Every generation has its embarrassing rite of passage. Today's well-off youth who go gaga for "EDM" have Electric Daisy Carnival, a massive, spectacular festival at which 345,000 people congregate to dance and (allegedly) drug their asses off to mediocre electronic dance music. To personalize the experience (and up the sappiness), the directors of the 3-D film Under the Electric Sky, Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth, focus on the motivations of a handful of individuals who attended last year's EDC in Las Vegas. Among the profiled are an outcast teen girl dying to meet her heroes Above & Beyond, an old-school raver couple who get married at EDC, a troupe of twentysomething bros mourning a dead friend, and a wheelchair-bound man. We get an idea of the labor-intensive effort needed to throw a marathon party like EDC and hear sound bites from the artists and CEO Pasquale Rotella, who declares, "The fans are the headliners." More accurately, the extravagant sets and pyrotechnics are the stars; the best cuts on the soundtrack are '90s hits by Josh Wink and Joey Beltram, not anything by EDC's marquee names.
With its ceaseless platitudes about EDC being a utopian escape from dreary everyday life, Electric Sky comes off as a propaganda film to recruit youthful fun-seekers into its cult. Leni Riefenstahl would be impressed. The crowd at my screening loved it; several people chanted "EDC!" afterward. But any music-fest doc that doesn't address the deplorable Porta-Potty situation isn't doing its job.