Nocturnal Wonderland Recap: Insomniac’s festival truly lives up to its Wonderland name

Published on September 17, 2018

With North America’s longest-running dance music festival returning for its 23rd edition, Nocturnal Wonderland brought a weekend of sights and sounds that transported you to a delightful wonderland. Fortunately for us, Insomniac was gracious to invite us back to cover their festival on our show at the Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino California.

Dustin Downing & Ivan Meneses for Insomniac

On arrival we were instantly taken back from not only the gorgeous mountain view surrounding us, but the the intimate production put together by Insomniac. This year we were all excited to see Insomniac going back to its roots and created an environment that genuinely produced an old school rave vibe.

Keiki-Lani Knudsen & Scott Hutchinson for Insomniac

The 2 day festival had brought an astonishing 65,000 Headliners to the show and from the moment the gates open, they were ready to celebrate. The festival featured four immersive stages, costumed creatures of the night, glowing art installations, a full compliment of camping activities, and never-before-seen performances from over 60 international acts including AC Slater, Audien, Cristoph, Habstrakt, Illenium, NGHTMRE & SLANDER and many more.

Ivan Meneses & Tony Nungaray for Insomniac

During our time at the festival were able to sit down with ARMNHMR, Bijou, Riot Ten, Slumberjack, and Slushii on our show to talk about their performance, upcoming projects and how excited they were to work with Insomniac. While our interviews were underway, headliners were able to explore all four state-of-the-art, handcrafted stages that brought various styles of dance music genres to the show.

Tony Nungaray & Ivan Meneses for Insomniac

The massive Wolves’ Den, towered at 60-feet and stood 141-feet wide. And like many Insomniac festival’s they didn’t hold back, as the main stage featured 81 pieces of pyro and eight lasers, and ground shaking sound. This stage hosted amazing acts like Boombox Cartel, Deorro, Illenium, Jai Wolf, Slushii, and more.

Ivan Meneses for Insomniac

The next impressive stage, the Labyrinth Stage, stood at 48-feet tall and 84-feet wide. It included eight flame heads, six lasers, and showered Headliners with 36 pounds of confetti. Friday’s lineup was hosted by Insomniac’s own heavy-hitting bass music brand, Bassrush, while Saturday featured a lineup curated completely by NGHTMRE & SLANDER’s Gud Vibrations crew. Acts like Flux Pavilion, Kill The Noise, Liquid Stranger, Said The Sky, and of course NGHTMRE & SLANDER, performed can’t-miss sets across the weekend.

Tony Nungaray for Insomniac

For the third stage, which had to be our favorite, was the Sunken Garden Stage. This stage nestled atop the highest vantage point of Glen Helen Regional Park and gave you some breath taking views throughout the evening. Aside from the sounds, artist performances and crowd energy, we absolutely love this stage because of the set design. Not only did it include hammocks, succulent gardens, and interactive art pieces but a high rising light house behind the dj that actually had a rotating spotlight. From start to finish this area had an energy that would fuel your soul with acts from Eli & Fur, Lee Foss, MK and Nora En Pure.

Ivan- Meneses & Scott Hutchinson for Insomniac

Another area we found ourselves moving and grooving to was at Insomniac’s iconic Boombox Art Car. This well crafted art car hosted amazing sets from Simfonik, Oscure, Fester, and more.

Ivan Meneses for Insomniac

Included with the festival experience, Nocturnal Wonderland brought back three nights of RV, car, and tent camping under the starry skies. Kicking off with the sounds of Kayoh, Riot Ten, and more at the Moonlight Grove pre-party on Thursday, the festival also featured nightly Silent Discos with artists like BIJOU and Morelia, this year’s Nocturnal Wonderland Discovery Project winner. Other campground activities included relaxing morning yoga, romps in the waterpark, and arts and crafts like kandi-making and a step-by-step lesson on how to make the perfect dream catcher.

Graham John Bell & Ivan Meneses for Insomniac

After experiencing Nocturnal Wonderland for the first time, we quickly realized why its been running for an impressive 23 years. With its intimate outdoor venue combined with its impressive decor, elaborate and colorful performers, and vast range of styles from top notch artist, this festival has indeed won the hearts of many festival goers. If you have yet to experience an Insomniac show, what are you waiting for?

Ivan Meneses & Scott Hutchinson for Insomniac

Be sure to check out Insomniac: Nocturnal Wonderland 2018 Full Gallery. Also listen to our show coverage and artist interview from the festival. Day 1 & Day 2

Make sure to follow Insomniac Event’s On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and check out their website for all the latest news, info and upcoming shows. Also stay connected with Escape, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their website. We also have a full photo gallery of the event, click here to check it out.

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