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Insomniac: An Untouchable Force

Electric Daisy Carnival Vs. Life is Beautiful

In the last decade the music festival scene has been rapidly growing. Just like any industry, this business has its fair share of players. Unless you have been living under a rock, everyone has heard of a company called Insomniac. With more and more events popping up each year in different parts of the country and world, Insomniac's name seems to keep appearing in these events; from Nocturnal Wonderland to Escape, Beyond Wonderland to Basscon, it seems that Insomniac has there hand in everything. Although Insomniac has 11 major festivals and counting, all in different locations, there seems to be a common theme of types of Artists. Almost all these festival's line ups are primarily DJ's. But if you are a fan that isn't into DJ's but rather live acts and bands, then some of their festivals may not be for you. However, this year Insomniac added the 12th major festival to their roster and this festival has broken their mold.

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This year will marks the third year of the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas, but its the first year they have partnered with Insomniac. Life is Beautiful, will be returning this September and judging by the looks of it, Insomniac has plans to make it massive. So massive that as a fan one must think, could it possibly turn into a more main stream version of EDC? Could insomniac have figured out a way to dominate the festival market by curtailing to not only dance music, but all music genres? Have they just found the recipe to make the perfect festival? All questions that could stir up a great debate between music fans. Most music fans and festival heads are always on the hunt for the next adventure and with EDC 2015 in the Books, this may just be it. So lets take a look at each side by side and see just what would make a fan choose one festival over the other if not both.

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The Location:

Although both festivals are held in Las Vegas, fans should know that there is a HUGE difference in location between each festival. Electric Daisy Carnival is held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and this venue takes anywhere from thirty minutes to over an hour to get to depending on traffic. The Life is Beautiful festival is held in Downtown Las Vegas and is a ten to fifteen minute drive or short walk from any hotel in the downtown area. Electric Daisy Carnival is definitely the more secluded of the two, with only desert as far as the eye can see once one leaves the speedway. In contrast, the Life is Beautiful has Downtown Las Vegas and all its lights as the backdrop.

Getting There:

As stated, each festival is drastically different when it comes to the time it takes to get to the actual venue. However, transportation options to the festival are similar. For the Life is Beautiful festival the fans can drive, take a shuttle, or walk if they are close enough. Shuttles along with park and ride passes for this festival will run you about forty-five dollars. For EDC though shuttles were a little pricier at 100 dollars per ticket, but for the obvious reason of the site being much further away. The Life is Beautiful festival will pick the fans up somewhere along the strip where as the EDC shuttles the fans have the option of picking a certain hotel to board the shuttle.

The Setup:

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Life is Beautiful Festival, being located downtown, took over many city blocks with its setup. At its largest point, LIB was over four blocks in width, and two in length. In 2014 the festival site was scaled back slightly, but still remained very large. Last years festival hosted two main stages, two side stages, and a special stage called, “Chefs On Stage.” Located between each stage were the usual beer gardens, food options, and art. With the flow of foot traffic designed like city blocks, LIB provides a block party feel. The two main stages were located on opposite ends of the festival grounds with the smaller stages and “Chefs on Stage” in the middle.

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This year at Electric Daisy Carnival, being my first year in attendance, I was excited to see just how a speedway with all those stages would play out. With a speedway taking on a oval shape it left me curious as to how acoustics and foot traffic would play into the experience. I was absolutely blown away, each stage had its own theme and even curtailed to its own style. Each stage had been carefully placed, so it would not clash with any music coming from another. There was 8 stages that included Kinetic Field, Cosmic Meadow, Circuit Grounds, Neon Garden, Bass Pod, Wasteland, Funk House, and Stage 7, and art cars roamed between them.

Kinetic field, a.k.a the main stage, was simply massive. This years theme was “the elements” so the stage displayed a lot of fire, ice, water, and more theatrics then one could follow in a single set. Water was flowing, flames were shooting off, the owl was moving; it was simply impossible for fans at this stage to bored at a set. Cosmic Meadow was situated towards the side of the speedway, almost on the track. It allowed for fans to either be on the grassy infield or sit on the track and bleachers to have a more amphitheater vibe. Circuit Grounds was featured in a mega dome with tons of moving parts, laser shows, and visuals that left everyone wanting more with its big room sounds. Neon Garden was shaped like an over sized tee pee. It was smaller with a more intimate feel and shot lasers from the top. Bass Pod had a futuristic vibe with platforms throughout the crowd that shot flames out, and the Wasteland stage created somewhat of a post apocalyptic feel. Both packed some serious sounds, cranking the bass out all night long. The last three stages included Funk House, Stage 7, and the art cars. These stages, although small in size, were big in experience. All three created a small, house party-esque feeling that kept the crowds full at all times through out the day.

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The Food:

There was a few options for food at LIB. Of course, there were your standard food stands like every other festival but one strong point about LIB was its variety of food trucks. I'm not talking about your standard hot dog truck. I'm talking noodles, italian, pizza, tacos, juiceries, vegetarian options, burgers, desserts, and so many more that you can check out here. If food trucks aren't for you, LIB this year will be offering in its Culinary Villages menus from famous restaurants around the world like Nobu, Due Forni, The Palm Steakhouse and more. Besides food trucks, and the culinary villages, there is one more aspect to LIB that makes it unique when it comes to food. That would be the “Chefs on Stage” stage. This stage gave fans the opportunity to get up close to some of the most famous chefs from around the country, and learn some more about their skills, techniques, and even see some live demonstrations, which is extremely unique in a festival setting.

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Electric Daisy Carnival didn't fall short in the food department either. This massive festival didn't necessarily have a designated spot or spots for food, but rather food tents scattered through out the grounds. It was set up in a way so that it made it real easy for a fan to grab a bite to eat moving from stage to stage, or even mid set. There was no where near the amount of food trucks at EDC as their was at LIB but the selection that was there was top notch. Food trucks included Cousins Maine Lobster, 50 Shades of Green, Senor Blues, Oming's Kitchen, Urban Pie, and more, but if you wanted to avoid crowds and take a break from the food trucks, you could always head over to Carnival Square for a quick bite. One last food option that stood out that was unique to EDC was the VIP Cafe Terrace. For $140 per guest (this includes tax, tip, and service fees) fans enjoyed a three course meal on a elevated cafe area that over looked Kinetic Field. With the meal fans reserve a two hour window of their choice to sit and eat while listening to their favorite artist. The meal also allows them to come early or stay late and enjoy the bar. Check out the delicious menu here. The meals were prepared by prepared by Executive Chef, Kevin Lee.

Activities:

Music festivals come jam packed with so many artists and great music, but sometimes the crowd is too much, you get hungry, thirsty, or you simply want a break from the action. Luckily both LIB and EDC provide the opportunity to do so much more than watch music acts. The Life is Beautiful Festival is bringing two interesting components to the table this year. The first of which is their “Learning Series” which was apart of last years festival a well. Some speakers this year include advocate/ model Greena Rocero, Actor/ Director Justin Baldoni, Actress Kat Graham, CEO of Zappos Tony Hsieh and more. LIB said, “This year’s learning program, curated by CatalystCreativ, will feature three different daily themes in a way that has never been done before: ‘A Force for Good' highlighting new approaches to giving back to the community, ‘Shaping The Future' surrounding topics on technology and new media, and ‘Challenging the Game' with subjects such as overcoming defeat, facing adversity and more.” The second component is their Art portion of the festival. This years festival will feature both a “Street Art” portion, and a “Art Motel” portion totaling over 30 different artists!

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The Electric Daisy Festival has plenty of activities too. Just like LIB, this festival was packed with things to do. Between the rides, art, performers, and carnival square, there wasn't much down time. Fans were riding the rides, especially the Ferris wheel, from the second the gates opened all the way until closing time. The art exhibits included fire breathing metal creatures, glow in the dark environments, 3D wooden superstructures, and more. Insomniac said, “the interactive art installations scattered throughout EDC are bridges we construct between nature and technology, and are there to inspire all who come in contact with them.” These art exhibits were very popular this year, and fans took the time to stop and appreciate all of them, even lounging around them to take a break from all the madness. Not far from any of these pieces were the performers, from sunset to sun up these girls and guys worked tirelessly to keep the headliners entertained in a wide range of outfits and personas.

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One last activity that seemed to be popular for festival goers was Carnival Square. At carnival square fans could take advantage of charging stations, participate in artist meet and greets, have photo ops with performers, sit down to take a break, pop into a video confession booth, grab a snack, check out some of the artist's Merch, review the lineup and festival map, go to the lost and found, take a stroll through the general store, view some art installations, and much more. There was a number of different vendors also located in carnival square. These vendors included Glow Glasses and Apparel, Mobile Chargers, Flowers and Crowns, High Fidelity Earplugs, Festival belts, Festy Tattoos, a Vape Lounge, Instant Photo Memories, and the Massage and Spa. Carnival square was also a prime location to sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

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The Acts:

Finally, to the stuff everyone has been waiting for, the acts. It is safe to say these are two of, if not the two, biggest festivals of the year in Las Vegas. So it should come to no suprise to anyone that the sheer amount of performers at both LIB and EDC is staggering. With so many big names in dance music on this list, its no wonder why over 100,000 people show up every year from all over the world. Check out the full lineup here and prepare to be jealous.

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The Life is Beautiful Festival takes a different approach with its acts. it's roster does not focus on a main theme like Electric Daisy Carnival does (i.e. dance music). However, LIB creates a roster with a wide variety of music types and acts. This years line up at LIB includes such acts as the legendary Stevie wonder, dance music wonder kid Porter Robinson, rapper Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, Robin Schulz, Griz, Weezer, and much much more. Check out the full lineup here!

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Recap:

From art expositions to culinary masterpieces, from carnival rides to intriguing lectures, it seems both festivals have tons to offer. Each festival is unique in its own way and all though they have overlaps in activities offered, it all comes down to what the fan likes. LIB GA tickets start off at around $255 and go as high as $595 for a VIP pass, and the Life is Beautiful festival is all ages. Tickets for EDC start at $388 for a GA pass and go close to double that for VIP passes, but the Electric Daisy Carnival is for ages 18 and over. In all honesty you cant go wrong with attending either. Everyone you ask will have their own opinion on each, but one thing they will all agree on is that they had a GREAT time no matter the festival. A great time seems to be a common reply from those that attend an Insomniac event, festival after festival.

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Before you go off and start to plan your perfect festival trip for the rest of 2015 or 2016 there's one thing every fan should know. Whether its downtown Las Vegas at LIB or “Under the Electric Sky” at the Las Vegas Speedway at EDC, Insomniac is doing so much more than just creating an awesome experience. They aren't just giving fans the time of their life, but they are giving so much back to the community! Not just the Las Vegas community, but the entire country. From 2010 to 2014 during the production of forty-eight different music festivals in fourteen cities, Insomniac has managed to contribute 3.17 Billion dollars to the US Economy. Insomniac went on to state in a press release, “The report found that attendees had a total spending impact of $2.28 billion from 2010-2014 with direct spending totaling $866.3 million, a number that reflects funds used for local transportation, entertainment, food and beverage and accommodations. The 48 festivals supported the equivalent of more than 25,000 Jobs, translating into more than $1 billion in labor income for workers and an estimated $181.1 million in taxes for state and local governments. The total Insomniac spending impact came to $890 million with direct spending equaling $327.4 million, excluding talent costs.” So no matter what kind of music you like, where you live, or what your favorite festival is, I think we all owe a big thank you to Insomniac. Keep pushing the creativity and giving us fans an amazing experience and we will keep coming back for more.

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Image Source: Joseph DOria Photography, Insomniac, and Life is Beautiful Festival

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