EDC: This show must go on and on

The Electric Daisy Carnival will be back in Las Vegas in 2012 and beyond, the rave promoter said Wednesday.

Alison Monaghan, a spokeswoman for Insomniac, the company behind the three-night electronic music festival, said planning meetings are already under way for a repeat at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

She said Insomniac and the speedway have inked a multi-year agreement to produce the event, although she wouldn't disclose specifics.

"Insomniac is beyond thrilled with the success of our 15th annual Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas," Erika Raney, communications director for Insomniac, said in a statement.

The Electric Daisy Carnival attracted an estimated 230,000 people to its first Las Vegas stop over the weekend. That number includes ticket holders, special guests and VIPs who paid from $120 for a single-day, general admission to three-day packages at $600.

How much the rave contributed to the Southern Nevada economy won't be known for a couple of weeks, said Jeremy Handel, senior manager of public affairs for the L as Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. But hotel operators citywide say they consider the festival a success.

Yvette Monet, spokeswoman for MGM Resorts International, said all of the company's Strip properties were at or near capacity for the weekend.

"We know we had very strong hotel bookings over the past weekend," she said.

Gary Thompson, spokesman for Caesars Entertainment, said the same.

"We were at more than 100 percent occupancy," he said. "We actually had to place some of our customers in our competitors' hotels. It was a very busy weekend."

The Clarion at 305 Convention Center Drive received a slew of last-minute bookings, which general manager Steve Dennis attributed to Electric Daisy.

"We were sold out at all three nights, unexpectedly," Dennis said.

The rates, which he wouldn't disclose, were "significantly higher" than normal for a weekend. On a nonholiday weekend in July, Clarion rooms are available for $80 to $300. Many Las Vegas hotels charged as much as five times their normal rates for the weekend.

Station Casinos, with smaller hotels around the Las Vegas Valley, reported an equally blockbuster weekend.

"We knew this was a group we wanted to go after," said company spokeswoman Lori Nelson. "We had a fantastic weekend at all of our Station Casinos hotels."

Aliante, which is the closest Station property to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, sold out first. Throughout all of the properties, the average sliding room rate was double, if not triple, what an average rate would have been for that weekend. Nelson said the company knew going in that most booked rooms would be filled to capacity, which officially, is four people.

"It was one of the best weekends we've had in the past few years," Nelson said.

That is especially significant because the weekend before the Fourth of July is typically pretty soft for Las Vegas hotel properties.

According to data from Ash Kapur, senior director of global strategic accounts and gaming for Expedia, the online travel agency's hotel-only bookings for June 26 were up 20 percent over the same day in 2010. On average, travelers booked last weekend's hotels 42 days in advance. In 2010, rooms were booked 32 days out.

While receipts are still being added up in Las Vegas, the Electric Daisy Carnival in 2010 boosted economic output by more than $42 million in Los Angeles County and filled 34,000 hotel rooms, according to Los Angeles-based research and analysis company Beacon Economics.

For some local businesses, the event provided unexpected benefits.

Las Vegas photographer Erik Kabik was hired by Insomniac to photograph the three-day event, which he called "an excellent opportunity" to expose him and his work to an entirely new genre of artists.

Some of the disc jockeys he photographed already have requested pictures, and many dancers and other performers said they plan to hire him for future photo shoots.

"From a business perspective, for me as a Las Vegas business person, it just provided me with great networking opportunities," Kabik said. "It's pretty incredible how much networking came out of it."

Local transportation companies also reported an uptick in business associated with Electric Daisy.

"There was about a 1 (percent) to 2 percent increase in reservations," said Meghan Maguire, spokeswoman for Enterprise Holdings, the company that owns car-rental agencies Alamo, National and Enterprise. "It was not a huge increase because the average age of folks who attended was very young."

Alan Waxler Group Destination Services partnered with Insomniac to offer charter bus service to attendees at $60 per person for three days, $30 per person for Friday or Sunday, or $40 for Saturday.

Company owner Alan Waxler said about 18,000 people purchased vouchers that had to be exchanged for wristbands when attendees were ready for a ride.

On June 24, shuttles ran between the speedway and seven hotel sites from 6 p.m. to about 9 a.m. the first day, and on subsequent days were able to have everyone back to their hotels by about 7:15 a.m., Waxler said.

Riders experienced delays during a first-day 6 a.m. rush, but Waxler said he tweaked his plans and pulled an all-nighter, which helped things run smoother the next two days. He even reached out to other transportation companies for additional vehicles.

"It's all a learning curve," Waxler said, adding that he's looking forward to next year's rave.

Contact reporter Laura Emerson at lemerson@lvbusinesspress.com or 702-380-4588.