Alcohol and Drug-free at EDC: An Ironic Great Experience
There are those who thrive Under the Electric Sky
And there are those who simply wither and die.
The blinding lights dilate their judging eyes
Thunderous bass mute their villainous cries.
The Almighty Owl watches over her nocturnal kin
She sets them free to live an endless dream.
Eli Med | 160617
Electric Daisy Carnival . Las Vegas, Nevada
For once, and quite ironically, my recent trip to Vegas was innocent of debauchery and other sins. What made it even stranger is that I was completely sober all three nights at the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) – perhaps the biggest rave in the world where booze and hallucinogens flood just like the neon lights and sounds that fill the Las Vegas Speedway.
The only time I had a drink was when we were lounging in our AirBnB, it was a very light value Sparkling Rose1 of all drinks, that I sipped poolside. It was lame. It was warm. BUT it was pretty. And sometimes, pretty suffices; well, for photographic purposes, at least.
I indulged in sights, sounds, and spending2 at EDC, but immediately outside of it nothing was indulgent: We dined three times at an-off-the-Strip cafe with the best value. On first visit, we got an overcooked steak and eggs breakfast for lunch immediately after our arrival3; the second visit was for our first post-rave breakfast: a sinful plate called the Night Owl – two eggs scrambled and a bisquit drowned in gravy. It was delicious the first time, but when repeated the following early morning, it transformed to reveal its true self: cheap, starchy, and oh-so-bad pre-bedtime meal.
Our other meal one night en route to festival grounds, was also breakfast… from a Jack in the Box drive through. I love breakfast, and could have it anytime over and over again. What made it a bit detestable by third occurrence was when the previously perceived smartness of a value meal wore off and realization sets in that you are getting what you paid for: an eventual tummy ache and additional belly fat that wasn’t even worth it to begin with. Such dilemma most likely does not trouble a youthful body that consumes and destroys whatever garbage it ingests, but when college years are distant and metabolism slows down, cheap, but risky food choices are totally not worth it anymore.
What was totally worth it, however, was the cost of EDC. It was obvious that no expense was spared in creating a legendary dreamscape where fantastical people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors of the rainbow (literally, rainbow) roam, dance, and co-exist in Peace, Love, Understanding, and Respect4. I felt old at first, especially since most were younger than me; but the feeling almost instantaneously evaporated because I didn’t feel an ounce of judgement. I felt embraced; I felt happy; I felt like I belong. My eye bags may have bulged from sleepless years, and my tummy may have always walked ahead of me, but I didn’t feel self-conscious, uncomfortable, or embarrassed. There were a few jerks here and there: Like at the parking lot on first night – this group of ugly fat Asian guys parked two cars away from us were making rude comments about the people who came dressed in costumes. I ignored them and focused on safety pinning a pair of sparkly pink wings on my friend’s back as she primmed her tutu. When I was done with helping her I put on my floor-length sky blue cape5 adorned in sequins, and walked past this group of jerks with pride and with the fabric moving with the occasional warm gust of wind. It was my first EDC and god damn it, I ain’t letting anyone take away even an ounce of my excitement! Despite that welcome, which may have contributed to my friend’s “People are not as nice as I expected” comment, I believe majority of the EDC folks, whether high or sober, were there to positively have an amazing time. There were moments of positive interaction I had with other Headliners6: A guy said, “I REALLY like your cape;” An Airforce guy, noticing that I wore and Airforce shirt on Spirit night, ran after me and introduced himself. He was cute, he was tall, he was by himself, but at that time my friend had walked so far ahead and I didn’t want to lose her. In retrospect, I should have embraced the moment, especially since my cell was still fully charged and I could have texted my friend. There were plenty of interactions with beautiful people at Waste Land while dancing to Technoboy’s set. There was that cute couple Miguel and his girlfriend while we were in line for water. There were so many people smiley, joyful, and accommodating as we latched into a mini-train that escaped the depths of the Kinetic Field on Tiesto’s set. I had quick interactions with some of them – a luxury I had because I was at the end of the train and did not have to worry about paving the way.
Dress as the Romans do. Or at EDC, dress as ravers do, and there’s pretty much no uncharted territory in EDC costuming. From the almost naked to the barely recognizable as human form, there is such diversity in fantsy and reality. Since it was our first time, I decided to move away from the initial “Let’s be comfortable,” frame of thinking and inspired a “Let’s be fabulous.” direction. With barely a couple of days left before the festival, we started the design, shopping, and creation process for three very distinct nights of costuming: Night 1 – Our birth into the EDC Fantasy world, naturally had to be pastel-filled and youthful; vibrant with sequins and sparkles; and with my grand cape and my friend’s fairy wings representative of our flight into new heights (or highs).
Night 2: Spirit Hood
Night 2 was Spirit Night. Having taken flight into a fantastical rebirth, we now settle and ground ourselves, and in the process connecting with and ultimately becoming our spirit animals.
Then Night 3, when all energies converge into their brightest, most blinding physical manifestation: neon. We have roamed wide awake and frolicked in this neon landscape and on third night, we blend and we become the brightest colors, as well.
Next year, I plan on experiencing EDC again; but with things totally switched: I will be so bad at festival grounds that the devil will chuckle, and I will be SO good with my meal choices that angels will shuffle. You mark my words.