Promoters say they will cap ticket sales at about 90,000 for the weekend, even though the speedway could potentially hold up to 100,000 people a day. Tickets for the three-day festival ($175 to $299, or $295 to $419 for an overnight-camping option) are available at electricdaisycarnival.com.
Electric Daisy Carnival, which originated in Los Angeles in 1997, is widely regarded as the largest North American electronic music festival. Last year, it drew 325,000 people to a three-day rave in Las Vegas. In the past decade, it has been staged in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas and Puerto Rico, but never in Chicago.
Controversy has trailed the rave scene ever since its underground, outlaw origins in the late '80s. In the past decade, promoters such Pasquale Rotella of Insomniac, which is promoting the Electric Daisy Carnival, have turned it into a big business, performing at fairgrounds, racetracks and sports stadiums with corporate sponsors. But since 2006, 14 people have died from overdoses or in drug-related incidents linked to concerts produced by Rotella and another Los Angeles-based rave promoter, Reza Gerami. Last year, Rotella was indicted with five others on embezzlement charges related to events at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He has pleaded not guilty.
“There is a stigma attached to dance music for sure,” Rotella said Wednesday. “But drugs are (a) problem everywhere, and for an individual to say this problem is unique to dance music (that person) is simply uninformed. There are plenty of rock festivals across the country that have the exact same problems. But you take every step to ensure safety and improve safety. People are capable of doing stupid things, and we do everything but bubble wrap people.”
Rotella says stronger measures have been taken in recent years to minimize safety problems, such as raising the age limit to 18 for festivalgoers, making free water available and beefing up medical personnel, including on-site teams that roam the grounds to address problems.
“We've capped capacity in Chicago and safety is a big reason,” he says. “It's new territory for us and we want to take baby steps to work out any kinks that might make it a less than great event.”
The racetrack will be dotted with art installations, carnival rides, circus and theatrical performers, and pyrotechnics. And, yes, there will be music supplied by artists on four stages. The complete lineup so far (Insomniac says a few more artists may be added):
Above & Beyond, Andy C, Armin Van Buuren, Arty, Avicii, Blond:ish, Borgore, Brillz, Bro Safari, Christian Martin, Crizzly, Culture Shock, Dash Berlin, David Guetta, Delta Heavy, Dirtyphonics, DJ Boats, DJ Fresh, DJ Fury, DJ Koze, Dub Phizix, Ed Rush & Optical, Empire of the Sun, Fallen, Gareth Emery, Gina Turner.
Hardwell, Heidi, Helicopter Showdown, High Contrast, Huxley, Jack Beats, Justin Martin, Kaskade, Kill Frenzy, Koan Sound, Loadstar, LowRIDERz, Luminox, L-Vis 1990, Markus Schulz, Matrix & Futurebound, Mayhem & Heroes X Villains, Metrik, Michael Mayer, Midnight Conspiracy, Mimosa, Morgan Page, Mt Eden.
Nadastrom, Nick Monaco, Noisia, Nu:Logic, Popof, Quintino, Rene LaVice, Run DMT, Sander van Doorn, Schoolboy, Smooth, S.P.Y, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Tale of Us, Terravita, The Bloody Beetroots, Three, Thug ... , Tiesto, Tittsworth, Uz, W&W, Wilkinson, Wolf + Lamb, Worthy.