I remember my first EDC as if it were yesterday. At the time I had only started listening to EDM, and my favorite DJs were Krewella and Seven Lions. Yes, Krewella was actually my favorite before they got rid of Rain Man and they were awesome! It was before I even knew how to shuffle, knew what Kandi were, or I discovered my love for trance and progressive house. It was before I had put on the Pharaoh costume for the first time. It was also during one of the low points of my life, 2014, the year after I broke up with the one that got away, but was one of the most uplifting and restorative experiences of my life. It also allowed me to discover an incredible passion I didn’t know I had at the time for raving.
Every year 120,000-140,000 fly in from countries all over the world to attend EDC Las Vegas (Electric Daisy Carnival). EDC is on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the middle of June, and goes from 7 PM until 5:30 AM. The carnival is home to seven stages, each dedicated to a different subgenre of EDM, hosting the biggest DJ’s in the world, all sorts of rides, and is a food truck haven. Back in 2014 I would be one of those 100,000 people, but hadn’t the faintest idea what I had in store for me. I was also extremely nervous to go by myself because I’ve struggled majorly with social anxiety, especially in big groups, over the years.
I was dressed up like a Pokemon Trainer. The first friend I made was a girl with a Pikachu backpack on the shuttle to the venue. She educated me a bit in some different DJs, at the time I didn’t know Above and Beyond, or so many of the DJ’s I love now. She wore dozens of colorful bracelets, called Kandi, I found out are called Kandi. I’ve never been to EDM festivals outside of the US, but if you’ve never been to a festival here people wear and trade Kandi. The way they are traded is by creating the acronym PLUR which is what all festivals are founded upon.
Kandi are precious to ravers. They can represent people we’ve met, an experience, or a laugh we shared. She taught me how to trade Kandi and gave me a couple. That day we had stayed together until I left early at 2 AM. It was fun going through a mirror room and riding a couple of rides with her and seeing a few sets including Seven Lions 🙂
The next night on day 2 I was adopted by my Vietnamese family. They were the most down to earth, warm, and welcoming group to be able to link with. With them I shared two of the most memorable experiences I’ve had at all the festivals I’ve been with. While we were tired after being at Kinetic Field, mainstage, for a few hours we took a break in the bleachers and witnessed a massive firework show during Knife Party, one of my favorite DJs. Knife Party incinerated the venue with their dubstep even more than the fireworks did!
Later on that night before closing with Martin Garrix, we saw Alesso. We all agreed that Alesso’s performance was the best of the night. He played a lot of songs he was known for, If I lose Myself, Lose My mind, City of Dreams, but it wasn’t the songs he played, the lights or anything, it was the vibe he created. I felt the synchronicity of the crowd so strongly. The crowd swayed in unison, shuffled their hearts out, and seemed so much more alive then in any of the other performances that night.
You aren’t defined by anything outside of a rave in a rave. The community is so warm and welcoming, and although relatively a noobie, people say that raving has become so mainstream and commercialized and that the vibe is changing, but I haven’t felt that at all. Everyone is always eager and happy to trade Kandi, or offer their water, or hand sanitizer, or just be genuinely friendly or helpful. High fives and compliments are found in abundance and you see such vastly higher degrees of kindness and collectiveness than in normal daily life.
Since Decadence in Arizona in 2015 I have also become Pharaoh Maktuk, the trance Pharoah since I loveee Trance! One of my favorite DJ’s are Aly and Fila who I’ve now seen twice, so it is nice to support my favorite artist and my country, Egypt. Although, I’m Egyptian, I feel majorly white washed, so do what I can to show love for my country.
I had been a little weary in going this year because of my knee. I can’t dance the way I’d like to, but at the same time my best friend Magnus from Scotland is in town for the WSOP, and he’s going, so I decided as long as I take it easy, and rest accordingly with icing my knee a couple of times throughout the night, then it would be safe to go. I will be returning to EDC Vegas for the 4th year in a row and truly hope to return for many more. At Dreamstate at the Circuit Grounds stage last summer for 8 hours of straight trance was amazingggg!! Although I took a break to see Zomboy and Richie Hawtin as well 🙂
Years later I’ve met so many awesome people from around the world and the US raving. Have received so many beautiful Kandi in trades as I started making them after every festival I went to afterwards! I’ve always tried to go and spread good vibes and just in-joy the synchronicity of the crowd and the music. There is an indescribable synergy you will have to experience one day for yourself.
Raving has given me so much happiness and amazing memories, and is something I’d like to do more of!! The costume is out and ready to go, and I can’t wait for an incredible night filled with lovely people, my best friend, and maybe even a pretty rave girl. 😉
Until Next time