Although an avid raver, I had yet to visit the whimsical forest escape that is Nocturnal Wonderland. This could be extremely surprising to many, as it’s America’s longest running dance music festival, and everyone who appreciates EDM has probably experienced it once before.
As many people don’t get to experience camping at a festival, I was one of those folk, until now. The time spent in the campgrounds was an event in itself. In my opinion, it resulted to be the most important part of the weekend to document. My boyfriend and I camped in an RV, and got to live the full Nocturnal lifestyle.
As if being around 30 other RVs wasn’t enough, we were perfectly placed in front of the “kings and queens” of all campers. What do I mean? Camp OG. Behind us was an area designated for campers known as the ‘OGs’ of Insomniac events. Although the campers were a bit older in age, this was the area you wanted to be in. They set up a small stage smack dab in the middle of their area, and had DJs playing techno from dusk till dawn. A fellow RV friend mentioned they were going to break their record of playing until 7 a.m., and well, they broke it. The campground was a constant party until 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Boy, did the RVs feel the music.
If you didn’t want to spend your time at this stage, you could have spent it eating at the campground food trucks, taking a ride down the waterpark slides, or even visiting the tie dye station. Can you tell I enjoyed camping?
Now onto the festival. Although Nocturnal Wonderland was held at same venue as HARD Summer, the vibes were totally different. A good way to describe it would be like a ‘mini Electric Daisy Carnival.’ The neon lights and bright colors really connected the two. Attendees were being greeted by beautiful creatures, such as Gneon Gnomes, Furlesque Kitties, Nocturnal Nymphs, and Parrots of the Caribbean. Not only did the beautiful San Bernardino mountains complete the nature theme, but the glow-in-the-dark paint tunnel murals was truly the highlight of the weekend. As for the performers, there were over 60 international artists, ranging from Mija and Excision, to K?d and Valentino Khan. They all killed it.
Going into the first night, I was really looking forward to seeing K?d perform. He’s a newer DJ, but I have so much respect for his growth and how fast he’s made it to the top. His sound is a mixture of Daft Punk and Porter Robinson (and he’s definitely on his way to be a mini Mr. Robinson). I appreciate the authenticity of his music and how he makes an effort to take it back to the original techno roots.
Another must-see performer was Ookay. While catching the crowd’s eye in a jet white jumpsuit, he was the only artist of the night that performed live. Hearing that, I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I learned that when DJs play live, they construct the songs live with instruments, as opposed to just letting the audio play out through the CDJs. My respect-o-meter really shot up for that one. He dominated his performance!
Towards the end of Saturday night, Insomniac CEO and founder Pasquale Rotella was seen roaming the event, and was definitely proud of his accomplishments. His goal in making this a more intimate event was achieved. The connections and friendships that were made at Nocturnal Wonderland will never be forgotten, and I can’t wait to see everyone again in the jungle again next year.