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An Introvert’s First Festival Experience: EDC Las Vegas, 2023

by S.C. Mendoza 15 Sep 2023 0 Comments

Growing up, I’ve always been a bit socially anxious; I rarely leave the comforts of my cozy hovel. But this year, I promised myself I’d say YES to life. YES, to new experiences. YES, to the journeys that lay ahead. So, almost on a whim, I agreed to attend EDC Las Vegas, which was my first music festival EVER! For me now looking back, this experience was so much more than just a music festival. It was a lesson on unity, and realizing that no matter one’s cultural differences, story, or sexual orientation, music has the ability to connect us all. I was able to drop my burdens, throw out old insecurities, and pick up a new outlook on life. We all arrived there for the love of music, but we were also there for each other, as we lost ourselves to the rhythm of the night. Allow me to share with you, from an introvert’s perspective, the magic that was EDC.

Everyone always hears stories of the Electric Daisy Carnival, in Las Vegas. Tales of elicit actions at the rail, the heavy atmosphere of drug-use (no judgment here), and the questionable communal bathrooms and showers. For three glorious days I was completely immersed in something much more profound. Imagine, the pulsating bass music being so amplified that the hairs in your nose begin to quiver. Picture the dazzling lights beaming across the night sky, so bright that you imagine stars looking down and seeing themselves.

The moment I stepped onto the speedway, I was met with an electrifying energy that seemed to course through every inch of the earth below me. As I walked tentatively toward the music, my fists were curled so tight I could feel my fingernails cutting into my palms. Anxiety twinged with excitement whirled around me, causing beads of sweat to roll down my back. After descending the stairs onto the track of the Las Vegas Speedway, a gigantic lotus flower at the center greeted me, the petals so large they appeared to almost kiss the sky. All around me, others were stopping to marvel at the first extravagant stage. I felt my fists begin to relax; I took a full deep breath, my heart started to slow, and my body seemed to melt with the current of the crowd. 

The music was a mighty force, an arrow striking me at my core. One of my favorite moments: a 16-minute firework display, that amplified the music and LED visuals, framed the most breathtaking set. I’m talking about the Kai-Wachi B2B Sullivan King set. Both of those DJs composed sounds and developed visuals that I will feast on for years to come. The vibes continued to increase to the next level once the rain began to fall in thick droplets. The light beams made the water appear to fall in slow motion; it was a kaleidoscope of vivid jewels descending. Everyone around me was transfixed! We all leapt and moved closer to the stage. I wiped the rain (though if we’re being honest, it was more likely tears) from my eyes and continued to dance. Fog diffused with a cloud of smoke, creating a surreal haze that loomed over the crowd. The hundreds of lasers pierced through haze and the inky black sky, and when I looked up, it looked as if I was underwater. I held my breath with the crowd, eagerly awaiting the next drop. The bass, the lights, the rain, the pillars of fire igniting in hot whirls, surrounded the futuristic Bass Pod stage, illuminating seas of smiling faces. In these faces I saw myself. No matter their backgrounds or stories, I started to see each person with me in the crowd as brother and sister, because in that moment that’s what they felt like. Everyone was moving as one to the beat. As the black sheep in my family, this festival  experience was a crucial moment in my life. It was a test of my willingness to be vulnerable. I don’t do large crowds,I’m generally in my PJ’s by 11pm, and most of the time I don’t feel safe on planet Earth. But on that first night of EDCLV, a shift occurred within me. The lasers were hands that reached out and removed my doubt. I now yearn for deeper connections with my fellow brothers and sisters; I crave to do more and to see more, to be at the next festival.

Toward the end of the last night of EDC, a whisper away from dawn, I thought about what really stood out to me over those three days. The unity amongst strangers was what paved this path. Amidst the sea of 525,000 people, I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging and acceptance. EDC had become a sanctuary for me. It was a place I could bare my whole soul to the world with no concern of judgment. A place where my differences were my strengths, and holding back was no longer an option. Before this experience, I would have NEVER been at ease in a crowd of thousands of people. But because of EDCLV I was able to, for a moment, shed the armor that I wear in my daily life, and allow the spirit that is EDC to possess me. What I’ve taken away from that weekend is that as human beings, we need connection; we need to feel accepted and heard. It’s rare for a place, or rather, an event, to alter a person; but my eyes and heart are now opened to the love that emanated from the EDC community.  

As night crept to day, I shuffled back to the campgrounds, with the remnants of bass still echoing in my ears and the memory of the laser-lit skies painted across my eyes, I knew I had been a part of something extraordinary. EDCLV was not just a party in the desert; it was a celebration of life, love, and music. I left Las Vegas with a renewed sense of self, a heart full of unforgettable memories, and an unshakeable belief that music has the power to connect us through imaginary strings, one must simply listen.


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*This article was written by S.C. Mendoza and reflects his opinions and experiences. This does not reflect the opinions and or stance of Maestro.

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