Review: Electric Daisy Carnival UK
Exposed heads down to Milton Keynes to check out Electric Daisy Carnival UK.
It’s natural to expect big things from a festival that calls Las Vegas its home; however it’s also natural to presume some of the magic is likely to be lost when transferring the neon lights of Vegas to the considerably dimmer lights of Milton Keynes. Past experience and British cynicism automatically make for low expectations and when a festival describes “a distinct union of technology and nature, where elements mix to entice the senses and provide a unique inspiration”, what we usually expect to see is a few fairy lights, some rainbow flags and the odd promo girl in fancy dress blowing bubbles.
As a result I didn’t anticipate the sheer magnitude of what Electric Daisy Carnival had prepared for the UK branch of the festival. As we walk in we’re confronted by a gargantuan structure comprised of a waterfall, fire-breathing dragon and various portholes for lights, lasers, fireworks, confetti and smoke to shoot out of. This makes up the main stage, complete with the colossal face of an all blinking, eye-twitching owl which pulls the main focus in the centre. It is like nothing I have ever seen and makes for a stunning atmosphere at the centre of MK Bowl, a venue whose natural amphitheatre allows revellers to enjoy the scene in a near 360° party paradise.
The rest of the site is equally impressive, with gorilla statues, a giant Buddha, thrill seeking rides, trees with eyes and flowers made out of multi-coloured umbrellas dotted around the three other tented stages. The line-up offers up the very best in dance, trance, drum & bass and house music, so we begin our day at the far end of the festival in the Cosmic Meadow…
The first two sets we see are from Standerwick followed by Ilan Bluestone, both of whom make up a kind of new wave of trance DJs as the resurgence of the genre brings with it a younger generation. This is reflected in the audience as old school ravers mix with those who were probably still in nappies during the fledgling years of the genre; the result is like one big trance family reunion as the audience bask together in the euphoric peaks and drops.
Next up we make our way to the Kinetic Field to see the main stage in action with Oliver Heldens at the helm. He is commanding from the outset, blending his own brand of house beats amongst tracks like Justice’s ‘We Are Your Friends’, David Zowie’s ‘House Every Weekend’, ‘Bonkers’ by Dizzee and even a bit of Abba thrown in for good measure. After working under alias HI-LO during most of last year, Heldens released a number of bass house tracks including ‘Renegade Mastah’, which he drops towards the end of his set to audience pandemonium. Let’s hope there’s more to come from this side of things…
Relatively unknown outfit Lost Frequencies catches our attention next at the Neon Garden, in what is a moderately more chilled out affair. The Belgian DJ merges the likes of Bob Marley with James Brown in a set that is at once funky, soulful and bass heavy.
After that we head back to the Cosmic Meadow for a wildly energetic show from Egyptian duo Aly & Fila, who work the crowd into frenzy with what is one of the most uplifting sets of the day.
This is followed by ear-splitting drum and bass from Pendulum at the Circuit Grounds, who play to their strengths by diving straight in with the now a decade old ‘Tarantula’. It’s not one that’s fizzled out with time though, with one woman nearby so excited by the tune that she takes to showing her appreciation by using the tent pole as a prop…
Moving swiftly on we find ourselves amongst the Buddha-overlooked Neon Garden for Duke Dumont’s headline set. Sweet soulful house emanates from the decks with the Duke’s distinct style of electronica locking the audience into groove after groove. While it’s tempting to stay here for the remainder of the set, we decide we would regret catching the end of Avicii and the intriguingly advertised “closing ceremony” in the Kinetic Field – they wouldn’t spend so much on the rest of the production if they weren’t planning on going out with a bang. We’re not disappointed, and the festival finale culminates a firework display to rival a turn of the millennium celebration.
For more about Electric Daisy Carnival UK, head to uk.electricdaisycarnival.com.