• The Best of EDC Orlando 2016

    With reporting from John Ochoa and Sam Yu.

    We can always count on Floridian Headliners to spread all the cheery love at EDC Orlando. This year’s festival was so packed with plenty of good vibes and vibrant energy, we’re still feeling it! While we know EDC Orlando 2016 brought a different experience for each and every one of you Headliners, here are some of our favorite memories from the adventurous weekend.

    SEE ALSO: Awesome People We Met on Day 1 of EDC Orlando 2016

    SEE ALSO: Gallery: Best of EDC Orlando 2016 Day 1

    SEE ALSO: Awesome People We Met on Day 2 of EDC Orlando 2016

    Bassrush Crew Bringing the Flames

    No, it wasn’t just the shit-ton of pyro being triggered with happy fingers at circuitGROUNDS, but that certainly didn’t hurt. The Bassrush crew turned up the heat on day one, drawing some of the biggest crowds and baddest beats at this year’s EDC Orlando. We already knew Floridians love the crap out of their low-end, but they repped it harder than ever. The stage was slammed from side to side as each selector scoured their USBs for the ultimate lit tunes that made the circular dancefloor feel the fire no matter where you were standing. The closing live set from Nero was one in particular we can’t stop thinking about—especially with the group’s singer, Alana Stephens, stepping onstage to blow minds with heavy renditions of their hits like “Promises,” “Satisfy,” and “Me and You.” I’m getting sweaty just remembering it all. —Sam Yu

     

    Daisy Lane, Electric Avenue and Rainbow Road Get Lit

    This year’s EDC Orlando was the brightest edition to ever hit Florida soil, and it’s due largely to the beautiful lights illuminating Daisy Lane, Electric Avenue and Rainbow Road. Aside from providing idyllic selfie backdrops for the ‘Gram, these three attractions really brought new light to Orlando and proved to be Headliner highlights throughout the entire weekend. Every corner of the venue looked like a highlighted section from a crayon box, which is a very nice way of saying it was lit, fam—literally. —John Ochoa

     

    Hooray for New Stage Designs

    Anyone who attended EDC Las Vegas witnessed the magic of kineticTEMPLE, and for those experiencing it for the first time in Orlando, the reimagined incarnation offered a thrilling presentation of bright lights, blasting music, enhanced production, insane sound design, and enough pyro to make the Florida sun just a tad jealous. While kineticTEMPLE was the big boss of stages at EDC Orlando, both circuitGROUNDS and neonGARDEN also received festival facelifts. The immersive circuitGROUNDS offered up a 360-degree design, where speaker towers and giant visuals surrounded Headliners every which way they looked, while neonGARDEN lived under a massive, 150-foot-tall, circus-style tent packed with hella lasers, LED screens, and the best of vibes. No matter where you turned, every stage provided a world within a world powered by technology, striking visuals, and proper sound. It’s hard to escape happiness when it’s all around you. —John Ochoa

     

    Love Wins—Always

    This past June, the city of Orlando experienced one of its most tragic events when a gunman opened fire inside Pulse nightclub and killed 49 people. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in US history and the most devastating blow the city has faced in recent history. Days later, Headliners from around the world gathered at EDC Las Vegas, where they mourned the lives of their fallen fellow dancers while celebrating the global LGBTQ community. Likewise in Orlando, the power and presence of that family was everywhere, from rainbow flags flying high in the sky, to totems and shirts filling every corner of the crowd. This year, Smirnoff Sound Collective celebrated the Pulse community at the Smirnoff House, where DJs and bartenders from the nightclub whipped up stellar sets and custom drinks, respectively. They also unveiled the touching #LoveWins mural, which featured a big, bright, rainbow-colored heart and celebrated life, love and inclusivity. It was a heartwarming reminder that, indeed, love always wins—a message spread throughout all of EDC Orlando via the smiling faces of dancing Headliners. —John Ochoa

     

    The Touching Big Makk Tribute Set From Shake ‘n Bass

    It’s been a rough year for Orlando. Following the Pulse shooting, the city lost one of its own local heroes after the unfortunate death of Big Makk, who passed away in a tragic car accident this past August. The budding DJ/producer was originally scheduled to perform at this year’s EDC Orlando, and after news broke of his passing, the Insomniac team brought on members of his Shake ‘n Bass crew—with which Big Makk held a residency at Orlando’s Backbooth—for an emotional tribute set to the fallen soul. Throughout the weekend, Big Makk totems and signs filled the sky, but it was when the producer’s own mother came onstage that the city and crowd truly felt the power of the moving set. Her presence reminded Headliners to celebrate her son’s legacy via his music in the crowd, on the dancefloor, and within the heart. #BigMakkForever. —John Ochoa

     

    Rabbit in the Moon Still Has It

    Not mere local legends, Rabbit in the Moon are notorious for molding dance music into radically moving performance art. It truly was a blessing to finally see what all the fuss was about when Bunny and Dave returned to their home turf for their third show since reuniting back in March. The entire Insomniac staff huddled near the sound booth to make sure we had the best seat in the house for what can only be described as an eye-gouging and ear-reaming piece of history. I’m happy to report RITM has still got it, even after a six-or-so-year hiatus, and they drilled this point into our heads with every transition and visually pleasing part of their set. Bunny lived up to his reputation as a one-of-a-kind frontman with so many off-the-wall wardrobe changes that made perfect sense with the otherworldly aural activity Dave was handling in the DJ booth. I bumped into Bunny at one of the craziest after-parties I’ve ever been to—we’re talking a foam party and outdoor club made entirely from recycled materials, fun-fueled booby traps scattered throughout the premises, and a poor soul who flipped his car into a trench at the entrance—and he told me he doesn’t doubt he had more fun than anyone who showed up at EDC to party their brains out. As hard as our Headliners brought it this weekend, I can’t help but believe him. —Sam Yu

     

    Life’s a Beach

    While Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and pristine waters, Corona Electric Beach brought a slice of paradise to EDC Orlando. There’s nothing quite like a dancefloor made completely from sand, especially when surrounded by beachy vibes, slamming drinks, and sets from renowned DJs and up-and-coming acts alike—including Bonnie X Clyde, a Miami-based power duo that’s taking the dance world by storm with their trademark style of vocal bass. Life’s a beach; live it up. —John Ochoa

     

    Playing in the Rain

    Even though it’s something your parents probably scolded you for doing when you were younger, who doesn’t love splashing around in the rain? Florida is known for having flash rain spells, and Headliners got to play in the water on night one. The rain puts a new spin on the term “cuddle puddle.” But in all seriousness, those who were ill-prepared scurried over for sanctuary, and the giant tent at neonGARDEN provided a dry haven for them to keep the party going. The silver lining in our eyes was seeing so many bodies who had likely never given trance a chance. And boy, were they in for a surprise. It’s fair to assume many of them walked away with a newfound respect for the vision the Dreamstate team is bringing to life. —Sam Yu

     

    The Diehards of Dreamstate

    It wasn’t just a quick downpour that made the Dreamstate stage a big draw. The trance fam is already one of the most committed crowds in the rave-o-sphere, and they came through in spades from the very second the gates opened. They stormed the lakeside neonGARDEN to claim their spot on the dancefloor early on, and it seemed as though none of them felt the need to sneak away, for fear of missing a single sing-along song that could get dropped at any given moment. While we normally discourage Headliners from camping out at one stage, it’s hard to get mad at that kind of dedication. The real game-changer of the night came from Ferry Corsten, who put on his Gouryella persona and took us on a trip through the most heart-fluttering, uplifting trance mankind has ever heard. I can still feel the goosebumps. —Sam Yu

     

    Staying Cool AF in the Smirnoff House

    I have never been a big fan of heat, and humidity is something I still haven’t figured out. Though the temperatures during the weekend were not something to complain about, I used my slow acclimation as an excuse to swing into the Smirnoff House to grab some shade and have some of that refreshing AC blown straight into my face. The real reason I kept barging in throughout the day, though, was the intimate setting within the House, which allowed me to get up-close and personal with many of the acts that were also playing at the three massive stages around the grounds; my list consisted of Sonny Fodera, Friction, Chus & Ceballos and Julia Govor. It’s a smart way to squeeze in a second set from an artist you can never seem to get enough of—and stay cool while you’re doing it. —Sam Yu

     

    Ms. Easy Suiting Up for Action

    There’s so much thought and care poured into every single performance troupe at EDC Orlando, and Ms. Easy is the one wrangling all the fun-loving faces that help make the festival a place where your imagination can run wild. On Saturday night, she decided to join her clown babies by suiting up and showing off her best moves. She’s the brains behind the whole performer operation, so you should expect nothing but the most professional clowning around in the business. Bravo, Ms. Easy—it’s truly a pleasure to see you back at it. —Sam Yu

     

    That View From the Artist Area, Though

    Most people wonder what kind of crazy goes down in the artists’ lounge. Well, besides the open bar, exhausting handshakes between industry types, and all-you-can-eat Cuban catering, the real reason I kept sneaking away to the super-exclusive hangout was to feast my eyes on the gorgeous vantage point offered by the second-story spot. It was tucked on the sidelines of kineticFIELD, and it gave me the chills a few times as I admired the sheer scope of just how much EDC Orlando has grown. The sight of so many Headliners crowding around and dancing to one shared beat is easily my favorite part of EDC, and the view from the artist area really put things into perspective. —Sam Yu

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