Published Saturday, June 17, 2017 | 6:16 a.m.
Updated Saturday, June 17, 2017 | 11:47 a.m.
The Electric Daisy Carnival opened Friday night for the seventh straight year under thousands of bright lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Nearly 140,000 electronic dance music fans filtered into the festival grounds after experiencing congested commutes up I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard North for the annual three-day spectacle of music, multi-megawatt light displays, bright art installations, neon-glowing rides and all-night dancing at the venue’s eight stages.
Locals and tourists alike danced the night away, sporting a wide range of costumes from surfers in board shorts to showgirls in pasties and even full body paint. Many exchanged “kandi” rave beads and were dressed in as little as legally allowed to beat the heat.
Clutching a 10-foot tall totem with a 3-foot cut-out picture of his mother’s face outlined by flashing lights, UNLV student Kevin To-Ong said he attended the festival to see his favorite DJs outside of the nightclub setting.
“For me and a lot of us, we don’t really like nightclubs,” To-Ong, 21, said. “We can actually breathe out here. It’s open and free.”
Red bikini-clad Long Beach State University students Davin Phuong, 24 and Phoebe Deans, 22, also held a tall neon-lit totem as they strolled outside the venue’s Kinetic Field stage. Part of a group of 15, which included red t-shirt clad Dustin Lam, 23, the group said they were most excited for the acts at the venue’s “Cosmic Meadows” stage, including Billboard Award winners Major Lazer.
“EDC is just awesome, there’s nothing like it,” Lam said, as Phuong and Deans nodded in agreement.
At EDC’s on-site clinic, hundreds of attendees passed through seeking aid from one of dozens of paramedics. A clinic employee said no one had been treated for “anything too serious.”
Of the 443 medical calls, six were taken to local hospitals, according to Metro Police. Police wouldn't indicate if those calls were related to the 100-plus degree heat — drug use or pre-existing health conditions could also be a factor.
With daytime highs reaching 107 degrees Friday and expected to move into the 110s over the weekend, authorities deployed more than 400 onsite security officers and over 80 additional paramedics to provide medical assistance and maintain security. There was also a tent offering filtered water through tap-style faucets, and that station was constantly busy with about 30 lines of festivalgoers waiting to refill bottles.
Through 12:25 a.m., Metro Police had not responded to any calls requiring assistance from officers not already stationed at the speedway, spokesman Lt. Timothy Hatchett said, meaning all potential arrests had been handled without incident.
Drivers traveling to the festival Friday faced traffic delays of up to four times as long as the normal commute, from as far south as Craig Road on both Interstate 15 and Las Vegas Boulevard North, according to Google Map’s traffic.
Traffic on side streets surrounding I-15 was congested to a point that EDC-goers took managing vehicle flow into their own hands.
“California residents Ricardo Gutierrez and Juan Rivera were two such self-commissioned citizen traffic control festival-goers standing at the intersection of Donovan Way and Range Road, next to the intersection of the I 215 Beltway and I 15 North and about three miles from the speedway.
“We just want to get there,” Gutierrez said, wearing a black EDC tank top with his hair tied in a bandana as he waved two northbound traveling cars through the intersection. “Whatever it takes to get this line moving.”
Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Jason Buratczuk said Friday morning that delays could last from 60 to 90 minutes on both major routes to and from the speedway well into the morning hours, becoming even more prolific today and Sunday, when EDC crowds are expected to be even larger.