Growing up, I was obsessed with fantasy novels because I have always loved the idea of losing myself in another world. My favorite ones always began with a map because it was such a unique way to really create the image of this other world in my head. Because of this, one of my favorite parts of attending a music festival is looking at the map they hand out at the gate.

These are great because festival grounds are easy to get lost in, but also because it completes that idea that you have left regular life behind for a few days and are fully immersed in this fantasy land of lights, music, and love. The festival that does this best: Electronic Daisy Carnival. With 15 solid minutes of fireworks over three days, 300 live performers, and a staggering 5,862 panels of LED lights, EDC’s 20th anniversary was the visual spectacle of the year.

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Pasquale Rotella, CEO of Insomniac, has always had a vision for the world that he and a team of the best in the business create every year, and he is constantly looking for different ways to bring that vision to life.

On an early episode of his radio show, Night Owl Radio, Pasquale shared a story of a past EDC where he had this dream of daisies raining down on the festival in this flowing rain of petals and flowers. However, when it came time to drop them, the event ended up not so much being a cascade as it was a flower bomb ending with people ducking for cover.

Twenty years of experience organizing the festival later, and the machine that is Insomniac seems to have gotten the lock on creating the most beautiful, unique, and brightly designed world for their iconic event.

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Aside from the carnival rides, alley of light-up daisies, and mushroom tables at neon gardens worthy of Alice and Wonderland, the giant screens behind the DJs at each of the eight stages are a very important aspect of the festival.

I had the chance to meet Timmar Jones at the Bass Pod during Bro Safari’s set. Alongside business partners Mike Estacio and Danny Flores, Timmar is a behind-the-scenes worker involved in creating the visuals for EDC. The trio created the art for Bro Safari, and it was really cool to see them witness their work coming to life firsthand.

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How did you get involved with creating visuals for Bro Safari? Have you been creating stage visuals for a while and have you worked with any other artists?

I went to school for my BS in Animation in Santa Monica around 2010. Around this time, I met Mike Estacio (Motion Graphics) and Danny Flores (Animation), who both animate and mix.

While doing classes, Danny and I started work with Mike for the HDY Nation tour in 2014. A year after, we worked together again for Bro Safari’s Safe N Sound tour run. Mike VJed with Flosstradamus last year at EDC as well.

We always hung out and created together outside of work, so eventually we started our own company, SmashBang Studio.

What is the process like for the visuals? When going into something as massive as EDC, what different elements come into play when deciding on what visuals to include?

We design and lay out a visual package for the DJs performing. After the look is agreed upon, we build out the scenes in 3D and compositing programs, then we animate them to music. Mike, a VJ, mixes the visuals live at the events with his own setup.

Whatever the vision the performers have is what we make. Since we animate to music, we have to consider what style of animation and speed to use for the different styles each artist plays.

The biggest part is how the visual fits into the screen it is being played on. Each video has to fit the screen or screens presented on the stage or the art is compromised.

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How involved are the DJs in the process? Do they give you an idea or feedback?

We send multiple updates throughout the process to get the OK to continue. Every step in the process has checkpoints where changes can be made to fix issues in a healthy manner.

What do you feel is the most important aspect of the visuals at a festival? Is there any theme in your work? Do you have a signature image or design that you use?

The video can look great, but if it does not match the music, it will not translate well live. The video also has to capture the audience and take them for a ride. The theme of the vid depends on what the DJ wants. We aim to make high quality work that clearly represents what the DJ is communicating to the masses.

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What are some of the things that go through your mind when you are at a festival and watching your art on stage?

I have a couple thoughts and flashbacks about what it took to get here and get really happy. But then immediately after I think about how I could improve and make the work pop to the music more.

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If people are interested in learning how to create visuals for festivals such as EDC, do you have any tips for them?

First off, know what you can do. If you don’t know it, learn it however you can. If you can’t do it alone, make a team and get at it! Get a lot of references through different sources. It could be anything related to media. Following direction and checking small details yields great results, and most importantly, don’t punk out on the work!

EDC BEFORE AND AFTER

If this before and after shot of the speedway doesn’t blow your mind away with just what a spectacle Electric Daisy Carnival is, I am not sure what will! If you didn’t make it out to the 20th anniversary, then make sure to put in on the calendar for next year because this festival is something that everyone needs to experience at least once.

For more info:

Electric Daisy Carnival