Speedway Boss Embraces EDC

Photo by Erik Kabik.

As the host of the Electric Daisy Carnival, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been just as big a winner as electronic-dance music fans and purveyors of brightly colored bracelets. On the eve of EDC’s return, we check in with speedway boss Chris Powell to discuss the festival’s impact on his venue—and whether LVMS will be opening the doors to other events that don’t involve gentlemen starting their engines.

What has hosting EDC meant for the speedway?

We’re able to expose the speedway to a demographic that might not be motorsports enthusiasts; they can see the magnitude of the speedway. And perhaps upon seeing it and walking across the [asphalt] banking, whether it’s on the front stretch or in the turns, they get filled with the motor-sports spirit and maybe come back in the future. EDC has gotten [the speedway] a tremendous amount of exposure over the past three years.

Is there one non-racing event at the top of your wish list that you’d like to attract?

Motor sports is our core business, and that’s what we focus on 90-some percent of the time, so we’re not out shopping ourselves from a standpoint of music festivals. What we are doing is talking to people who like putting on big events, such as the Red Bull Air Race [scheduled to take place at LVMS] in October, letting them know we are the perfect host venue as well as being located in the perfect city.

You’ve attended all nine days of EDC in its first three years here. So who’s your favorite DJ?

[Laughs.] Benny Benassi. I think he’s the oldest one out there, and I’m 54 myself, so I can probably identify with him more than [the others]. But I love them all, and I love the kids who attend. They are so passionate about this music. It is an amazing experience to attend EDC, and I give [EDC founder] Pasquale Rotella and his people a tremendous amount of credit for their vision in staging such a wonderful event, and a constant desire to make it better.

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