Although my love for music runs deep, my experiences with music festivals is pretty limited. I went to EDC 2010, I've been to HARD Day of the Dead, and a handful of shows over the years, but for the most part I havne't really been able to afford to see the DJs and producers that actually soundtrack my every day life. I pledged this year that 2013 would be different. While YOLO is one hell of a overused term, it sums up where my head's at right now—when I look back I want to see flashes of bright lights and colored gels from all festivals one could hope for. Enter Beyond Wonderland...
Is it time to go yet?
On Friday night, despite my usual attendance to Control on Friday at Avalon, I forced myself to stay in and rest up because I knew the next day I would need all my energy. Turns out the joke was on me, like a little kid the night before Christmas Day, I tossed and turned all night in anticipation. When morning came I jumped out of bed screaming, “Today's the day!” My roommate who was going with me was already awake. Even though we aren't little children anymore, we might as well have been five. “Is it time to go yet?” was the common question of the morning.
After getting dolled up and blasting ETC!ETC!'s Massiv Mix to get us hyped, we were ready to go. Although traffic was miserable (as it always is when driving in Los Angeles,) my roommate and I continued to play some bangers and plot out our schedules for the night...
When we arrived at the San Manuel Ampitheater, I didn't know what to expect. I had no idea what it looked like or how fast security moved, but... it was all a breeze. In a matter of minutes, we were in and we were amazed.
Walking in you are greeted with all the necessities one might need.. sort of like packing for the journey ahead. Tents to get cocktails, water, food and even clothes. With a water in hand we dove deeper into the crowd and the world that was Beyond Wonderland. I should probably mention we arrived around 7 pm, as traffic wouldn't allow a speedier arrival. But it did however, get us there in just enough time to catch Bassjackers at the Queen's Domain. Even though finding the actual location of the stages was a little tough at first, as there were no signs or maps put up, it was kind of fun looking at the set times (my lock screen on my phone,) and guessing what stage was what based on who was playing. “Is this Bassjackers?” Nope. That most certainly is two ladies and have to be none other than Rebecca and Fiona. While these ladies were definitely hyping up the crowd, my roommate and I were on a mission to find the Queen's Domain.
We trekked on a little further and stepped up on an amazing view that was most certainly the Queen's Domain. The ferris wheel loomed bright and brilliant against the dark sky, giant white flowers adorned this gigantic tree, and oh yeah, people... a massive sea of shadows being cast on the ground from the bright lights of the stage. DJ sets had started around 4 pm so people were already going crazy. As we made our way to the front of the stage we finally got a real view of the people: we saw a bunny, a leprechaun, and just all around crazy costumes that our journey did in fact feel like something straight outta Wonderland. Finally finding our sweet spot in front, we were ready to let the music do its job. Bassjackers killed it. The lights reflected the bass perfectly and my roommate and I got down like there was no tomorrow. But the night was just getting started and we were ready for more.
Cue the insane firework show that lit up our path as we fought are way through the masses and our arrival to Madhatter's Castle to watch W&W and some Arty. I don't know about you, but if you have ever listened to Ary's “Together We Are”podcasts this set was equally as amazing if not more. Definitely above my expectations. At around 10 however, it was time to go see Crizzly. While Chess Village was a little bit of a hike it was well worth the journey. Despite some technical glitches at first, Crizzly still kept the audience hyped. Of course he dropped “Ass & Titties,” making the audience go absolute bananas, but also some other bangers like, “New Jack Swoop” and the “The Drop.” If I hadn't made it clear on previous posts, I'm a trap kinda girl, so Chess Village became one of my favorite stages of the night.
I dont think I saw one unhappy face my whole night... and let me tell you thats a lot of faces.
After Crizzly, we then headed back to Madhatter's Castle. The amount of energy at this point was crazy. People were just dancing everywhere, and the best part was it was contagious. I don't think I saw one unhappy face my whole night... and let me tell you that's a lot of faces. As we reached Madhatter's Castle, R3hab was bringing the heat. From the bright lights to the insane bass booming over the speakers, it was the best kind of “I Need R3hab” I could think of.
At this point it was 11:15 and after struggling a little bit to clear a pathway between stages, we decided it was in our best interests to start back over to the Queen's Domain for David Guetta. If the "Queen's Domain" doesn't tip you off to it's enormousness and the huge capacity of people in front of it...just know it's huge. Getting to the front, although not too difficult, was still a maze. But what else would you expect with David Guetta playing? For every person who was there you will understand when I say that this was one of my favorite parts of the night. When “Titanium” played every single mouth in that crowd started singing along. The energy radiating from that set was pure gold and if I could I would relive that moment again and again. My roommate and I were singing “Titanium” to each other days after the event.
All good things must come to end...
The most difficult part of the night, however, was choosing the set to end the night. There were so many great artists playing this slot we decided to do a little bit of everything. Staying for Steve Angello, we danced until we started to get cold and decided taking a walk to Madhatter's Castle would do just the trick. If you have never seen Afrojack play, you should definitely add that one to your show bucket list. His set was all about keeping up the energy and just making sure the fans were going crazy... success. As much as it pains me to say, we didn't stay for all of Afrojack's set; around 1:15 we decided it was time to head back to Chess Village and see Delta Heavy. I had never seen Delta Heavy before and didn't know what to expect, but I can tell you right now I would have to say ending the night with his set ringing in my ears was just what I needed. Besides the flames of fire rocketing from the stage keeping us warm, we avoided any cold chills by dancing until our legs couldn't. When 2 o'clock came around it was pretty shocking, but what's the saying... oh yeah, “all good things must come to end.”
I could end this article with how the parking lot situation was one of the worst experiences I've had (waiting in a lot for two hours isn't exactly a hobby of mine), but I wouldn't have changed my night for a second. Beyond Wonderland 2013 was something special and exceeded my wildest expectations. Thank you Insomniac Events... I look forward to next year!