By: Goldie Kahn As EDC and Coachella continue to grow and expand their offerings, the debate over which one of the biggest fests in the west is truly the top dog becoming more and more clear each year. Having just got back from Vegas, this year definitely made the choice a lot easier. The cost to attend is each festival is similar, with Coachella being slightly higher. I am not going to consider the music since that is simply a matter of taste, and if we are all being honest, seeing music at a large festival is probably the worst way to experience any particular artist. Almost everyone except the biggest headliners are far better off being seen in a club or theater. So, for me, it is the overall festival experience that truly makes the difference. With that in mind, there is virtually no aspect of what Goldenvoice does for the festival-goer at Coachella that outshines what Insomniac does at Electric Daisy Carnival.
A common theme of conversations I had with people throughout the weekend is how cool it was that Pasquale (Insomniac founder, Pasquale Rotella) puts so much money back into the festival to insure the most magical experience possible. Some might say that Coachella is taking the approach that its all about the music and that all of these "features" I mention below are actually "distractions" from paying attention to the music on stage. But as I mentioned earlier, if it was really all about the music, they wouldn't even host a festival.They would just book the bands into the venues that provide the best possible listening experience for that specific artist. Festivals are designed to make boatloads of money for everyone involved, promoters, bands, DJs and the local economy. So if you're going to pull it off, show some integrity and respect for the people who save money all year to attend and give them an experience that they will never forget. As someone who has attended both festivals for many years and loves them each for different reasons, I thought it was time to set the record straight.
1. Later Start Time While Vegas in June is definitely hotter than Indio in April, they are both capable of reaching temperatures that are downright oppressive. EDC smartly begins their festival at 7pm each night so we can avoid getting melted by the sun. Added plus is the savings on sun screen.
2. They Really Give You a Carnival Coachella has its iconic Ferris Wheel that we have all come to love for a fun way to see the vaunted Polo Grounds from way up high. But don't you think that after grabbing a minimum of almost $400 from everyone to just to get in the place, they could figure out a way to not charge $8 for the privilege? EDC, on the other hand has dozens of rides throughout the grounds, providing a complete Carnival experience and guess what, its FREE for anyone to go on any ride.
3. The Art is Better Coachella talks about their art installations, EDC actually has them. Walking through EDC ensure that you are seeing something cooler than anything at Coachella pretty much every ten feet you walk. The talk at Coachella this year was how lame and boring the art installations were. EDC fans were walking around saying "WOW" on a constant basis.
4. Performers Are in the Crowd The costumed performers that walk around the grounds and perform on the stages at EDC are extraordinary. The "actors" take great pride in what they provide to the EDC experience at it shows. Coachella has nothing like this at all and the amount of effort and money that Insomniac spends on this is clearly appreciated by those attending.
5. Fireworks People have recently been impressed by the new fireworks display at Disneyland. After seeing what EDC pulled off, I am pretty sure anything else I ever come across will just feel like sparklers in my neighbors cul-de-sac. These were mind-blowing, innovative works of art in the sky that made you want to find a friend so you could talk about what you had just seen to make sure it was real. Coachella has balloons they string together. And they don't even pop.
6. The Stages Are in a Whole Different League The stages at EDC are all themed and works of art in their own right. The main stage, Kinetic Field, feels like it could be included as a 7th Wonder of the World with details in the design that just put you in awe. Even the very smallest stages look spectacular next to Coachella's main stage that is basically a bunch of metal rods in a square. Anything of interest you do see on a Coachella stage is provided by the performer.
7. No Down Time Between Acts While this is mostly attributed to the difference between what djs and bands need to get set up (DJ's practically nothing while bands have intricate stage plots and input lists that all need to be checked), from the attendee point of view, this is a big plus. No waiting around for someone to get started!
8. More Places to Chill The amount of seating areas for ravers that want to chill or take a second to regroup is significantly greater at EDC than for those at Coachella. There was never a time when I felt like I couldn't find a place to sit down for a minute and rest.
9. Even the Backstage Experience is Better While Coachella provides this beautiful grassy area for the artist trailers with access to a serene pond, all courtesy of the natural environment of the Polo Grounds, EDC overcomes the fact that their trailers are on asphalt by providing a lounge area with seating and couches that includes an open bar available to anyone with an artist wristband and oh, did I mention that the artists had their very own Ferris Wheel!
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10. Location, Location, Location Hmmmm...lets see, would I rather be on the strip in Las Vegas when Im not at the festival or in a retirement community in Palm Desert?