Dropping ticket sales for Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas may speak to the decline of the North American festival boom at large. For the first time since 2011, when SoCal promoter Insomniac Events relocated the annual three-day June gathering to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, neither GA nor VIP passes for the 2017 edition have sold out in the days leading up to the event.
EDC Las Vegas sold out beforehand every year from 2012-2016, even as the capacity of the electronic music festival climbed from 320,000 to over 400,000. Tickets to the 2014 installment ran out in record time; both GA and VIP passes were no longer available by March although organizers had yet to announce the official lineup.
Signs of slowdown in the mainstream EDM explosion have mounted from 2015 to 2016, including concerns over event safety and the bankruptcy of electronic music conglomerate SFX Entertainment. EDC felt the effects as much as any brand or event, but the festival still managed to sell through its GA passes a month in advance. What remains to be seen is whether this year’s sales figures signal a temporary detour from an upward trend – or the end of an era in dance music.
The electronic music market caught fire over the past decade as music festivals doubled in size annually for several years in a row. While the decline in popularity of EDC Las Vegas undoubtedly reflects the market as a whole, the festival itself won’t vanish anytime soon. Insomniac Events has arguably fostered more brand loyalty than any other rave promoter on the continent, and despite being the youngest movement in dance culture mainstream EDM’s inertia will prevent it from fading into obscurity overnight.
The trend does suggest that the up-and-coming generation of electronic music fans are beginning to seek out more boutique live music experiences, a shift that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Insomniac. In addition to billing EDM headliners for one-size-fits-all gatherings, the promoter has poured more resources into specialized events in recent years. The Factory 93 brand, launched in 2016, was Insomniac’s answer to the recent resurgence in popularity of house and techno, and the meteoric rise of their Dreamstate festivals demonstrated that trance acts once again command a formidable draw on a global scale.
EDC Las Vegas kicks off today, June 16th, and runs through Sunday, June 18th. Insomniac Events has not disclosed any estimated attendance figures as of this writing.