LAS VEGAS (AP) — More than 140,000 people, many decked out in bikinis, daisy crowns and signature fuzzy boots, are expected to flood into the Las Vegas Motor Speedway each night for the weekend-long Electric Daisy Carnival.
The colorful, annual rave that kicks off Friday night features seven stages and some of the biggest names in electronic dance music, including Avicii, Diplo, Afrojack and Tiesto. Festivalgoers will drink in the weird and the whimsical — sights include a 125-foot animated daisy that interacts with the audience, a fireworks display and 500 elaborately dressed theatrical performers roaming the grounds, organizers said.
Several dozen couples are expected to get hitched at the festival in legal wedding ceremonies — some officiated by an Elvis impersonator. More are expected to exchange vows with their partners or friends in non-binding commitment ceremonies.
Revelry begins at 7 p.m. each night and ends at 5:30 the next morning.
A study commissioned by parent company Insomniac estimates that last summer’s event injected $278 million into the Southern Nevada economy. Attendees paid for about 92,000 hotel room nights, spent more than $45 million on food and beverage and dropped $20 million for gambling.
Tickets for the event go on sale months in advance and start at about $250. Last year, nearly 95 percent of attendees traveled from outside the Las Vegas area to attend, with partiers hailing from 50 states and 40 countries, the study said.
It’s EDC’s fourth year in Las Vegas. The event moved from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after the 2010 death of a 15-year-old attendee who was treated for drug intoxication, and the arrest of 114 people on misconduct, drug and other charges.
Event organizers — who try to fend off the party drugs common at raves by telling attendees there’s zero tolerance for illegal substances — have avoided major controversy during their tenure in Las Vegas. But partygoers have faced some trouble and tragedy.
At the 2012 event, a 31-year-old Florida man died of his injuries after being hit by a truck while leaving the rave. Friends told police he’d been drinking before the accident.
A University of Arizona pre-med student died in 2012 while in Las Vegas for the party. Toxicology reports showed the 22-year-old woman had Ecstasy and traces of methamphetamine and gamma-hydroxybutyric in her system when she fell from the 27th floor of her hotel room.
At the close of the 2013 carnival, officers reported 49 felony arrests, mostly for drugs, and more than 600 calls for medical help.