Saturday, June 18, 2016 | 2 a.m.
The Electric Daisy Carnival, celebrating its overall 20th anniversary, opened Friday night for its sixth consecutive year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
An estimated 140,000 electronic dance music fans streamed into the festival grounds at LVMS after enduring the bumper-to-bumper commute up I-15 for the annual three-day spectacle of music, multi-megawatt light displays, art installations, neon-glowing rides and all-night dancing at eight stages.
Locals and tourists alike danced the night away, donning costumes ranging from showgirls to Pokemon characters and even full body paint — and many dressed in as little as legally allowed to beat the heat.
Clutching a “World Peace” totem with a cut-out picture of the earth at its top, Gloria Macias, 20, of Las Vegas said that she attended the festival to promote “unity and togetherness” among festivalgoers in the wake of last week’s mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.
“With everything that has been going on recently, we’re dedicating this day to the world,” Macias said. “This is about music and love.”
Part of a group of six Las Vegas residents representing the Black Sheep Rave Club, Macias, a dental assistant, was attending EDC for her fourth time. She, along with friends Jesus Figueroa, 24, and Janeth Carvajal, 20, among other group members, planned to attend all three nights in hopes of seeing Dada Life and Datsik, their favorite DJs.
Ventura, Calif., natives Stephanie Jackson, 20, and Karen Urizar 21, compared Friday’s opening EDC night to popular California-based festival Coachella.
Wearing modest black-colored tops with fishnet bottoms, the pair held a totem saying, “If you’re lonely, dance with us,” while they waited for their favorite DJ, Snails, to perform. They said that the sign had helped them make “plenty of friends.”
“It’s just an awesome vibe,” Jackson said.
At the festival’s main hospital, a clinic area where festivalgoers had access to “just about all medical services except surgery,” according to a clinic secretary, “several hundreds” of Friday night attendees had already passed through the doors seeking aid from one of dozens of paramedics onsite.
The secretary, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect patients’ privacy, said that they had no serious injuries or deaths through 1 a.m. today.
“Mostly dehydration and nausea,” she said. “Nothing too unusual so far.”
A stone’s throw away from the clinic, a tent offering filtered water featured lines with as many as 20 festivalgoers waiting to refill water bottles.
Officials said that apart from the typical glut of traffic, the event got off to a smooth start. With daytime highs forecast at 100-plus degrees today and reaching the 110s on Sunday, authorities loaded up on staffing, with more than 400 onsite security officers and an additional 82 paramedics to provide medical assistance and maintain security.
Through 1:30 a.m., Metro police had not responded to any “significant events” at LVMS, spokesman Lt. Charles Jenkins said.
As expected, drivers traveling to LVMS on Friday night faced long traffic delays. Delays of as long as 60 to 90 minutes held back party-ready festivalgoers driving northbound on Las Vegas Boulevard from Cheyenne Road to LVMS through as late as 11 p.m. More than a dozen festivalgoers were seen urinating on the side of the road en route to EDC.
Drivers on I-15 heading north endured similar delays from Craig Road to LVMS, NHP spokesman Chelsea Stuenkel said. Delays reached 30 minutes to an hour and persisted throughout the night.
Stuenkel said she expected traffic delays to continue into the morning, becoming even more prolific today and Sunday, when crowds are expected to be even larger.
“It’s hard to say how exactly long delays will be,” Stuenkel said. “The only thing for certain is that traffic will be backed up.”
Preview coverage of 2016 EDC included 20 new things at the music festival this year.
Las Vegas-based freelancer Austin Rinker contributed to this report.