Kinetic Field at Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2023

Adi Adinayev for Insomniac Events

3 DJs and a Rave OG Reflect on Their Top EDC Las Vegas 2023 Moments

Jun 6, 2023

Deanna Riling

10 min read

Returning to reality after the Electric Daisy Carnival can be almost as surreal as being there. Even the most jaded of ravers can become delightfully overwhelmed by the scale of the world Insomniac Events creates at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Now that there’s been time to rest and recoup, this veteran kandi kid, along with DJ/producers Anabel Englund, Christopher Lawrence, and Kaleena Zanders, reflect on the memory-making moments we experienced at EDCLV 2023. The year 2023 was also a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Insomniac, started by Pasquale Rotella with his first parties back in 1993.

Besides being Insomniac's 30th anniversary, 2023 marks my 15th EDC, and my twentysomething raverversary (I started raving in the late '90s in Vegas). From the first time walking down those LA Memorial Coliseum stairs in 2008 to descending the stands and entering LVMS each year the fest has been in Vegas, the world that awaits beyond the gates is always a mesmerizing moment, never failing to leave me happily awestruck at how far the once underground subculture of outsiders has now obtained mainstream acceptance.

Anabel Englund performs at the Circuit Ground during EDC LV 2023 (Photo credit: Demien Beccerra for Insomniac Events)

As we arrived on Friday, May 19, the perfect amount of light, misty rain was a refreshing way to kick off the festival as the sun set on the surrounding mountains. For a few brief moments as we approached the Circuit Grounds for Anabel Englund, the droplets amplified the beams of music-synced lights to create an effect not even the biggest budget could replicate. Add to that aesthetic the excitement of Englund premiering her new single “Strangely Sentimental,” complete with live vocals, and the first big EDC 2023 memory of the weekend set the bar as high as the desert sky.

“The Circuit Grounds was the biggest stage I’ve ever played in my life, and it was incredible,” Englund tells Gray Area. “It really showed me what I am made of.” Englund definitely noticed fans' extra enthusiasm during both sets for her originals. “My own songs like ‘Lightwaves’ and my new track ‘Strangely Sentimental’ got the most love,” says Anabel, who also dropped her collab with Oliver Heldens, “Midnight Rapture,” which reworks the Blondie hit, “Déjà Vu,” and her Hot Natured collab “Reverse Skydiving.”

“There were a few absolute bangers that went off as well, of course, but when I played my first personal record, I heard the whole crowd scream.”

Englund also got to spend time checking out other sets as a fan, citing her favorites as Camden Cox closing out Camp EDC (where Englund also spun an earlier set), and Westend and Noizu's B2B. “My girl Kaleena Zanders was interviewing people for Insomniac Radio and I love it and I love her,” adds Englund of another favorite EDC 2023 memory made.

We caught up with Kaleena Zanders after she pulled double duty with two sets as well. “Overall, my EDCLV 2023 was filled with a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings,” says Zanders. “This was my first EDCLV where I played one of the mainstages, and that was Stereo Bloom. Last year I played that Femme House art car takeover—shoutout to LP Giobbi for having me—and this year, I graduated!” she says. “During my set, I was met with nothing but love! And I also got to play Titanic's End art car later on in the night, and that was so much fun!”

Highlights of her EDC include when she dropped "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, recalling, “I could see that people didn't expect that, but then their hearts exploded, and they sang their hearts out! Also, I had this fire dark rave edit of ‘This Is How We Do It’ by Montell Jordan and everyone was singing along and getting down! Was so cute!”

Kaleena Zanders at the Stereo Bloom stage during EDC LV 2023 (Photo credit: Facebook/Kinderella

Zanders got in a little bit of raving too. “I got to check out Camden Cox, a fellow singer/DJ in the community hailing in from London, and I loved it, she says. “She had ethereal verse parts and then dropped into something hard; I loved the juxtaposition. Then I saw Will Clarke, and he blew my mind joining that techno and soul together; Man, he's got it down! I also saw James Hype to see what the ‘Hype’ was about, and my man’s is extraordinary!”

Zanders brought a few EDC virgins along for the weekend adventure, too. “I took my friends… to EDC Downtown within the festival, and we rolled up to all the people getting married!” she says. “It was so cute and hilarious, and I swear EDC has done that area up even more now.”

Indeed, the interactive experiences at EDC grow every year. “Instead of one area to get married, it seemed like there were four or five marriage stations, and all of them were a spectacle. Shoutout to all the ‘Headliners’ getting married,” laughs Zanders.

Another happy couple gets married at EDC LV 2023 (Photo credit: Orhun Uygur for Insomniac Events)

For intimate vibes, we were sure to check out the Parliament 2.0 30th Anniversary Art Car hosting numerous DJ legends who’ve been in the scene since the early days of Insomniac Events to celebrate the roots of raving. While we would have loved this whole lineup to be on a bigger stage to educate people newer to the scene, those in the know supported—even being allowed to climb aboard the art car to dance alongside their heroes, no VIP/guest wristband required.

Christopher Lawrence made a seamless transition from DJ Dan despite their genre differences. Unlike the sets on the larger stages that take breaks between each artist, the DJs on Parliament kept it old-school by mixing into each other. This helped keep the crowd from wandering away for a proper continuous party. After Lawrence’s set, one of the nicest guys in the biz tells Gray Area how EDC LV 2023 was an amazing time for him as a DJ and a fan.

“It was incredible to be a part of Insomniac’s 30th anniversary and to have played in all of the past three decades,” says Lawrence. “I was blown away at how far EDC has come since the early events in the ’90s. The production this year was phenomenal.”

Lawrence says he spent the weekend exploring the Speedway with his brother. “I really enjoyed taking laps around the venue, stopping at every stage and taking in the variety of styles being played,” he tells us. “I also made a point of hearing DJs I had never heard before or hadn’t heard in a long time. My favorite set of the weekend had to be Kaskade at Circuit Grounds on Saturday night. His set was super powerful and driving.”

Beyond the artists on the stages, Lawrence adds, “One of my favorite things was watching all the people, the passion for the music, the costumes, the diversity, and the pure excitement of being around over 200,000 people celebrating music together!”

Discovering a new favorite artist just by being lured by their beats has always been one of our favorite festival pastimes, and as we approached the Stereo Bloom stage during Hannah Wants’ set, it was like a moth to a flame.

She laid down infectious house grooves, catchy—but not cheesy—lyrics and vocals, plus the right amount of classic sampling. Additionally, we discovered our new favorite song, in her yet-to-be-released ID, with the hook “…It only hurts when I breathe…” (get a taste of the track on Hannah Wants’ Facebook, and fingers crossed we can hear the whole song again soon!)

Cosmic Meadow is the first stage ticket holders see upon arriving and curates a smorgasbord of need-to-know DJs. Such was the case Sunday evening when Capozzi dominated the grassy dancefloor. While the petite producer may have been hard to spot behind the massive Cosmic Meadow DJ booth and stage, her fierce energy could be felt by the people all the way in the back and stopped many with plans to beeline to other stages. The only bummer was Capozzi not getting the final rousing cheers she deserved when what looked like a tech person interrupted the end to prepare for the next DJ, leaving us a bit miffed. Fortunately, fans could follow Capozzi to her next set in the Rave Hangar right after and keep the energy going.

The Allegiant Rave Hangar’s (sponsored by the airline, one of the many corporate sponsorships at EDC—a little weird for this old-timey raver) indoor cool zone channeled old-school warehouse vibes (but with air conditioning! IYKYK…). We wandered in to ODDKIDOUT, who wowed us with dope drum ‘n’ bass.

EDC was an endurance test for all in attendance, but no more than a nine-months pregnant Alison Wonderland playing on the festival's mainstage Kinetic Field, who joked that she was going back-to-back with her baby. All precautions were in place just in case her little one premiered during her set, including a crew and ambulance backstage. And while there were rumors that she gave birth at EDC (at the time of this writing, she’s shared that the bun is still cooking in the oven), another woman went into labor six weeks early during Zedd’s set.

Alison Wonderland at EDC 2023 (Credit: Facebook)

Regarding the Kinetic Field, it takes a lot to convince this writer to brave the sea of people at the mainstage. We’d spent so little time there at first that we didn’t appreciate the full level of detail this year’s design incorporated. The stories-high hands framing the booth wore kandi and moved slowly together and apart! Animatronics? Yes, please. This stage only gets more impressive every year. Intentional or not, the equally skyscraping goddesses that framed the Kinetic Field entrance were reminiscent of the 80s classic, A Neverending Story, and created a pleasant feeling of nostalgia.

Gareth Emery commanded the stage with a set packed with near-perfect original productions and the ability to curate that sought-after magical journey, read a massive crowd, and hold the attention of those just waiting for the drop. Balancing those big adrenaline rush peaks while incorporating his trance sensibilities had to have attracted a swath of new fans to the sometimes stepchild of EDM genres. “We got some Trance Family in the house tonight and we’re gonna show EDC what the greatest genre is all about!” Emery said during his set, later adding, “EDC changed my life!” He also paid tribute to the late Avicii, saying, “I still miss him to this day,” while dropping “Seek Bromance,” much to the delight of the attendees.

The Kinetic Field at EDC LV 2023 (Photo credit: Jose Murga for Insomniac Events)

Though logistics can be a nightmare (2023 was probably the worst traffic ever for EDC thanks to a zillion construction projects along key routes) and us OGs may end up with aging sore muscles (over 20 miles of steps counted!), every time this raver thinks each year will be the last time attending the Electric Daisy Carnival, FOMO always hits hard, and the vibes woo us back. It might be time to get our UFOs and kandi collection out of storage after all, so look forward to seeing you on the dancefloor again in 2024… or at least in the back of the crowd somewhere with a knee brace bouncing along. P.L.U.R. is life!

The complete Las Vegas Motor Speedway transformation for Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2023 (Photo credit: Ivan Menses for Insomniac Events)

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