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Got the EDC traffic blues? It’s 10 minutes by helicopter

Updated May 20, 2018 - 7:27 pm

You can forget that the gleaming, thin red line that looks like a stream of taillights … actually is.

Hundreds of cars down there, snaking slowly along Las Vegas Boulevard to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Electric Daisy Carnival.

If you’ve ever been in that line, or any like it, you might wonder how it looks like from the air.

Impressive, is how.

And the trek from the Strip to EDC, which can cover a couple of hours, is cut to about 10 minutes on one of these Maverick Helicopter treks — and Maverick is the exclusive flight partner for EDC and event production company Insomniac.

On the second night of the festival, those guests included such headliners as Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Kygo, Marshmello and … who else? Ah, jazz sax man Kenny G, he turned up, too.

Tiesto took a few minutes to chat in the Maverick Aviation Terminal lounge, which has been outfitted as a boutique EDM nightclub with flashing lights, a DJ and makeup artists dabbing glitter on the faces of incoming guests. All that’s missing is a confetti cannon, steam blasts and maybe a set from a superstar DJ.

As it is, Maverick’s three-night reservation list has included such stars as Diplo, Wiz Khalifa, Rae Sremmurd, Kaskade, Yellow Claw, Illenium, Jauz, Martin Garrix, Afrojack and Lil Pump.

“This is by far the busiest year we’ve had, and we’ve been sold out for the past couple of weeks,” says Maverick Helicopters Vice President of Marketing Bryan Kroten, who herds the celebs and makes sure the series of flights are running on time. “We have stars, their surprise guest stars, fans, sponsors.”

Essentially, anyone who can pony up $850 for a round-trip flight — a fee that does not include the cost of an EDC wristband — can fly sky high to EDC. Kroten remembers the first year his company flew out to the event. “We had two helicopters operating and a lot of down time,” he says. “Now we’ve got 20-plus helicopters taking hundreds and hundreds of people.”

Sixty staffers work 100 straight hours during EDC. The company continues its usual tour schedule, too, carrying tourists to the Grand Canyon and back.

“We’ve learned that we need to provide a buffer for the Grand Canyon tours,” Kroten says. “We don’t want EDC guests coming back from the speedway early in the morning mixing with couples from the U.K. waiting for their tour of the Grand Canyon. It’s really not the best mix.”

EDC is certainly akin to Maverick’s Super Bowl. The top-down view of the Strip, downtown and the EDC layout at LVMS is uniquely Las Vegas.

“They call it the Electric Sky,” Kroten says. “And to be flying over the Electric Sky is pretty cool.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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