Electric Daisy Carnival rolls into Joliet

Photo by Jake Krez

By Jake Krzeczowski Correspondent May 25, 2013 5:56PM (Chicago Sun Times)

The Electric Daisy Carnival has officially put its name on Chicago — or Joliet, rather.

The inaugural three-day electronic dance music festival began Friday with unseasonably cold weather that did little to curb the steady stream of under-dressed fans who flocked to the five stages.

As the sun set on the fest and temperatures dropped, girls dressed in butterfly wings and glitter fist pumped and shuffled their way among a sea of young men wearing neon and glowsticks that during most sets looked like a rolling wave.

While DJs like Kaskade, David Guetta and Grizzly rocked to the music behind large turntables seated high above fans, the crowd was as much a part of the show as the fireworks and confetti cannons.

“I just love the music,” said New Jersey native Natalie Aguado, who wore a Wonder Woman bikini as the temperatures dipped into the forties. “I dress up for the music and the body heat keeps you warm.”

EDC merchandise was purchased as a way simply to stay warm, and extra-large white T-shirts draped over pantless legs.

Bass throbbed through the grass infield that quickly turned to a muddy mess under the frenetically moving masses of feet. By Day 2, hay was moved in to cover some of the mud.

True to the name, a large neon-illuminated daisy operated by crane oversaw a small collection of traditional carnival rides like bumper cars.

The Electric Daisy Carnival began as a Southern California rave in 1997 and grew over the years, growing side by side with the EDM genre that has swept the nation. Now in seven cities across two countries, the marquee event in Las Vegas attracted nearly 300,000 listeners.

This year is the festival’s first attempt in the Chicago market. The Chicagoland Speedway seemed a desirable location for the festival, which goes from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night, but after the first night it was apparent the noise may have been too much even for the isolated race track. Noise complaints were reported, prompting festival spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish to issue a statement via email.

“It is never our intent to upset residents as we take being a good neighbor very seriously,” Forkish said.

Despite the complaints the festival ran surprisingly smoothly, albeit with somewhat smaller numbers than were expected. Fire and police officials on site reported little trouble. Fans who weren’t feeling well were tended to at a centrally located station on site.

Billed as “EDC Chicago” the event in Joliet seems to be a hint at things to come, a small slice of the Las Vegas version. With EDM festivals like Spring Awakening and North Coast as direct competition, EDC certainly has showed it has a place in town.

“I came to see Kaskade and his set was absolutely amazing,” said Flora Huizar, 20, who traveled from Texas for the event. “The whole experience has been amazing despite the weather, definitely worth the trip.”

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