They don’t call it ‘Sunland’ for nothing. Even I was apprehensive about the the fact that the party would be under the sun, having so many times in the past voiced my opinions about dayraving. Consolation came in the anticipation of the sunset and the nearly full-moon night sky to follow, but when the news broke that the party was getting cut off at midnight instead of two a.m., I feared the worst. I of little faith, it seemed, was to be proven very drastically wrong in many fantastic ways.

The sun was to be a constant companion for most of our time at the Electric Daisy Carnival, and we were warmly greeted upon our arrival. I was so happy to finally be there, after all the anticipation, apprehension, wondering when; where; who, that the heat really didn’t occur to me. I was at a huge party, with bright sunshine and good friends, and I wasn’t about to let something as unalterable as the temperature get me down. Apprehension drifted from my mind as we breezed through the line and set out to the trance stage, aptly titled the ‘merry-go-round’, where a new emotion permeated the air and filled my head: pure happiness.
It is said that it’s all about the music, and that’s the most true statement about raving (and life in general) ever uttered; the music sets the vibe, moves the people, draws us together, and gives us all a common bond, no matter which kind of sound we prefer. Being among my friends on that field in the sun was just about all I needed to wash away any lingering doubts. Mars was on, and the world was a better place for a while. Something about the mixture of ‘the flower duets’, a choral piece beautiful enough on its own, with a trance beat, dancing with your friends, and the sun shining on your face... It’s simply a transcendent experience. Maybe not God, but I saw something out there that was good and loved us.
After such an experience, I was almost sad to see the sun go. The sun is intense, blazing off in the void, so far away, and yet powerful enough to draw sweat and darken skin; It’s condusive to intense experience. The moon is subtle, and contributes to a subdued experience. And so, after the natural lights dimmed and the sun crept behind the hills, the fascinating array of unnatural lights began swirling, spinning and glowing through the darkness. And so my experience became more relaxed amidst the display of humanity. I felt spent from the day, and wandered through the atmosphere, ambling through the place, sometimes a participant in the human experience, sometimes merely a silent observer, sometimes a hybrid of both. Here there was the progressive house stage, a sound which prompted comments from one of our number to the tune of ‘I can’t stand this crap’, but I wasn’t in a mood to listen to her hate, so I wandered on. There you had the jungle stage, with MC’s going off. Here was the funk-house stage, a relaxing sound that fit my mindset at the time, so I lingered, dancing when the beat hit me right, but overall just enjoying the crowd and the sound and the vibe. There were the carnival rides twinkling and whirling and spinning in what MUST have been a gut-wrenching manner. It occured to me that whirly machines and intoxicating substances weren’t the best of partners, but the people on the rides looked to be having a good time, so more power to them. At one point one of our group made a comment about how a camera flash would give people who were on pills seizures. My response was that if you’re prone to seizures, being on pills at a rave probably isn’t the best place for you.
With plenty of party left, and a few extra ticket stubs to boot, we set out to the after parties. In hindsight, leaving at 11:00 was a stroke of genius. I don’t know how the escape was at the end of the night, but I’ve been idling in a car in a parking lot/cow pasture at sunrise enough times to not want to repeat the experience, especially when the after parties had limited capacity. Much of the after hours was spent in deep E-versation with a good friend about every topic under the sun, which fit in nicely with my relaxed vibe. The party at Funktionclub had a split atmosphere: there were the EDC partiers, tired and glad it was nighttime, all smiles for everyone. We all knew what we had just been through together, and I felt almost bad for the people in chic shiny shirts and hip cowboy hats who were there for club Giant, because I don’t think they quite got it.
In the end and on a personal note, after all was said and done, after 14 straight hours, four good friends had transcended the realm of the real for a little while together, and we were closer for having done so. One of us is still new to the scene, I took him to his first party just a few months ago, but he already understands better than a lot of people out there. As the night wound down, he came up to me and said, “thank you for bringing me into this world; I’ve never been anywhere before where I know everyone is there to have a good time and not hate, and feel safe because everyone else there is in it with you.” And that sums up the experience of our day in the sun at the Electric Daisy Carnival better than I ever could.