The folks behind Electric Daisy Carnival excel in curating the ultimate dance music festival experience. This year, our team had the opportunity of “sitting down” with Insomniac’s Lead Experience Architect Steve Howard to discuss his vision for the future of dance music, what to expect at the flagship event in Las Vegas this Summer and how EDC remains ahead of the game. After just hitting the Halfway mark, we’re even more excited to see everyone this Summer Under the Electric Sky. Have a read…
Front Gate Tickets: What led you to become involved with Insomniac? What were your first impressions of EDC? Since joining Insomniac, what are some of the biggest standout moments for you?
Steve Howard: After 30 plus years in touring, concerts, sports and theatre I was looking for a new challenge and a colleague thought I would be a good fit for Insomniac.
My first festival was Escape 2014 and I remember being very impressed at the scale of the experience with the multiple stages and the incredible number of both large and small elements and details that make Insomniac shows truly unique.
I accepted the offer after meeting with Pasquale Rotella and feeling his energy and drive to make positive change in the world through his All Are Welcome Here message and always putting the audience first before anything else.
Front Gate Tickets: Tell us about the transition from producing U2 and Rolling Stones tours to becoming THE experience architect? Are they wholly different worlds / what were you able to carry over from the Rock world to the EDC platform?
Steve Howard: I was very fortunate to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the growth and development of the international touring business into the highly-sophisticated machine that it is today.
Much of that expertise is very applicable to Insomniac’s challenging business model and I’m having a blast introducing many of these strategies to Pasquale and his incredible team.
I’ve had good success at organizing the team into distinct areas of responsibility and I’ve been able to introduce many of the templated processes that are so important to successful touring. Our budgeting, cost control and settlement process is much better than it used to be and we are seeing significant growth in many of our sources of ancillary revenue that are so important to our overall financial health.
Front Gate Tickets: EDC, Las Vegas especially, is known for its beautifully detailed and elaborate productions. How are you able to keep things fresh, exciting and intricate year after year? What are some new sights and sounds to expect for EDC LV 2017?
Steve Howard: Talk about a bunch of kids in a candy store!! We have so much fun spinning up new ideas for Vegas and the 2017 version will not disappoint. Not only will Kinetic Field get a brand-new design but we’ve added a really cool new Dreamstate stage and we are super excited to introduce what we think is the most awesome new art car that I think will be the talk of the festival.
Front Gate Tickets: Dance music is such a wide-ranging genre – can you tell us about the booking process and how it aims to represent?
Steve Howard: I’ve been told there are more than 100 different genres of dance music – who knew! Not only do we have a very talented team of talent bookers but most of the entire 140 plus company staff are passionate dance music enthusiasts who are all out discovering new artists, new sounds and sharing their finds with the entire company. I think we have enough in-house DJ’s to run our own festival!
Talent meetings are focused on making sure we are always introducing our audience to the next up and coming artists while always delivering on what is popular and creating the most buzz while making sure we’ve got good coverage for everyone’s different musical tastes.
Front Gate Tickets: The EDC community is one of the largest and supportive out there. What is it about EDC that draws in such passionate fans??
Steve Howard: Simple answer – Pasquale Rotella’s connection to this audience is just unparalleled. Pasquale is always looking for ways to make their experience at Insomniac events better and he is a fierce champion of inclusivity making sure the environment at shows is always welcoming, friendly and non-judgmental.
Front Gate Tickets: What are you most looking forward to at EDC LV this year? Any special performers, installations, etc?
Steve Howard: As always there are many new elements to look forward to for Vegas every year. One of the ones I’m most excited about for 2017 is an installation we’re putting into our central hang-out/meeting space in Carnival Square. That should be checked out for sure.
Front Gate Tickets: We’re excited to see more global expansion for EDC! Can you tell us what and where is next?
Steve Howard: Where to begin?? This is one of the most exciting things about working with Insomniac. We literally get new enquiries every week to bring EDC or another Insomniac festival to a different part of the world. Bubbling up to the top right now are China, Europe and my native home – Canada.
Front Gate Tickets: If you give 1 piece of advice to a first-time attendee, what would it be?
Steve Howard: Forget whether or not dance music is your thing, everyone likes a good party right? And what makes a great party? The guests always make the party and that is what is so special about Insomniac events. You will have such a blast – don’t be afraid to even come by yourself – you will have tons of new friends before you know it and many great memories of the experience.
If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, we have no idea what you’re waiting for!