Insomniac’s Escape: Psycho Circus Recap

Published on November 3, 2018

What started out as our first festival coverage for Insomniac has quickly become an annual “must attend” festival, not just for us but for many in attendance. Insomniac’s Escape Psycho Circus is marked as North America’s biggest Halloween party and we were excited to find out if they lived up to that title once again. The music festival returned for its 8th year at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino California for 2 nights full of dance music, freak shows, chilling costumed performers, sinister circus attractions, and over 70 unforgettable live performances from some of the top artist in the industry. Upon walking into the fairgrounds, guests were transported to a haunting festival with contortionists, fortunetellers, magicians and many other spooky experiences.

Dustin Downing

In addition to all the side attractions and live performances, headliners were able to experience the famed 32,000 square-foot Wonderland Asylum. This fan favorite house of horror featured over 150 performers, 25 individual sound systems, and 30 distinct rooms depicting scenes from eight years of Escape trailer storylines. Those that were brave to enter the Asylum were fitted with straitjackets and masks before wandering through the dark corridors, padded cells, bloody rooms, and a twisted area that was sure to question your own sanity.

Ivan Meneses

Throughout the weekend headliners were able to experience any of the four massive stages that brought some of the biggest artist like: Martin Garrix, Kaskade, Seven Lions, Diplo, Tchami & Malaa, Claude Von Stroke and Green Velvet just to name a few. Every year Insomniac continues to expand their stage productions and this year’s main stage, the Slaughterhouse, was no different. Engulfed in a clown’s mouth, the stage provided over 731 video tiles, 450 lights, and 16 lasers. Combine this with sets from Martin Garrix, Kaskade and Seven Lions, no wonder this stage was packed out the whole weekend.

Marc Van Der Aa

But the main stage was not the only one that was jam packed, on the opposite side of the venue was the Ghouls’ Graveyard. This area was overflowing with Headliners that reached from the stage to the pond in the center of the venue. And with a line-up that consisted of Joyryde, GTA, Excision, KSHMR, Tchami x Malaa and Eric Prydz you can understand why. This had to be one of our favorite stages with a strong line-up ranging from future bass, dubstep, techno and progressive house.

Dustin Downing

The Chopping Block stages was yet another impressive stage that was not to be missed. Located in the center of the entire venue, the Chopping Block came with 16 lasers, 6 massive smog machines and an eye catching visual system infused into the stage design that hosted a fan favorite party from Basscon and Audiotistic. Friday featured a sick line-up from Brennan Heart, Digital Punk, Angerfist, and Junkie Kids…which many witnessed a wedding proposal on stage. On Saturday, fans experienced insane acts from SayMyName, A-Trak b2b Yehme2, and Zeds Dead.


Another jam pack stage that we absolutely loved , was the Cannibals’ Tea Party hosted by Factory 93. What made this stage so memorable was that they hosted the stage outdoor with their signature underground sounds courtesy of Jamie Jones, Claude VonStroke, and Green Velvet. Those that were smart to purchase VIP passes were greeted with another dedicated VIP area near the stage that provided VIP’s their own cocktail booths, bathrooms and tables, all in perfect view of the DJ booth.


As mentioned before, Insomniac continues to evolve the experience by expanding areas like the VIP sections. This year’s VIP headliners that walked into the VIP area at the mainstage were greeted with a Jumanji-inspired entrance with a LED floor panel. Along with a coffee station, Bewitched beauty bar, and complimentary tick-or-treat kanji bar, VIPs were treated to a panoramic view of the entire Slaughterhouse area.


So looking back, did Escape hold up to its title of “North America’s biggest Halloween party”? Well with memorable acts such as Kaskade, Excision, Martin Garrix, Tchami x Malaa, KSHMR and Green Velvet and a sold-out crowd of 125,000 costumed headliners, its safe to say they did. Escape has quickly become one of our favorite festival that easily competes with Insomniac’s famed festival, EDC Las Vegas. With full stage productions, A-list lineup, side-attractions, and an energetic crowd Escape is a festival we encourage anyone to experience. We can’t wait to see how Insomniac will top this year.

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