Behind the Lens Part II: Electric Daisy Carnival Chicago with Krystal Spencer

June 2, 2013 -

Daily Beat Staff

Even in May, Chicago still lives up to its nickname. Though the weather was cold, it didn’t dismay the DJs or fans that had traveled from across the country to the first Midwest Electric Daisy Carnival. Located South the city, The Chicago Motor Speedway provided a large backdrop to accommodate five unique stages. Some of the early arrivals explored the festival grounds freely, with many intrigued by the Wide Awake Cart, a small, mobile stage that cranked out tunes by some of the areas most popular DJs.

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Rebecca and Fiona ushered in a cinematic sun set over the main stage at the end of their set, aided by a set of very playful clowns.

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Feed Me performed right after, the first set after news broke that he would be retiring at the end of festival season this year. Even with all the buzz of fans eager to see one of his last performances, the British DJ commanded the main stage fearlessly, with an energy and creativity that will surely be missed my many.

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Gabriel and Dresden hit the Circuit Grounds with arguably one of the best sets of the festival. The duo took listeners on a journey of haunting tracks like Sia’s “Breathe Me” and Pryda’s “Power Drive”, creating an emotional buildup that could only be released by a little Group Therapy. After an intriguing live performance by Empire of the Sun, Tony and Paavo of Above and Beyond took to the stage, sending chills down our spine that the temperature could never induce.

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For those looking to heat things up instead, Martin Solveig and Gareth Emery made sure of Chicago never stopped dancing. Regardless of the criticism he received from Wolfgang Gartner, Solveig introduced Chicago to his signature style, upbeat tracks with surprises around every corner. This came in the form of RL Grime’s “Satisfaction”.

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Headliner Kaskade was greeted with open arms by his hometown. Even with temperatures dipping lower and lower, the crowd faithfully backed the Chicago native into the wee hours of the morning, and even through closer Headhunterz.

With the first night successfully complete, fans were better prepared for temperatures and even the possibility of rain. Though gates opened to some precipitation, the skies managed to clear up just in time for Tritonal. The Texas duo welcomed the setting the sun with open arms, electrifying the Circuit Grounds with a mix of uplifting, hard hitting tracks.

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The energy level remained on 10 with one of the best lineups a single stage at a festival has ever seen: Cazzette (sans headgear), W&W, Hardwell, Avicii, Benny Benassi, and Fedde Le Grand. Together, these artists turned Circuit Grounds into a mud pit, drawing a crowd even that got even the Main Stage to turn their head.

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Emotions ran high as nightly fireworks went off during the W&W remix of Armin Van Buuren’s “This is What it Feels Like”, an unforgettable highlight right at the midpoint of the 3-day festival.

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With a sizeable crowd over at Circuit Grounds, I wondered what the other stages were bringing to the table. Over at the Basspod (which, by the way, is one of the coolest designed stages) Borgore and Bro Safari rattled the crowd’s bones, making us very thankful that the speedway wasn’t surrounded by too many residential neighborhoods. Neon Garden offset the bass for those intending on being able to hear the next day. A quieter, smaller stage, neon garden proved to be an audio oasis for those looking to discover new sounds the other stages just couldn’t provide. 

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Closing out Day 2 was none other than trance legend Armin Van Buuren. Though this was the second day of the festival, Armin seemed to officially christen the speedway, telling the crowd “EDC Chicago is here to stay. You deserve a festival like this.” For the next two hours he captivated the largest gathering EDC Chicago had seen so far, reminding the Midwest why he’s currently the #1 DJ in the world.

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The final day of EDC was met with complications. First, inclement weather caused the Insomniac to take precautions, opening up the Speedway’s garages as a shelter for fans looking to wait out the storm. Still, rain didn’t deter a few dedicated individuals who refused to let the weather slow them down. Artists like Alex Sibley, Mt. Eden, and Adrian Lux rewarded the smaller crowd by continuing to perform like they were in sold out venues, something that gained the respect of everyone who witnessed it.

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During a temporary break in rain, the rest of the crowd arrived, but Quintino summoned the elements once more by knocking on the heavens with thunderous beats.

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Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano opened their set with rainy final day fireworks, a surprise to many who thought they would have been cancelled. Some continued to take shelter in the garages through the weather, but knowing that the end of EDC was drawing closer and closer, many let the rain and mud ruin their clothing but not their spirits.

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Speaking of spirits, the Church of Pryda made a fantastical Main Stage appearance. After hearing nothing but high praise for Eric Prydz after his EDC New York performance the week before, I was curious to see what made everyone gush uncontrollably.

Then he temporarily converted to Cirez D and it all made sense.
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With almost a full year of living in the US under his belt, the legendary Swedish producer has continued to bring a wave of originality that gets bigger and bigger with each main stage festival performance. In just 60 minutes, Prydz managed to bring down the lights and ignite something dark within us, before lightening the mood with his hit remix of M83’s Midnight City.

Headliner Tiesto drew the biggest crowd of the festival, with other stages thinning out for one of the biggest DJs the world has ever seen. Tiesto served as the final stamp of approval for EDC Chicago. With a large space, 5 stages, campgrounds, and a later run time than most US festivals, it seems like the pilot program for the first Midwest Electric Daisy Carnival turned out to be a success!
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The road to Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas looks bright. See you in 3 weeks!

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