To witness contemporary electronic dance music -- sorry, make that "EDM" -- at its most outsized, there's no better place than Las Vegas' Electric Daisy Carnival, a three-day extravaganza (starting Friday, June 8) that brings together the biggest names in dance music in front of a genuinely mind-bogglingly huge crowd of devotees.
This year's sold-out event is projected to bring in close to 250,000 people across the festival's three-day run, and many of them will be costumed to the hilt, from kandi beads and underwear-as-outerwear to homemade Deadmau5 masks and even more outlandish accoutrements, fostering a truly carnivalesque atmosphere that's augmented by fun-fair rides, stilt-walkers, $10 Heinekens and other assorted craziness.
As for the lineup, it's as crowd-pleasing as they come, heavy on A-list acts from electro-house, dubstep, trance and pop-dance, like David Guetta, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Afrojack, Arty, Laidback Luke, NERVO, Chuckie, Steve Aoki, Knife Party, Porter Robinson and Swedish House Mafia's Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso. Like last year, the dubstep stage promises a chugga-chugga juggernaut from Flux Pavilion, Doctor P, Excision, Downlink, Borgore, Bassnectar, Mt. Eden and other hard-hitting bass addicts. And for the purists in the crowd, the likes of Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox and John Digweed will be on hand to remind ravers of the genre's '90s roots.
We've gathered together four hours of music from this year's acts; whether you're hitting EDC or following the action from afar, consider it a snapshot of 2012's EDM breakthrough to the popular consciousness.