EDC Las Vegas 2017

I hadn’t expected to be going to EDC this year. With my leg still dealing with atrophy and having just started a new job I thought I would be sitting it out, but with some convincing from my best friend in which I truly am grateful for, I made it for my 4th year in a row now.

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EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) Las Vegas is the biggest Electronic music festival in the world which hosts 140,000 people for 3 days from countries all over the world. People come from all corners of the globe to express their individuality, artistic sides, and love for EDM, or just to see what its all about.

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Electric Avenue
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Neon Garden– Techno, Deep House

I posted in detail about my experience as a raver over the last 3 years here, and whether you should go. To keep this short, the raving culture is all about oneness and acceptance, bridges not barriers. Many older people ask if they should attend and I always encourage them to. You won’t be the norm, but if you love the music or are interested in seeing what its all about you will be welcomed, and will have random high fives throughout the night.


So my EDC 2017 experience was incredible. For the last 3 years the stage circuit grounds has always been dedicated to Dreamstate on Sundays. Dreamstate is dedicated to trance and usually has 8 hours of back to back trance. This year was their first attempt of creating a trance stage for all 3 days dedicated to trance called Quantum Valley. When we first arrived at the venue at 9 PM we figured it would be best to start off at Quantum Valley, but we had both forgotten that they switched stages and we went back to Circuit Grounds.

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The irony of this is for the first half hour of the set we thought we were listening to Bryan Kearney, a psytrance DJ, and we were both agreeing that this was one of the best sets we had ever heard. However, we then looked at the schedule and realized that it was a different DJ named Rezz we had never heard of before! It was the discovery of the night as she likely was one of the best sets I had seen. Goes to show you that the miracles always happen when you least expect them to.

Afterwards we went back to Neon Garden for some techno and deep house and to meet up with Magnus’ friends. We and his friends have completely different tastes in EDM. We both love techno and deep house, but they are more into mainstream electro guys while we’re loyal to the trance family. The next new DJ we discovered was Alan Fitzpatrick. Vaguely remember his set in detail since we were only there for about 20 minutes, but remember absolutely loving it.

Towards the end of his set we made our way towards Quantum Valley. More irony about Quantum Valley which I discovered is that it had a tent. Two years ago Circuit Grounds, the old trance stage, had a tent, but last year they took it off. Seeing trance stage with a tent again made me nostalgic and chuckle a bit. In moments like these as a raver you begin to feel like a veteran.

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At Quantum Valley we saw two more unbelievable sets. One of my favorite groups are my fellow Pharaohs Aly and Fila. They used to be a group of  2, but now it has only been one DJ spinning for as long as I can remember. What I love about Fadi, the remaining DJ in the group, is that he satisfies both sides of the spectrum within trance family. He started with a lot of hard psytrance which, of course, I love, but I was extremely happy when he started to slow it down and play more uplifting and emotional songs. Any trance DJ should always have balance between the two. I was also extremely happy he chose to play a lot more new songs instead of songs like ‘We Control The Sunlight.’ Fadi helped me feel for in line with my Egyptian heritage like he always does, and I felt blessed to witness another performance of his.

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Afterwards Paul Van Dyk came on at 1 sharp. Magnus wanted to see Seven Lions, which I introduced him to originally, but I suggested we at least stay for a couple Van Dyk songs! Van Dyk was completely different from Aly and Fila. He started with a lot more melodic uplifting feely songs, including one of my favorite songs lights, then switched to psytrance.

On the way out to see Seven Lions, I met a really cute girl from Mexico and ended up stopping to chat with her. Was amazed at how naturally fluent her English was, and she said she traveled a lot for work for finance. I always love meeting people from outside the US and we were definitely vibing until I was asked to leave. I asked her and her friend to come with us, and was torn apart, but then thought to myself that I shouldn’t leave my best friend, so gave her a hug, felt like an idiot after I didn’t kiss her when she kinda gave me the shy, expectant look at the end and then went on my way.

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One thing I think people fail to realize is one of the best parts of massive festivals is wandering around the venue. I think its different when you’re with a friend or in a group, but in many of the festivals I’ve gone to by myself, I’ve always met wonderful people by just randomly approaching them, or speaking to them while waiting in line for a ride. Not to also forget how beautiful the art and lights are as well as how interesting some of the costumes you see are while walking around.

When we got to Circuit Grounds again to see Seven Lions I couldn’t help feeling like I shouldn’t have left the girl from Mexico. She was pretty gorgeous, really cool, and the vibe was right. Seven Lions, like the previous two times I saw him, also didn’t play my favorite songs Keep It Close, The Great Divide, or their remix of Above and Beyond’s song ‘You Got To Go.’ Magnus could tell I was pretty frustrated, but the set itself was epic as he did make an epic remix of Strangers.

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It was now the part of the night where we got separated. I was stretching my legs while waiting for him to go get waters because I was in serious pain and needed a break. A gorgeous Chinese girl comes and sits next to me who was waiting for her friends. She was a pretty amazing conversationalist and we both had similar tastes in both trance and dubstep. When Magnus came back 10 minutes later he said he would go to look for the Dutch guys at Neon Garden and come back.

Lets call this girl Chica* so Chica from China and I are continuing to chat and by time Magnus comes back again, I’m left in the same spot I was last time and don’t want to leave this ridiculously beautiful girl, but this time decide to. Sadly Magnus and I didn’t make appropriate plans to meet back up later, and when I couldn’t get her to leave after an hour of chatting to go check out some sets, I didn’t find Magnus again.

It was definitely frustrating, but when ATB played his las song during his set, I along with the crowd melted away into euphoric bliss. It was truly uplifting and by far the most memorable part of the whole night.

The best part of raving isn’t the music, it isn’t the people you meet, and it isn’t the overall experience itself. The best part are those extremely organic moments you wouldn’t be able to experience elsewhere. A moment where you know you should go with your best friend, but decide not to because you may never get another chance to talk to one of the most beautiful girls you’ve ever seen. Feeling depressed after getting separated from your best friend, and then being drowned in euphoria after just one song. Getting a kandi cuff instead of a kandi single in a trade and feeling so grateful to the nice person that made you a cuff. Feeling totally in tuned with the synchronicity and grateful to be one of the many blessed souls in front of the stage.

After ATB’s finale I went to my finale of the night at Circuit Grounds once again fro Vini Vici. Vini Vici might have some of the most obscenely hard psytrance I have heard. He can truly make a crowd go crazy. It was nice seeing the moon disappear and the sun start to rise before leaving at 530 AM while using every last ounce of strength left.

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That last set is always the best, but its always so sad. After being so used to next epic set and going from stage to stage, you realize that its about to be over. I’m sure this happens to everyone during the last hour, but once EDC ends I always feel so down because I don’t want it to end, but like everything else in life, eventually it is necessary to let go.

Although I didn’t go all 3 nights, and although I got separated from my best friend, I had a wonderful time and can’t wait for my next festival.

Until next time

-Pharaoh Maktuk

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