closed seemingly at random. A road that one of our Party Buses dropped off/picked up at on Friday could be closed or blocked off with cones on Saturday.
Ubers will randomly cancel on EDC days. This happened last year to a group that booked us for this year. They said that on Saturday it took their party of 20 people almost 5 hours to get picked up by Ubers and they wound up paying extremely high rates because of Surge pricing.
Being such a huge festival, there is a lack of indoor plumbing for the event. There are many port-a-potties located on site, but they are in terrible condition by the end of the evening. Make sure you try to take care of what you need to do early or may God have mercy on your soul.
Crime. It's a sad fact that large shows attract predators and EDC Orlando is no exception. Pickpockets abound and it's not uncommon to come out of the show without your phone, wallet, purse, backpack, etc. It's a very good idea to hide your valuables in your shoes, inside a prop, or under your clothes (if you're wearing any)
Fan clacking is a thing. If you're a newcomer, don't be that guy. You'll annoy everyone around you. I get that it makes a sound and that sounds are fun, but repetitive noises aren't fun to the masses. Be better.
In closing I can say that I will be attending EDC Orlando for as long as I'm able. Despite its flaws, it is still one of the strongest feeling of Home that I've ever felt at a show. With that I bid you adeu and I'll see you all again under the Electric Sky!
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