Step into your fuzzy pink boots and slide on your glittery thongs. The Electric Daisy Carnival will be back in town this week.
The festival is one of the biggest dance music events in the world. After several years in Los Angeles, it moved to Las Vegas in 2011. It drew more than 300,000 people last year.
Indications are it could be even bigger this year.
It runs Friday through Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
But this isn’t your parents’ Woodstock.
It’s unlikely that many people over 25 have heard of the acts, including Armin van Buuren, Afrojack and Avicii.
The costumes — yes, many fans wear costumes — are typically revealing and cartoonish. They’re as likely to include fishnets and wigs as they are glitter and bikini tops.
The girls dress weird, too.
The EDC, as it’s called, matters a lot, though. It’s one of Las Vegas’ biggest annual events.
It sold out last year, with 320,000 attending, and it’s been sold out for months already this year. Organizers said the 345,000 tickets were sold to people in all 50 states and 46 countries.
In 2012, the EDC generated an estimated $207 million for Clark County, according to an economic impact report released by Beacon Economics LLC. The event’s producers commissioned the study. Economic impact estimates are not yet available for this year.
The sponsor, Insomniac Events, moved the festival to later in June, hoping to avoid the gusty winds that forced the cancellation of dozens of acts during the second night of last year’s festival.
As it has grown, though, so have associated woes. Traffic, especially leaving the event, has been a gridlockian nightmare.
Insomniac said they hired an outside traffic consulting company and worked closely with Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol in hopes of alleviating the traffic this year.
Shuttle buses will take a different route — through Nellis Air Force Base — than cars and trucks driving to the event on Interstate 15 and Las Vegas Boulevard.
“It should realize a much faster turnaround,” said Alan Waxler, owner of AWG Ambassador, which is providing the shuttle transportation from hotels to the speedway.
Last year, he said, the company moved 22,000 people and this year is looking to move 35,000 people each way.
“It’s growing leaps and bounds,” he said. At any given time next weekend, the shuttles probably will have close to 13,700 seats filled.
There will be 12 pickup locations across the Strip and one downtown. Locals can use the Rio or Hard Rock Hotel stops if they want to avoid the Strip. AWG also will offer one-way tickets from the speedway back to hotels during the event, which is Waxler’s biggest of the year.
“This pretty much dwarfs anything in terms of size. Moving 70,000 people, this is Super Bowl stuff,” he said.
Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Loy Hixson said troopers will be out in force over the weekend to help traffic flow smoothly on the freeway and the boulevard.
He noted most of the EDC activity takes places late at night, so it has little effect on other traffic.
Bill Cassell with the Metropolitan Police Department said the agency has handled large events like the EDC for many years, including New Year’s Eve on the Strip.
Two festival attendees died last year, neither of them at the event itself.
Officials said Olivier Hennessy, a 31-year-old Florida man, was intoxicated when he walked into traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard and was struck by a car.
And Emily McCaughan, a 22-year-old Arizona resident, died after she fell from her Strip hotel room. Family members said at the time that McCaughan was having paranoid delusions after taking drugs during the final night of the three-day festival.
When asked if police can do anything to prevent such incidents, Cassell would only say that police focus on what happens inside the event. In two years, police have made a few dozen arrests, typically misdemeanors, at EDC.
There are a few hundred medical calls each year, many of them heat-related. It will be hot again this year, with long-range forecasts calling for temperatures near or above 100 degrees all week.
Cassell said officers have been planning their EDC strategy since the end of last year’s event.
“We expect EDC to get smoother and smoother,” he said.
To help, Maverick Helicopters is again selling its EDC helicopter transfer, ranging in price from $500 for one person one way, up to $5,000 for seven people, round-trip. New this year is a discounted fare only offered during restricted hours, created in partnership with Insomniac. The helicopters run every 30 minutes starting at 6 p.m. with the last flight back leaving the speedway at 6:30 a.m.
“EDC is very different for us, because it actually turns our operations into a 24-hour operation,” said Bryan Kroten, vice president of marketing for Maverick Helicopters.
The tour company has to shut down its evening flight service over the Strip for the three days, and it delays its first flight to the Grand Canyon a bit.
Kroten is expecting a 25 percent increase in flights offered this year over last. “It’s a very last-minute crowd in years past. This year it’s been different because people are seeing the urgency of booking,” Kroten said.
He said the tourism industry, in particular, is starting to welcome the fest with open arms.
“I think Vegas is finally embracing EDC,” Kroten said.