Still recovering from the haunted episode of Escape from Wonderland? You're not alone! Over 40,000 beautiful fans filled the San Manuel Amphitheater on Saturday, October 26th for Insomniac's third installment of the Halloween themed festival.
The festival grounds housed five elaborate stages, seven interactive art installations, three wicked mazes & haunts, and over a hundred diabolically dressed performers- as well as over 30 of EDM culture's most talented artists. The Insomniac crew could be seen throughout the grounds, dressed as wicked characters haunting fans as they passed.
MAGNETIC RECOMMENDS: Event Recap- EDC Las Vegas
Insomniac has come a long way in the last few years, perfecting their craft of creating amazing stages for fans and performers alike. The Slaughter House stage welcomed the talents of Umek, John Digweed, Hardwell, W&W, Cedric Gervais and more; furnished with a 40-foot Grim Reaper complete with LED eyes and the ability to rotate 30 degrees, fully interacting with the audience. While #1 DJ Hardwell attracted the most fans to the Slaughter House stage for his set, it was all too predictable. Slaughter House set of the night goes to W&W for their energy, their unpredictable sound, and their ability to go above and beyond their standard "genre."
Cannibal's Tea Party may have been the least decorative stage, but the giant Cheshire-colored Pinta outside of the well-known festival tent definitely made up for the lack of stage wow-ness. Richie Hawtin brought down the house with his huge energy and mind-stimulating sounds, while Guy Gerber brought the art of Techno back to life. All in all, the Cannibal's Tea Party was a stage for the sounds of the underground, the sounds that brought this culture to its peak- and it was near impossible not to start grooving with the synths when passing by.
Ghoul's Graveyard housed the talents of Manufactured Superstars, Emma Hewitt, Rebecca & Fiona, Mat Zo, Steve Angello, Issac and more- and was by far the loudest, most insane stage of the entire festival. The laser show hovered over an impressive sea of people, and could be seen from anywhere on the grounds. The LED screens came to life with every performer, telling a different story with every set. The sound was on point, and although the hills made it more difficult to move around and dance- the musical explosion produced at the Graveyard created the most memorable stage experience of the night. Emma Hewitt brought tears to the eyes of trance fans with her melodic vocals, while Manufactured Superstars invited the forgotten true house sounds to the speakers. Every artist that took to the stage brought something unique, but none compared to the mind-blowing, heart wrenching, unparalleled set of Isaac. The only hardstyle artist of festival- and he absolutely killed it. Isaac brought back the classics, such as "Bitches," and Cosmic Gates "Exploration of Space," while also reconstructing Martin Garrix's "Animals" and dropping the 2012 Q-Base anthem "Symbols" by Frontliner. Unbelievable energy!
The Chopping Block stage was grimy, dirty, filthy dubstep and drum & bass all night-- and we have no complaints there. Live graffiti artists created the luminously freaky stage while heavy hitters such as AC Slater, Brillz, Carnage, Delta Heavy, Noisa, Pendulum & Caspa took to the decks. Chills filled attendees as Delta Heavy dropped the bass and the kicked the drums during an impeccable fireworks show just behind the stage. But no energy was as overwhelming as when the long-lost, highly anticipated set of Pendulum took to the stage. The crowd pushed into the grounds, dancing, jumping and celebrating the DJ set of the on-again off-again drum & bass group- and with good reason. Pendulum once again, left us speechless.
Let's talk about the new talent-- The Wide Awake Art Car (Discovery Project Stage). The sound that protrudes from this art installation is huge! It is impossible to walk past without coming to see what all the noise is about. Discovery Project DJ's were spinning everything from Trap, to Dirty House, to Techno and everything in between. The versatility of the art car and the unpredictable tracks of emerging artists sets make this stage so desirable. Emmy J brought an insane set to life, offering ambient techno, harder hitting tracks and a little Dutch house vibe through the sound waves. Twofold gave an overwhelming mind tricking set filled with a variety of sounds and diabolical tracks- perfect for the haunted festival grounds.
Overall, Escape from Wonderland was truly a unique experience. Energy from the fans was abundant, and the spread of attendees was full-spectrum. The mazes and haunts created an exciting Halloween experience, and the interactive Insomniac staff added to the spooky flavor. Zombies could be seen doing backflips through the crowds & giant witches gracefully crept through the grounds; all of which were surrounded by the most important "headliners" of all-- the fans. Costumes were anywhere from barely there, to totally cheesy, to extremely elaborate. Some of the most popular costumes were zombies, school girls, Disney characters, and minions. The only two downfalls? Many fans were angered that their full face paint jobs were denied at the entrance. Note for next year- only half a face may be painted to gain entry! Also- the exit procedure was anything but a positive experience- more like herding cattle through very thin railed walkways. (Moo.)
Let the road to EDC begin! Until next year, Happy Halloween!