EDC Las Vegas has become of those events where each year, I tell myself it’s going to be the last one, but thankfully it never turns out that way. In all of my EDC experiences, there’s always been one thing that makes me question whether or not I will return, yet the pros always seem to outweigh the cons.
I’ve put together a fun recap video and a list of my takeaways that will be helpful for any EDCLV attendee, whether you’re an EDC veteran or first-timer. Read more below. And for those of you wondering about the track in the video: Dada Life – One Last Night on Earth (Speaker of the House remix)
1. Plan Your EDC Las Vegas Trip As Early As November
As much as I love living in the moment and have plenty of memorable, spontaneous adventures, it’s in your best interest (mentally, socially and financially) to plan your electric experience as early as possible. The earliest would be right around November. How much or little fun you’ll have depends a lot on your planning. So, here’s what you need to know:
Announcements: Insomniac typically announces the following year’s event dates and ticket sales dates in mid-November. Once the dates are launched, hotel/casino and flight prices begin to climb. Knowing that EDCLV generally falls on the third week of June, I recommend booking flights and hotels for June’s third weekend.
Bookings: The trick is to try to reserve as much of the transportation and lodging early because you can save a lot of money (I mean, hundreds of dollars) and use the money somewhere else (costumes, food, water, your savings, etc.). Unfortunately, booking way too early in advance might not be smart for your wallet either, so I generally say it’s best to book early (while time is on your side) and make changes when the prices goes down. Plus, it helps spread your spending apart so you’re not charged all at once. You will be charged for your flight when you book, but your hotel won’t charge you until during/after your stay.
- If you’re flying into Vegas, I recommend going with Southwest Airlines. You can’t beat the free checked bags, plus you can change your flight without an additional change fee. With Southwest, you can book your EDCLV flight as far as 9 months in advance and if anything changes, you can cancel your flight and apply it to a future flight or just make the necessary change and pay the small difference as soon as possible.
- If you’re driving to Vegas, all I can say is good luck. It’s a tough drive and while most SoCal to Vegas road trips are between 3.5 to 4.5 hours, EDC weekend can extend the road trip to as long as 8 hours (approximately the same amount of time it takes to drive from Orange County to San Francisco). You may want to take an extra day off and drive in earlier.
- When booking hotel arrangements, it pays not to book too far in advance. I’m still figuring out the best timeframe for booking Las Vegas hotels, but I recommend booking 3-4 months in advance. It gets tricky with huge events like EDCLV, but you can always book it and if you notice a more affordable deal later on, you can cancel as long as it’s before 48 hours of your stay. In the past, I’ve been able to cancel and rebook at the same hotel because better rates were later publicized for the same date. You can also sign up for the hotel’s newsletter (do it now) and when you receive discounts, book and apply the discount to your EDCLV hotel stay.
- When choosing a hotel, you should also factor in your transportation to and from the event. The shuttle system is normally the go-to for headliners (aka EDC attendees). If you plan on going through a shuttle system (additional purchase required), you’ll want your hotel to be somewhere relatively close to one of the shuttle stations.
- You should also decide how you plan on getting to and from the event. The way people transport to and from EDC has evolved. My first year, our group took a limo, but the last two years we’ve experimented with two kinds of shuttle systems supported by the event. I recommend going with the shuttles, and if you plan on doing so too, you’ll want to purchase your shuttle passes in advance too. Scroll further down to see my recommendations on shuttles.
Friends: Shit always goes down at EDC, so invite and go with friends you really trust and will have your back. With little to no reception and hundreds of thousands of people running amok on a racetrack, you wanna make sure the people who are with you will find you if you’re lost or protect you when a fight goes down during Calvin Harris’ set (either of which may or may not have happened to me).
Get your friends involved in the planning process and make sure everyone has something to contribute. It also helps if your friends buy their own tickets so there’s less of, “Ah, sorry I can’t make it anymore,” and more of, “I’m so excited!” DON’T be the person who ends up planning and arranging everything because you’ll be miserable, you’ll be annoyed when people complain about things that they could’ve easily arranged themselves and it leaves no accountability for the rest of your friends.
2. Shop with EDC, Vegas, Comfort and the Weather in Mind
Now for the fun part. Shopping isn’t limited to what you’ll wear, but also entails some other items you might be bringing like CamelBaks, GoPros, blankets, water bottles, fanny packs, etc. Prioritize any item that will help keep you hydrated as it can get as hot as 107 degrees and higher during the day and high 80s to low 90s at night.
Attire: It’s no secret that many headliners will be dressed head to toe in some outrageous, creative or sexy outfit. The great thing about this EDM festival, along with many others, is you can dress however you’d like. Last year the most revealing outfit was a tank top and shorts, but this year it was a bikini-esque ninja outfit that looked more like a bondage costume. Whatever floats your boat. The most important thing is to dress comfortably. Sneakers, flats or sandals are your best bet. I wore flat boots because it went with my outfit and they didn’t hurt at all. Always prioritize your comfort, or you will hate yourself during EDC. Whether your style is conservative or more risqué, you can dress however you’d like and as long as you’re comfortable and happy with it, you’ll have fun.
From my personal experience, it’s always fun when my group picks a theme and we dress up accordingly. Plus, it’s easier to spot a member of your group if someone is lost.
Personal recommendations for rave attire:
Essentials: On top of your normal essentials like your phone, phone charger and toiletries (hygiene items, socks and whatevs) for EDC you’ll want to bring a decent amount of cash, sunglasses (for daytime), sunscreen (for daytime), backpack and water container. While I didn’t bring a CamelBak this year, one of my friends in our group brought one and it was a lifesaver. When you’re dancing in temperatures that go as high as 90 degrees, agua is muy importante. You can also bring an “approved” empty water bottle. In previous years, it was okay to bring an empty, plastic water bottle. This year, the rules were changed again and they only permitted EDC water bottles, which you can purchase at the event. It’s really just a way for them to make money, so I would stick with the CamelBak.
Additionally, EDC always has a list of approved/unapproved items which you should always read before buying and packing. While I don’t recommend sneaking anything in, you will often see other festival-goers with items that are supposedly not allowed. Sneaky, sneaky.
Please, please, please do NOT forget your EDC wristband and ID. Don’t be that person.
You might also want to bring nightclub attire and swimsuits in case you end up hitting up the night/day clubs while you’re in Vegas.
Nice-to-haves: A camera/Go-Pro and your device’s accompanying stick. It may be a matter of time before they ban selfie/Go-Pro sticks. Gloves are also prohibited, but I’ve seen people bring them in so it’s up to you if you want to risk bringing them in or not.
You may also want to create and bring a creative sign. A sign is a convenient tool when meeting up with other folks, but it is also a hassle to carry around. Another tip: If you go to Kaskade’s Redux set and have a Kaskade-related sign, he’ll most likely sign it at the end of his Redux set (his set ended at 5:30 am this year).
3. Make Sure All Day-of Logistics are Taken Care Of and Have Fun!
Transportation: Have you figured out how you’re getting to and from EDC? I do NOT RECOMMEND getting dropped off or taking a taxi/limo. Not only will it take an excruciatingly long time to get to and from, but certain roads will be blocked and while the drive usually takes 30 minutes, it could take more than an hour to get there. Most headliners will recommend taking a shuttle, which is what I suggest to everyone.
JusCollege Shuttles vs. Insomniac Shuttles
1. JusCollege Shuttles have an earlier cut-off time. This means that you won’t be able to stay until the very end, if that’s what you want to do.
2. When you’re heading to EDC, the JusCollege shuttle lines are just as long as the Insomniac shuttle lines (approximately one hour wait if you’re going between 9 pm – midnight). On the way back, JusCollege shuttles are much faster, but it’s most likely because of their cut-off times. Since a lot of folks try to stay until the very end, you can expect to wait 3 hours at the Insomniac shuttle lines at 5:30 am.
3. The year that I used JusCollege, they provided free water and Redbull! The next time my friends and I go to EDC, we’ve decided that we’re using JusCollege again.
While I don’t have images from my JusCollege experience in 2014, here’s proof of the Hell that was the Insomniac shuttle. Kaskade finished his Redux set at 5:30 am and I didn’t get on a shuttle until 9:00 and didn’t get back to my hotel until 10:00 am.
@EDC_LasVegas IVE BEEN TRYING TO EXIT THE VENUE FOR 3 HOURS your shuttle system is the worst thing that has ever happened
— Kat Hong (@theglitterKAT) June 20, 2015
Day-of Logistics: Two really important things. One, make sure you have your essentials, especially cash and your water container. At EDC, you’ll find a good amount of free water dispensing stations. You’ll need the money for food, and surprisingly there’s a few hidden gems in terms of snacking. I always enjoy the fruit smoothies (the stands can be found anywhere), along with some of the food trucks. While most folks are there for the music, I highly recommend checking out the rides with your friends. The rides are a fun way to rest your feet and get away from the crowds. This year, I fit a small blanket into my backpack and had it with me in case I needed a place to sit. You can find plenty of bleacher seats by the Cosmic Meadow stage, but it’s handy to have a blanket if you want to sit on a clean spot while you’re at the Main Stage or Kinetic Field.
Other Tips: One of my favorite parts about EDC is checking out new artists. Try to get out of your comfort zone and walk around to find new artists. This year, Funk House was the new mini-stage addition, and it was incredible. My only regret was not checking it out sooner. Like any event, EDC Las Vegas is what you make of it and the friends who accompany you. I’m thankful for the new friends I made, the new artists I discovered and for a weekend full of electrifying memories.