Electric Daisy Carnival 2016 review

Helen Giles caught sets from Andy C, DJ SKT, Roni Size and more at this year's eclectic EDC festival.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 12th Dec 2016

Image: EDC UK Credit: Insomniac

Already proving increasingly popular across the world, with foundations firmly implanted in Las Vegas, Mexico and Los Angeles,  it was only a matter of time before the UK latched on to one of the most imaginative and creative dance music events currently in circulation.

Electric Daisy Carnival took to Milton Keynes Bowl again this month for the third consecutive year with the intention of delivering a show-stopping audio/visual feast for the soul across one day.    

Trying to keep our heads above the sea and move with the current of excitable attendees in their array of colourful costumes, we arrive at the Kinetic Field only to be welcomed by an explosion of vivid colours and elaborate production provided by promoters Insomniac Events, and shipped all the way from its original home in Las Vegas.

It isn’t long before the venue fills to the brim, which is no surprise considering the incredible artists set to take over the Bowl over the duration of the day. With one of the strongest dance music lines up in the UK this summer there was always going to be a bit of disappointment when it comes to set times clashing, but with the astoundingly high calibre of artists secured by the organisers that disappointment is short lived, allowing us to dip our toes in and out of the musical delights on offer.

The Neon Garden, headed by production don Duke Dumont, maintained a busy following throughout the day. DJ SKT helped kick off proceedings in the arena with his take on modern house music. The set brought together original drum vibrations and simple, melodic grooves associated with the roots of early 90s house.

Gala’s timeless track ‘Freed From Desire’ (above) was laced perfectly into one of SKT’s own popular productions ‘Take Me Away’, proving that it is possible to incorporate two musical periods of time, to not only bring back an air of nostalgia but to enhance more contemporary styles of dance music. 

Dreamstate’s Cosmic Meadow gave trance fans from around the world a place to completely immerse in the luxurious ripples of uplifting synth sequences within a wistful setting complete with euphoric lightshows. Ilan Bluestone’s seamless soundscape was the perfect accompaniment to the early evening atmosphere, met with a sea of outreaching arms as he subtly drops Above and Beyond’s remix of the Faithless classic ‘Salva Mea’ into an ocean of outreaching arms hanging on to every note.

Later on that evening, Dutch superstar Ferry Corsten reaffirmed his position as one of trance’s greatest visionaries with the revival of early 00s alias Gouryella – a sentimental offering of beautifully constructed electronic sounds combined with an adrenaline fuelled drum pattern to get the blood pumping.  

Spoilt for choice from every single arena within the carefully constructed confines of the festival grounds, it was the Circuit Grounds hosted by Bassrush that boasted the most extraordinary drum and bass line up for miles around, to the point where it became physically impossible to tear yourself away.

Cementing this artist arrangement, bringing with them their vast knowledge and experience within their genre, were three collectives predominantly responsible for the success of DnB as a whole. Roni Size and Krust’s resurrection of Full Cycle gave a much needed burst of vitality halfway through the day with an energetic presentation of their talents. Teamed with immersive costumed performers and animated MCs, they put together a show that fully encapsulated every single aspect of a live drum and bass performance.

Towards the end of the night, Pendulum united once again for a DJ set that would blow the mind of any young junglist. Straight in with one of their biggest productions ‘Tarantula’, this set the tone for the duration of the spectacle and reminded everyone of their impressive technical abilities both in and outside of the studio.

Then, to finish, it was none other than the godfather of drum n bass – Andy C. Constantly making waves within the genre and famed for his inspiring work ethic and commitment to sculpting the shape of dance music, he went in hard straight from the start and continued this theme throughout until the final minutes of the event. What makes Andy C’s performances continually exceptional is the amount of fun he seems to be having when left to his own devices behind a set of decks, causing the crowd to share in the joy he exudes. 

The concept Electric Daisy Carnival can only be conjured by the collective inspiration and dreams of those willing to immerse themselves and explore the deepest realms of their psyche, to give a nation of dance enthusiasts an insight into the true spirit of dance music.

The whole feel and energy surrounding this event is one of boundless fun, emerging from the restrictions of everyday life and embracing an enthusiasm for life through the combined love of dance music.

The scale and attention to detail makes it hard to believe that the event has only been running in the UK for three years, and within that time it has certainly made its mark on the live music industry. Who knows what the future has in store for EDC, but whatever that future is it will be filled with adventure, excitement, and imagination. 

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