All Photos Credit: Imagination Visions
Wonderland ['w?nd?r?land/] noun: A land or place full of wonderful things.
When entering the mysteriously sacred domain of Wonderland, worldly expectations disappear, and the mind soars beyond childhood thoughts of white rabbits, mad hatters and scandalously painted rose gardens, and into a realm above reality. Wonderland is a middle-ground of the mind, filled with lights, sounds and thousands of imaginations morphing into life, creating a haven for the free-spirited, open-minded souls fortunate enough to enter to understand. Insomniac's marriage of the Night Owl Experience and powerfully imaginative Wonderland concept created this haven, and although there were some technical difficulties, the night itself was rooted with love, powered by unity, and protected under the electric sky.
Live Nation's San Manuel Amphitheatre, located in San Bernardino, CA is the largest outdoor amphitheater in the US, holding max capacity of 65,000 attendees. This yearís Nocturnal Wonderland brought in approximately 43,000 fans all the way from New York, as far as New Zealand and as close to home as Los Angeles. It was apparent, that no matter where you come from, no matter what you believe in, or whether you are gay, straight, black, white, with fluffy boots or without- the universal language of music is what brought you here. A festival attendee who went by the name Automatic told us that he has been in the rave scene since 2007, and
it's a dope culture. The people that come here can be weird, they can be Mexican, black, white, whatever. They can be weird or thugs or whatever, but everyone is just the same here. We come for the positive vibes and the music. No matter where you're at in your life, you can always come back to this [culture] because it's safe to you. It's positive."
The EDM culture was diverse, but the feeling of the festival massive was definitely united.
The talent procured by Insomniac was top-notch, it's nearly impossible to give a 'set of the night' to anyone, however- the following artists kept their sets at 100:
Krewella killed their set. Live vocals were sharp and powerful- DJing was on point, and who doesnít enjoy looking at bombshells Jahan and Yasmine getting sweaty, rocking the decks?
Dash Berlin took home the Trance set of the night with his "California Love" powerhouse remix, and dash-up of ATB vs. Niki and The Dove's "DJ Ease My Apollo Road".
Bingo Players absolutely took over the mind of anyone lucky enough to experience their set, playing original tracks like "Rattle" mashing up Aviciiís "Wake Me Up", and trapping and tech-housing tracks in between.
Fatboy Slim brought back the O.G festival anthems and killed the new-school progressive house with his unique sounds and ability to vibe with the crowd from his DJ perch.
Bro Safari absolutely got down with the glitch-hop and festival trap and not a single booty was absent from the twerk-madness that commenced during their set.
Discovery Project set of the night without a doubt goes out to M.A.D.E. The emotion from the melodic/progressive trance to the hard hitting 138-Trance and final drop into Hardstyle was mind blowing, and had every person at the art car dancing, crying, loving, and everything in between.
The best and worst parts of the festival...
Negatives: The walk to and from each stage required climbing hills, and trekking through masses of people to get from one stage to the next. The Parking! If you left the event and were not part of 'Camp Nocturnal' you were one of thousands who created their own camp in the dirt lots. Two hours of traffic to get out of the parking lot was insanity.
Final complaint: Every stage seemed to have sound-system dysfunctions, between sound going out, loosing bass, or partial sound quality.
Positives: The feel of an actual 'festival' was accomplished. Rides, vendors, interactive characters, sexy go-go performers, and Alice's 'black-light house' added to the feel of the event. Secondly, each stage was its own world. The Labyrinth was adorned with giant tea-cups, an animatronic tree and pyrotechnics- shooting off plumes of fire and fireworks into the sky. The Sunken Garden stage was overseen by a giant owl, meditating over the crowd, entrancing you with its illuminated eyes, and perfectly in sync with every beat.
The Queen's Grounds gave way to live graffiti artists and a hypnotizing interactive screen with intense visuals. Alice's House created feelings of nostalgia in many veteran ravers, from the days when Nocturnal Wonderland graced the Figueroa block of downtown L.A with its tent-like structure, and bouncing tent-top graphics. The 'Wide Awake Art Car' housed the talents of upcoming DJ's who won the coveted Discovery Project slots. And of course, the Insomniac reggae truck is always a good time for drum & bass heads.
Final positive: The Insomniac experience altogether. Unlimited water is so huge, and we thank them for that. Providing food, snacks, beverages and a unique insomniac vendor world really allows attendees to feel safe and welcomed in their experiences.
See you back down the rabbit hole for Escape From Wonderland on October 26!