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Electric Daisy Carnival, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – London

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Booking wise it’s hard to have seen EDC getting this much more right as excitement levels reached fever pitch for the smorgasbord of international superstar DJ’s set to perform at the days festivities spread across the day to keep fans entertained.

Firstly let’s go through some of the earlier acts on the billing as we headed over to see Hollywood actor and Luther star Idris Elba spin discs in his ‘other job’ as a high profile DJ. I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical as to whether or not the man from Pacific Rim would be any good and was attending his set as much out of curiosity as much as expectation but was pleased to find the Ibiza resident in good form banging out tunes in seamless mixes to get the crowd jacking. Other celebrities, we’re looking at you Danny Dyer take note. Having long been a fan of Chris Lake (his record ‘Changes’ was one of the first vinyl’s I ever bought) we headed over to catch Chris in full flow playing his trademark blend of house and electro to a packed tent which didn’t disappoint and firmly kept the party vibe going into the late afternoon.

After also catching the sounds of the impressively eclectic masked ninja Jaguar Skills we then took to the main stage to catch some of the days big international names which began with a set from Alesso and ended with a show-stopping performance from Avicii.

Alesso has been at the vanguard of the EDM scene of late, showing a nuanced touch in the studio that has set him apart from other successful luminaries with early progressive house influences laced with a series of collaborations with some of the scenes heavy hitters such Avicii, Swedish House Mafia and Tiësto. Recognition on the world stage duly followed and he proceeded to deliver probably the most diverse set the main stage saw that night delivering a wide range of jarring beats over a spectacular fire storm of lights and lasers beaming out into the evening sky though jets of smoke erupting from cannons in front of his decks. No expense was spared upon the visual aspect of any of the shows on the main stage and had it not been for the fanatical support of a certain Swedish DJ up later on then Alesso may well have stolen the show.

Following Alesso was former Swedish House Mafia member Steve Angello who wasted no time bringing his signature sound to the Olympic Park which also saw Steve stamp his authority on the stage set up. If Alesso had gone all out on lasers and geyser type smoke screens then Mr. Angello was going to do something similar with fire cannons heating up the air with synchronized bursts of flame that could be felt as far as 50 people back. Pyromania aside, Steve kept fans moving with a series of inspired mash-ups that saw the crowd regularly sing along – a particular highlight being Florence and The Machine being given a Steve Angello rework as thousands of streamers erupted into the air. Closing with the international mega hit of his former band ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ the crowd rose up for one last bout of karaoke with the former SHM man and duly obliged him cutting out the music to leave the masses singing the vocals like one gigantic acapella choir.

Following was Nile Rodgers collaborator and country enthusiast Avicii who announced his arrival to the main stage with the playing of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ which jolted the crowd back into into life life folowwing Steve Angello’s euphoric finish. Avicii’s show was arguably the most elaborate of the evening with a giant mechanical spider providing the artistic foil to his big room beats and mesmerizing laser set up. Music wise, the set was predictably diverse  with bottlegs of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis amongst other edits before dropping his own material such as the chart topping ‘Wake Me Up’ and ‘Levels’ to send fans into fits of hysteria.

As night fell, the fireworks started to explode in the sky and gathered above the stage  as if it were the fourth of July and Dutch Trance icon Tiesto appeared, delivering a set full of crunching electro intertwined with some of the classic sounds of his back catalogue such as his interpretation of Barber’s ‘Adagio For Strings’. A series of  LCD screens behind him provided a stunning, shimmering backdrop full of broken diamonds and multi-coloured  shards of glass which preceded a spectacular finale of a firework waterfall. Yes, you read that correctly. A firework waterfall.

Conclusion

They say time flies when your having fun and before we knew it the day was drawing to a close in a fantastic crescendo of style and colour as people eagerly plotted the night ahead of them. So with people leaving the trance like state the festivals light shows and music had induced them into we left the park thinking that if you were into EDM then this had surely been the place to be. We’re even more sure any fans of the genre would be full of anticipation for next year’s return. On this performance a return to the capital would quite simply be unmissable.

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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