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EDC Orlando — Where I Belong

by Alex TerraNova

Imagine walking into a festival and instantly feeling right at home, like you instantly belong.  Those are the feelings I got from EDC Orlando.  Back again for my second year and it was even better this time.  It had so many good parts – reuniting with friends, an insane techno lineup, and comfortable weather.

Corona Electric Beach is the first stop I made on day 1 of EDC.  The reason I love this stage is there are undiscovered local artists as well as those who play a second set, often different, from the one they performed at another stage.  Corona Electric Beach feels like I just stepped into a house party with everyone going crazy on the sand and minutes later I’m dancing with people I’ve never met before.  I’m glad I was able to catch Lauren Lane while sitting on an oversized beach chair.  The best part of this stage – there is a pool near the DJ booth for anyone to take a swim!  My highlight of the weekend at Corona Electric Beach was joining a conga line and circling the entire stage, and of course eventually finding the EDC clowns to dance with.

Cans Up! | Photo Credit Hightail Spaces

With a lineup as good as it was this year, I was able to spend most of Friday getting lost at Neon Garden.  There was absolutely no reason for anyone to ask my location cause everyone knew to find me there.  I began to warm up with Patrick Topping and Pan-Pot, and as the night went on I couldn’t help but notice the bass became heavier.  As much as I would love to stay in the garden all night, I always need a break to explore the festival grounds.  That’s when I realized I had to check out the Boombox Art Car because I always find something good there.  When I arrived at the Boombox, I found my friends from home and lost my mind.  I’m not usually the one to stick around for a trance set, but when I heard the sounds of George Acosta I was overcome with joy.  What I’ve noticed during a good trance set is that when I look around me, everyone is in their happy place.  I had to keep returning to the Boombox for that feeling.

Friday may have been the best for me, as I was able to see Nicole Moudaber extend her set with Paco Osuna.  At this point, I had to wear earplugs as my body was vibrating and they were tearing down Neon Garden.  When I find high energy dance circles, I feel like I’m in a dark nightclub in New York City.  The best feeling at a festival is when I can close my eyes and just get lost to the beat, which is why I love techno.  I’m glad Insomniac was able to bring us such a good group of artists to the Garden.  I’m sure many will agree with me when I say once you stepped inside the tent, the music took control and it was hard to leave.

After attending EDC Orlando as media, I have even more love for Insomniac.  A break from dancing is always needed during a festival since I know I’ll be dancing for over 10 hours, and repeating it the next day.  My number one spot to rest during EDC – the media lounge.  I walked into the tent and received the number one thing I was looking for – cold water.  Here I was able to rest on comfy couches and chat with other media staff.  Being offered cold water, snacks and clementines while at a festival felt extremely comforting.  There I was thinking it was already an amazing media experience, and realized they were serving us pizza.  I found myself sitting on a big comfy couch, eating pepperoni slices at a festival – what more could I ask for?

Day two of the festival I decided to explore more and not get trapped in the Garden.  After one show this past summer, I had to check out Gryffin again at Circuit Grounds and I was not disappointed.  The production at Circuit Grounds was absolutely stunning and once the sun went down the stage lights projected way back across the field.  One set I had to check out on day two of the festival was Alison Wonderland.  There’s something about her sets that put me in the feels, and at the same time make me go wild.  Alison Wonderland always has a way of vibing with her crowd and captivating the entire audience.  During each set at Kinetic Field, I had to take a moment and stare at the spread of colors across the stage.  Kinetic Field definitely sent a message of love and unity this year with the glowing heart watching over everyone.

Through all the madness on day two, of course, I found my way back to the house party.  How can I resist going to Paradise with Jamie Jones AND the Martinez Brothers?  When the sun went down I walked toward the tent, and from a distance, I saw my favorite Neon Paradise sign and I knew I was where I belonged.  There was a different kind of vibe here, one where everyone was comfortable being near each other.  I walked into the tent during Jamie Jones and right away I heard people cheering me on, giving me the energy to dance more even though I had been dancing since I woke up.  Seeing Jamie Jones on stage with the Martinez Brothers made me feel at home since I usually see them quite a few times each year in New York City.

To my surprise, I ended EDC Orlando at Circuit Grounds.  I always say I’m not the type to stick around for this kind of music, but the epic set by Valentino Khan, 4B and GTA put me in shock.  At this point I was tired, I couldn’t feel my legs and I was ready for a nap, but this trio woke me up.  Even though I heard the Whistle song many times throughout the weekend, the entire crowd and I lost our minds when it came on during this set.  At the end of the performance I looked around and everyone was shocked, wanting more.  Yes, I am a house music lover, but I have my moments where a trap/dubstep show will turn me into an animal.

One of the best parts of exploring Tinker Field is seeing all the performers interacting with the crowd.  Every year I make it a goal to find the clowns and dance with them.  Somehow  I always find myself dancing next to a group of clowns on stilts.  When I’m at EDC, I feel welcomed by all the staff and performers no matter what stage I’m at.  It’s important to create a fun environment for festival goers and that’s exactly how it was at EDC.  I walked through Circuit Ground when I entered each day and I found a line of drummers, sharing their drumsticks with people as they walked by.  The main reason for returning to EDC each year is because of how comfortable I feel, and the incredible new friends I meet each time.

Thank you Insomniac for another amazing weekend in Orlando, I’ll see you next year!

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