Electric Daisy Carnival New York kicked off with a bang two weeks before its usual start time over Memorial Day in 2016 and is already half way done. Insomniac's two-day EDM outpost in the metropolitan area boasts a lineup with names like Zedd, Kaskade, DJ Snake, Eric Prydz, Alison Wonderland and Hot Since 82. Day 1 is in the books with the Cosmic Meadow dominating the day and plenty others like Ferry Corsten as Gouryella, Zedd, The Magician, Green Velvet and Bixel Boys. We count down the 10 best things from day 1.
1. Drezo - The front end of the day was somewhat lacking in notable figures to see, but the Los Angeles producer got himself a whole crowd of new fans with his mix of dub-house (more on that later) and other four-on-the-floor beats. With the crowds just starting to come in through the gates, Drezo was able to draw a crowd right away.
2. Bixel Boys - Los Angeles duo Bixel Boys were another element of the strong Cosmic Meadow stage from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (more on the stage later). They started out with some dubby house music and some of their own house rhythms, but then by the end started to loosen up with some straight rap. They tossed in odes to New York City from Biggie and Frank Sinatra with "New York, New York." They knew where they were.
3. The Magician - The French tuxedo-sporting DJ stepped onto the magical Cosmic Meadow stage at 5 p.m. and had just the right potion for the crowd. His blend of festival ready house music was accessible to everyone, while still not seeming too cheesy or obnoxious to drive away crowds or your author. The sets can feel like his Magic Tapes, but that isn't all that bad.
4. Green Velvet's Effortless Cool - Green Velvet is just so damn cool. Not only was his set in Neon Garden on point, but the combination of his glasses, demeanor and overall persona dominates the stage in a tent where the music comes first and everything else is a far second. We all wish we could be as awesome as Green Velvet.
5. Marshmello - If one was to look up "hype DJ" in the dictionary, Marshemello would be the first picture to come up. The "anonymous" DJ has skyrocketed in fame over the past year, landing a 6 p.m. slot at the Cosmic Meadow and was followed by a strong legion of his mellogang, which was potentially the largest of any fan base on Day 1. He shamelessly mixed together dubstep, rap, future bass and electro house all in one set, sometimes letting one artist get two tracks in a row or switch genres on the fly without much of a warning. The crowd was as energetic as they would be all day and Marshmello had all to do with it.
6. Hot Since 82 - Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella announced some changes a few months ago to the company's festival offerings and one of them was longer sets. Normally sets are only an hour, which stifles creativity. Hot Since 82 was given license to work with his own stage and then a two-and-a-hour set to close out the whole affair in the Neon Garden. It gave him time to tell a rare story in a book that is usually highlighted by short chapters filled with as many important plot points as possible.
7. Ferry Corsten as Gouryella - Trance was alive and well in the Circuit Grounds with the Dreamstate stage. Ferry Corsten has teetered on the edge of some more commercial progressive house and taken flak for it, but reviving his old trance moniker Gouryella has given the Dutchman license to dip back into the classics and play some of his trancier new tracks without issue. It was great to see the moniker come out and not appear as a gimmick to appeal to an older fan base. It felt natural and well timed.
8. Cosmic Meadow - The highlight stage of the day was the Cosmic Meadow. While trance fans will argue it was the Circuit Grounds and house heads will point to the Neon Garden, Cosmic Meadow had some of the best buzzing acts right now and a good mix of artists who aren't your typical mainstage fodder, but will still put out a good hour of music that can please a larger audience. With names like Sleepy Tom and Bixel Boys early on leading up to the likes of Madeon and Zedd, Cosmic Meadow was the strongest stage of the day.
9. Zedd - Though DJ Snake was booked as the headliner on the main stage, Zedd drew the bigger crowd and had the better set. He was able to largely shed his pop star image to break out some harder and even slightly deeper cuts in his hour and 15 minute set. He played his hits, but also made sure to have others from Daft Punk, Eptic and himself.
10. Main Stage Trends - The sound of the main stage at EDM festivals is usually repetitive and overly commercial, designed to please rather than educate. This year it appears as though there has been a trend away from the standard thudding electro house sounds that make up the usual soundscape of the main stage(s) at festivals and towards more house mixed with some dubstep - aptly titled dubhouse. Though it is a trendy sound right now, this is better than hearing 200 copycats of "Animals."