The Fantastic World Where One Can Enjoy EDM and Rides
Going to the first EDC Korea
Words: ARIEL JO / DAVID LEE (번역)
“I Love You Korea!”
Along with the shout out from the global hitmaker, DJ Snake, the Seoul Land’s sky was filled with fantabulous fireworks. Some of the people were dancing along with friends in strange costumes and some had their phones out to take videos of the fireworks. People were enjoying the moment in their own ways as they were also making unforgettable memories.
On the last day of August and on the first day of September, Electric Daisy Carnival Korea, hosted at Gwacheon Seoul Land, closed its curtains after having delivered unforgettable memories to all those who came out. Hosting its first show in Korea, EDC is a global EDM festival in its 22nd anniversary with shows in Las Vegas, Mexico, China, and Japan. EDC Korea where one can enjoy exotic carnival and EDM festival at the same time has received high expectations from many music fans with its mega line up. Living up to its name as a global EDM festival, EDC Korea boasted its size and quality of 5 stages: Kinetic Field, Circuit Ground, Neon Garden, Boombox Art Car, Wide Awake Around The World.
EDC Korea that seemed like the last of summer. The way to the Seoul Land from the Seoul Grand Park Station showed somewhat different scenery compared to that of other festivals. Street vendors were selling tiny and cute character balloons and hairbands, the aroma of snacks that one could only find it amusement parks filled the air. Also, babies in their strollers and kids that were running around along with their parents who were with them amongst the youngsters who were dressed in festival looks with their own personal touch caught my eyes. It makes sense since the venue of EDC Korea was at Seoul Land where it has both an amusement park and a zoo, making it a perfect location for a weekend getaway for a family. The sight of festival goers and family visitors mingled in one place was very strange, yet it had its own freshness.
While riding on the elephant train to the Seoul Land, my heart began to beat faster as I felt the bass sound getting closer. Upon entering the festival after having waited for a long line for the entrance band, an installment decorated with little flowers that had a shape of a rainbow came to the eyes. “ALL ARE WELCOME HERE”. Just like the meaning of the installment, children, parents, and festival goers were present together at the Seoul Land. Though they visited Seoul Land with different purposes, they were enjoying together while sharing the space.
The very first stage that welcomed us was a Boombox Art Car that was in a shape of a boombox. The boombox was equipped with a strong sound system, which was enough to get the crowds excited, as if it was boasting its boombox design. It seemed as if the bass that was heard from far on the elephant train came from this place. I moved to the Kinetic Field while seeing MINIMONSTER, a local DJ, stopping the footsteps of the crowd in front of the stage with his dubstep sound.
Because the way to the Kinetic Field had Daisy Lane and Rainbow Road decorated with beautiful lightings and colors, it was pleasant on the eyes while walking there. When arriving at Kinetic Field after following along the colorful road, I was awestruck. An installment of an owl that represents EDC welcomed us from the entrance and after having passed the entrance, a very big stage that looked as if the whole EDC Las Vegas has been moved appeared in front of us. At the stage, which its motto is center of love, JOYRYDE, a heavy bass musician was pounding the stage with his bass music. After daydreaming and watching the stage with an absent mind for a while, his hit song ‘Hot Drum’ came along in the speakers, and after the lyric where it reads ‘Somebody make some noise,’ people started to get even more excited.
After JOYRYDE’s performance has ended, Timmy Trumpet’s stage started. As I was looking forward to his eclectic trumpet performance, I welcomed him with butterflies in my stomach and a beer in my hand which I had prepared earlier. Without a doubt, Timmy trumpet turned up the crowd with his trumpet performance and hour and 15minutes of his set began with the song ‘Toca’, which he collaborated with KSHMR who was going to perform on Kinetic Field at EDC Korea the next day. Following him, Dillon Francis entered the stage reflecting the flamboyant light beams. Rainbow colored lights spread across the dark skies of Seoul Land and as if he was responding to the night sky, Dillon slowly started to crank up the vibe to make the crowd dancing.
Around the time when Dillon was finishing up on the stage, I fell into a dilemma. Probably almost everyone who has visited EDC Korea were in the same dilemma: Kinetic Field’s Alesso V.S. Circuit Ground’s Deadmau5. Wanting to hear the global hit song, ‘Heroes’, on stage clashed with the wanting to see and hear Deadmau5’s stage and music. After a long debate, we decided to move to Circuit Ground. Enjoying the rainbow lighted roads that we’d passed; we stopped by Neon Garden for a short time. Neon Garden was an indoor stage that was decorated with neon lights with a club house vibe. Having looked into the festival guide book, this place was the world of Techno today. Including Joon Kwak, whom we’ve featured in the last DJ Mag Asia 3rd edition, Artbat, Yousef, and more, many techno artists played their set in this space. With Alan Fitzpatrick’s deep techno set behind, I headed to the Circuit Ground.
When we arrived at the Circuit Ground, Deadmau5 was just about to start his set. It definitely had a different vibe from the Kinetic Field. Only mostly using laser beams so that the audience can focus on the music, Deadmau5’s stage mesmerized the crowd. On top of that, the background video and music’s harmony allowed the crowd to be even more engaged in his act. “I Love You Kimchi!” he screamed in his trademarked mouse helmet. As Deadmau5’s money-making baby, ‘Strobe’ resonated, the first night of the EDC Korea has came to an end.
With the start of September, marking the coming of fall on the last day of EDC Korea, we arrived at Seoul Land relatively late. As we entered the gate with cool breeze against our cheek, we heard the deep bass from yesterday. Though the crowd seemed smaller than that of yesterday, The Boombox Art Car that welcomed us still had its hotness. We moved our footsteps to check out other stage that we have yet seen with the welcoming sound from Local DJ Shanelle whose extreme beauty paralleled the design of Boombox Art Car.
The stage that we haven’t visited yet was Wide Awake Around The World Stage located across from the food truck zone. The scattered LED lighting behind the stage that depicted an image of lake made the DJ to look as if he was on a small boat. As we were just in time for dinner, there was a huge crowd around the stage. They were dancing along the music even as they were waiting in lines for their food. On the chairs of the stage that looked like a circular movie theater, families that came to Seoul Land were enjoying the stage and around them, the crowd was moving towards the Kinetic Field to hear San Holo’s dreamy sound. Though San Holo was one of the DJs I wanted to check out, we kept moving to see the last stage that we haven’t checked out.
One more stage remained aside from the first five stages that I have mentioned earlier. Though it shared the same stage as Neon Garden, it had a different name for the second day: Basspod. It morphed from a techno-based music to a bass centered music as its name describes. When we arrived at the entrance of Basspod with much hope and expectation, it already looked like that it was at its full capacity. Because Basspod is an indoor stage, when it hits the full capacity, people had to wait in line for their turn to go in. Right at that time, Snail was spinning his hard dubstep sounds and people were waiting in line listening to his music outside. Though I wanted to see his stage, I had to walk away only with reluctance seeing the long line.
EDC Korea guests were given a special privilege aside from the DJ performance. Everyone was allowed to go on 10 different rides at a no cost to go back to his or her childhood. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, we decided to go on a ride that looked the most exciting. At that moment, we heard a girl scream and we instantly looked at where the scream came from. There was a huge ride that spins 360 degrees in mid-air with flashy lights and we walked to the ‘Top Spin’ as if we were enchanted to the scream. We were able to get on the lane after about 10 mins of wait. With a sound alarming the start of the ride, we went towards to sky and at the point where the whole Seoul Land came to my eyes, the ride started spinning as it dropped straight to the ground. It felt like I got a hit on my head, but I actually liked the feeling. It felt like my tired body was supercharged with energy from the shock and with the adrenaline still running through my body, we moved to the Kinetic Field.
While waiting for the finale of the EDC Korea, we checked out KSHMR who have been staging one of a kind live performance by infusing EDM with Indian music. During the interview with DJ Mag Asia he’s mentioned that “the dance music that keeps his heart beating is a music that delivers the energy to its highest peak.” Owning his words, his stage was full of energy and he had the crowd jumping up and down. A whole lot of people were ‘going crazy’ to his music. Just about the time when KSHMR’s set was coming to an end, suddenly a song in Korean came out. It was a first release of his collaboration with SHAUN who has gained fame from ‘Way Back Home’ and a Korean local DJ/Producer duo ADVANCED: ‘Thanks to You’. Though there was a moment of confusion as an unknown Korean song came out, but that was soon to be over as it was only seconds away before the crowd started to jump up and down again.
After KSHMR’s stage ended, DJ Snake, who will close the EDC Korea, overtook the stage. Living up to his fame from not only the EDM fans but also the common listeners, he put the stage on fire with sound that is loved by everyone. The peak of his performance was when Justin Bieber’s voice came out during the song, ‘Let Me Love You’. Singing along the ever-popular melody line “Don’t’ you give up, na na na”, every voice at the Kinetic Field became unison as the crowd truly enjoyed the moment. After DJ Snake came down the stage, the fireworks started to light the night sky with colors in silence. It was just a good old fireworks in a perfect night.
The first footstep of EDC Korea that was produced over the span of two days was just fantastic. EDC Korea successfully transformed the existing amusement park with new art installations and lightings. Not only was music the center of the festival but also a variety of things to eat and see on the streets were perfectly coupled to form a enjoyable festival. Like EDC Korea’s slogan, ‘All Are Welcome Here’ the festival goers and the visitors of Seoul Land visitors also took a big role in making this festival even more special. We will start the fall of 2019 with a high hopes and curiosity where the destiny of EDC Korea lies ahead as it sets itself apart from the rest of the festivals in Korea.
September 10th, 2019