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Music festivals: Las Vegas 2014/15, editor’s picks

June’s Electric Daisy Carnival is not the only show in town, writes PJ Perez. Make dates in your diary for Life is Beautiful and Rock in Rio too…

What can draw almost 350,000 people to a dusty racetrack in the middle of the Mojave Desert during one of the hottest months of the year, when daytime temperatures easily crack 100 degrees Fahrenheit? The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), of course. This massive, three-night celebration of electronic music returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a fourth year at the end of June, and featured more than 100 of the world’s top DJs and electronic dance music (EDM) artists performing on multiple stages.

Although Insomniac Productions stages versions of EDC in other cities around the globe, the Las Vegas edition is the biggest – and as of 2013, it has become the largest electronic music festival in the world, period. EDC is more than just a giant dance party, however. With neon-kissed carnival rides, interactive art installations and decor that evokes an electrified version of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, EDC is a senses-awakening trip to a glowing alien planet, set to the fist-pumping beats of today’s hottest dance music.

The EDC experience isn’t limited to the confines of the Speedway, however. The entire week surrounding the annual festival has become an entity of its own, as almost every major nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip hosts many of the event’s headlining DJs and musical acts under the umbrella of ‘EDC Week’.  In fact, even before the official announcement of the 2014 EDC lineup was made, the list of EDC Week club headliners – which included Dada Life, Tiësto, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris and Avicii – already confirmed the titanic talent who’d be taking the stage at EDC.

EDC’s standing as Las Vegas’ largest ongoing music-oriented festival could be challenged, however, when the Life is Beautiful Festival returns for its sophomore outing from 24 to 26 October 2014. Unlike EDC, Life is Beautiful happens smack in the middle of downtown Las Vegas, centered around the hip Fremont East Entertainment District.

The inaugural edition of Life Is Beautiful featured headliners such as The Killers, Kings of Leon, Empire of the Sun, Vampire Weekend and Beck, and the 2014 version will once again provide a diversity of powerhouse acts, including Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Outkast, Skrillex and Arctic Monkeys – as well as massive art installations, celebrity chef appearances, carnival rides, food and liquor tastings, and interactive exhibits. Be sure to follow Life is Beautiful on its various social media channels, because the event’s organisers often hold contests for ticket giveaways, and that’s also how they announced the pre-sale of exclusive early-bird discounted tickets two weeks before the public on-sale date.

Nipping at Life is Beautiful’s heels is the recently announced Rock in Rio USA, which will transform a currently vacant chunk of land on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip into the ‘City of Rock’ for two weekends next year: 8 to 9 and 15 to 16 May 2015. The inaugural Las Vegas edition will likely resemble other Rock in Rio festivals, with an amusement park atmosphere including city-themed streets, a flying DJ booth and, of course, dozens of the world’s top musical talents performing on multiple stages. The lineup is still being assembled, but previous Rock in Rio festivals have featured some of the world’s biggest pop and rock artists, including Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Metallica, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen – a good indication that Sin City will indeed rock for those two weekends in May next year.

Want to ensure you don’t miss out on tickets to this mega-concert experience? Head over to now to register for pre-sale access to tickets when they finally go on sale, because Rock in Rio tickets typically sell out within hours of being released.

Photo by Eric Kabik / Electric Daisy Carnival


Read more PJ Perez here

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