We Rode Every Single Ride at EDC Las Vegas 2017, so You Don’t Have To
I’ve never been on rides at festivals before. My belly’s usually too full of lager and poutine to brave the bumper cars.
Since EDC Las Vegas probably has more rides than stages, and since they represent an impressively broad range of gnarliness, I decided this would be the perfect time to get out of my comfort zone and crush some rides. All the rides in one day. I figured it was best to tackle this on night one, since y’all Headliners’ stomachs are only going to weaken as the weekend wears on.
I downloaded a speedometer and a G-force app on my phone, stuffed my backpack full of water bottles, and headed off into the glow in search of the nastiest thrills and the biggest belly spills.
I thought I’d toss myself right into this absurd endeavor and start with Vertigo, an approachable set of spinning benches on chains. I climbed aboard and strapped myself in as the sun was dipping over the top of the Speedway, and while sunset would have probably been better spent on the Ferris wheel, I felt it necessary to go in headstrong and leave the soft stuff for the tender hours.
Its close proximity to the Wagnerian din of wasteLAND and bassPOD certainly hampered its cruising-through-the-clouds-on-a-park-bench vibe. A bit of euphoric trance might have been more suitable.
Verdict: Doable. You got this!
Top speed: 19.2 MPH
Sick factor: 4
The old Sizzler spins around mercilessly at a high velocity, smashing you into your cabin partner and clattering you around like a jogger’s ball sack.
I had the misfortune of sitting next to the homie Christian, who was experiencing his first EDC Las Vegas. Christian vomited—a lot. While it could have been the uncontrollable excitement of the EDC experience, I suspected he was sizzled by the Sizzler.
Verdict: Rough. I would recommend doing this one very early in the evening, preferably before dinner or any alcohol.
G-force: 1.78 Gs
Sick factor: See above
After poor Christian’s belly ballistics, I was hesitant about tackling the venomous Black Widow. But I decided I should get the scary rides out of the way as quickly as possible, because the likelihood of being hurled on would only increase as the night progressed.
Verdict: This was actually super fun, and I wasn’t bouncing around like old sneakers in a tumble dryer this time.
G-force: 1.87 Gs
Sick factor: 4
Pleasantness: Solid 8
Presumably named because it feels like a dangerous joyride across a perilous mountain path, Himalaya was a lot more hostile than it first looked. A series of bumper cars on tracks that hurtle violently in a circle, Himalaya is certainly one of the less acrobatic rides. But what it lacked in complexity, it made up for in raw vigor and brutality.
Verdict: Himalaya almost got me. It is not to be underestimated. No Sherpa can save you.
G-force or top speed: Could not calculate.
Sick factor: 8.5
Pleasantness: 1. I was close to chucking it, and the ride just… kept… going. It felt like I was in a GIF of a car crash.
Ring of Fire
Still a little wobbly from my death ride around the Himalaya, I went headstrong into the Ring of Fire, because I’m a reckless rave lord. Would it prove a fateful error and a spin too far for our intrepid thrill seeker? Fuck no! But almost.
Verdict: Very fun, but definitely too soon after Himalaya.
Speed: I wasn’t allowed to bring my phone.
Sick factor: 7, given the circumstances.
Pleasantness: 5. If you give in to the spin, it’s actually rather blissful.
I took 20 minutes to let my stomach stop curdling and watched the mind-blowing opening ceremony at kineticFIELD before hitting Yoyo, the classic aerial swing set. Thinking this was a good ride to ease myself back into the self-appointed—and by this stage, regrettable—challenge, I kicked back and got an owl’s-eye view of kineticFIELD to the soundtrack of GTA crunching skulls.
Verdict: Lovely stuff. No surprises here.
Top speed: 15.4 MPH
Sick factor: 1
As DJ Tennis spanked out some muscular techno at neonGARDEN, I decided to treat myself to the Tornado, a very casual spinner with four-seat sections that you can spin using a wheel. No one joined me in my section, so I looked like a sad raver, alone at his table and fiddling around with his G-force app.
Verdict: Chill, but you should probably squad up.
G-force: 1.2 Gs
Sick factor: 3
Pleasantness: Depends on how strong your crew is. I was on my own, so it was very nice.
You get picked up. You get dropped. Let’s just get on with it.
Speed: Unknown. I couldn’t risk bringing my phone on it.
Sick factor: Over so quickly, it’s negligible.
Pleasantness: Even 5. With the view I had of bassPOD and circuitGROUNDS, the way up was lovely, if extremely tense. The way down was the way down.
After the fireworks, I headed back out to the rides and decided to get the stomach rolling with the auspiciously titled Musik Fest. Having seemingly nothing thematic to do with music festivals other than some of its faded decor, the ride was basically some rollie pollie bathtubs going in circles aggressively.
Verdict: Well, what I thought was to be an innocuous little fairground ride turned out to be a white-knuckling nightmare.
G-force: Dropped my phone in the tub.
Sick factor: 2. It’s a different kind of horrible.
Pleasantness: 3. It had moments of pleasantness but was ultimately a terrifying experience where I was mildly concerned for my safety.
I had a suspicion Cliff Hanger would be my favorite ride. I went on a similar one in the UK years ago, and the experience of lying horizontally and gliding through the air is extremely pleasant.
Verdict: Cliff Hanger didn’t disappoint. Excellent vibes.
Speed: Don’t care.
Sick factor: 0
Now, Freak Out is one of two rides I avoided all night. Being right behind bassPOD, the stage for those who appreciate the brutal things in life, Freak Out had a very long line. I watched as the massive pendulum swung ominously over our heads. I took a deep breath and a tiny sip of water and climbed aboard.
Verdict: Tight AF. In terms of thrills, it stands alone. But what I really appreciated is that it felt like a theme park ride and not a fairground attraction.
Speed: No phones, but fast.
Sick factor: 7. It’s not fucking around.
Pleasantness: 5. It’s not really about pleasantness. There is something sadomasochistic about it, like having hot wax poured on your chest and getting slapped in the nuts.
Zipper was the other ride I was avoiding. I stood in line for it earlier in the evening and decided that its maniacal, rough ‘n’ tumble, loop-the-loop vibe was not what my stomach needed in that moment. Alas, I had checked off almost everything else… almost.
Verdict: My partner on this ride was screaming and splurting as we flailed around inside the little metal cage, but I felt nothing. I am a husk.
Speed: Who cares at this point?
Sick factor: 9
The final ride.
Sick factor: 0
Disclaimer: I ran out of time to go on the bumper cars, but they’re bumper cars, so you know the score. Freak Out has a less savage counterpart on the other end of the festival, so I skipped that, too. And who needs to go on more than one Ferris wheel? Sue me.
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