Las Vegas’ party promoters have curried respect in the electronic market by spending millions of dollars on brand-name talent. The arrival of Electric Daisy Carnival is an unexpected gift.
For the past 14 years, Los Angeles-based Insomniac Events produced the massive electronic music festival at various Southern California locales. But the 2010 edition, where 150,000 people partied with Moby and Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas at the Memorial Coliseum, turned into a national scandal when more than 200 people suffered injuries, including the overdose and subsequent death of a 15-year-old girl. The ensuing fallout from the Los Angeles City Council, law-enforcement officials and civic groups led Insomniac to move Electric Daisy to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where it will take place June 24-26.
“We had three options to [relocate Electric Daisy], and Vegas was the best choice,” says Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella, adding that the other two cities are in Southern California. Although some press reports speculate that Electric Daisy wants to return to L.A., Rotella eschews that notion, revealing that he signed a five-year contract with the Speedway. Nevertheless, he’s made some changes. Past events did not have an age limit, but this one will be 18-and-over. “We’re very proud of our operations, and we’re always looking at ways to make our event safer.”
Even though Electric Daisy, which has a projected $10 million budget, will unfold nearly a half-hour away from the Strip, the city’s party promoters stand to benefit. Rotella has talked with the Marquee’s Jason Strauss and XS’ Jesse Waits about throwing “pre-parties” and “after-parties,” as well as Electric Daisy-affiliated parties throughout the summer. He reveals that this year is a test run for a synergistic relationship that should reach full bloom in 2012. “Next year, we want it to be EDC Week,” he says,”pool parties and nightclub events—and then end it with Electric Daisy, just like Ultra Music Festival in Miami.” Meanwhile, Surrender’s Jonathan Shecter isn’t worried about the possibility of thousands of candy ravers invading the Strip for this year’s Electric Daisy. “Vegas can handle wild packs of young people getting drunk and partying,” he says. “That’s what it does every night.”