This year marked the fourth year of EDC Orlando, the Florida-based EDC event held at Tinker Field. Spanning November 8 and 9, the event incorporated considerably nuanced production and a diverse lineup. The festival made great strides in improving from previous years, such as going cash-less and mitigating sound-bleed between stages. However, some problems still prevented the festival from making a lasting impact.

Read our “Pros and Cons” list for EDC Orlando 2014 below:

Pro #1: Diverse Lineup

This year Insomniac crafted perhaps the most diverse set of performers in the festival’s four-year history. Genres ranging from electro to deep house and trance to trap were represented in spades, with each stage theme aligning to a particular genre. The Kinetic Field housed recognizable names such as Alesso, Knife Party, and Steve Aoki, while the Circuit Grounds held bass artists on day one and huge artists such as Above & Beyond, Steve Angello, and Oliver Heldens on day two.

Our favorite stage happened to be the Neon Garden, the smallest of the three stages, which highlighted trance on day one and deep and tech house on day two. Performers like Aly & Fila, Myon & Shane 54, Green Velvet, Amine Edge & DANCE, and Claude VonStroke gave much welcome character to the festival, despite the stage’s lackluster design.

Pro #2: Enhanced Production

EDC Orlando benefits from the annual time change, giving the stages an extra hour of darkness to showcase their lights and designs. This year marked the Orlando debut of the Cathedral Stage, which featured at EDC Vegas this past summer. Although scaled down, the stage came equipped with lasers, booming sound, and intricate lighting.

Despite the hype of the Cathedral, The Circuit Grounds production trumped the other two stages in terms of overall design. The sound filtered well from front to back, massive LED panels displayed artistic visuals, and lasers fired in all directions. Neon Garden benefitted by great sound design, but unfortunately lacked in lighting and design. The elevated production hints at even greater pieces of production in the festival’s future.

Pro #3: Cashless System

In light of the developing cashless trend of festivals, Insomniac tried its hand at the system for the first time with EDC Orlando. The experiment worked on all fronts, with everything from water bottles to food being sold digitally via each guest’s wristband. Attendees preloaded their wristbands with money, eliminating the need to carry physical cash or debit and credit cards. This system proliferated wait times and gave guests more time to enjoy the festival.

Pro #4: Improved Logistics

This year’s festival greatly benefitted from improved logistics. Organizers effectively spread the three stages apart to alleviate sound bleed, nearly removing the issue entirely. Rides also sat a bit away from the stages, which separated lines and the stage crowds. A clear, massive walkway linked the stages and improved traffic flow. All stations, everything from food to the medical tents, were also clearly marked and dispersed across the festival grounds.

Con #1: Neon Garden Design

While Kinetic Field and Circuit Grounds dazzled guests, Neon Garden relied on its sound to carry its performers. The visual design of the stage, an ode to Asian temples, had potential but the final product failed to entertain. Organizers obscured the stage’s largest LED panel with a blow-up Buddha doll just as the sun went down, squandering its most memorable feature. The stage also featured bamboo shade structures farther away from the stage, a great design choice amid the stage’s problems. Compared to the mini mega structure of 2013’s stage, this year’s Neon Garden downgraded considerably.

Con #2: Untapped Cathedral Potential

The Cathedral of Kinetic Field appeared immense on early pictures, but ultimately the final product missed the mark. The production oddly showcased its greatest features during performer interludes, shooting off fireworks and lasers across the sky. Once a DJ began to play, the stage got stuck in static lighting and imagery on its various LED panels. The stage did downsize from the Vegas version, but the decision to pull all of its shots during interludes came off as a poorly-planned decision.

Con #3: Less Thrill Rides

The amount of thrill rides took a hit this year, especially compared to the 2013 iteration’s fair host of attractions. Staples such as the ferris wheel still appeared, but the amount of rides per stage decreased considerably. Circuit Grounds shockingly contained no rides, making the surrounding area feel barren. While the thrill rides only represent an icing on the proverbial cake, the downgrade of rides from the previous year felt like a huge step back.

Cover photo credit: aLIVE Coverage for EDC

Photo Credits: aLIVE Coverage for EDC and Skyler Greene

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