Thousands of dance music fans will gather in the coming weeks to see EDM's biggest stars play the Electric Daisy Carnival, which makes its New York debut this weekend and returns to Las Vegas from June 8th–10th. Now in its 16th year, EDC isn't just expanding geographically – the fest also promises to be more visually stimulating than ever this summer, thanks to large-scale art installations like a 30-foot-tall interactive sculpture and a fire-breathing "serpent."
"We wouldn't do an event without art," says Pasquale Rotella, Insomniac Productions founder and CEO. "To me, it enhances the whole experience and is an important piece to people having a memorable time. It started from me going out to underground parties; what really stuck out in my head was things I would see that were visually stimulating."
Philip Blaine, head of business development and the art curator of the festival, believes the art exhibits at EDC encourage creative expression in its attendees. "A credo that Pasquale and I have developed over the years is [to create] more of a fully immersive event to where it's not such a fine line between the performers and the superstars and the crowd," says Blaine, who handled the art installations at Coachella prior to joining the EDC team. "I want something where you can roam freely [and] you can also get dressed up. Sometimes our performance artists, our dancers, our troupes – whatever you want to call them – are indistinguishable from our attendees because our attendees are not just attendees, they are participants as well."
One new piece that Blaine is excited about is Ooma by Michael Christian. "This is about a 36-foot-tall piece and it looks like a baby with a TV head. In the head, it's got a bunch of projectors that create a very large pixel kaleidoscope effect, and it's slightly tilted down. So when you stand underneath it, you just feel like you're being transfixed by this kaleidoscope or you're about to be beamed up by it," he explains.
Another standout piece is the Flaming Lotus Girls' Serpent Mother, which showed at Coachella before EDC. "[It's] this huge, 86-foot brushed stainless steel serpent that has fire coming out of its vertebrae and its mouth, and its mouth opens," Blaine says. "It coils around its egg and that creates a circle that people can go inside. They can also go and press buttons on the vertebrae and shoot up the flames. So that's interactive."
The Vegas installment of EDC, which is expected to draw 300,000 fans over three days, will also incorporate new technology into the musical performances. "I consider the stage art as well," Rotella says. "This year we're gonna do something extremely unique...Rather than using L.E.D. screens and moving lights and a pop-up stage, we're gonna create everything from scratch and the whole stage is in the shape of a character. That's gonna be really cool."