I've always heard good things about Nocturnal Wonderland but I really had no idea what to expect for my first time. Having never attended an Insomniac Events festival, I felt like a real-life version of Alice stepping into wonderland.
Upon arriving to the Glen Helen Amphitheater, I was immediately transported into festival mode simply by walking into the security lines. Everybody was wearing bright, vibrant colors which I normally expect a rave, but it was like everybody was on the same page with matching the event's colored advertisements. The first positive thing I have to say about Nocturnal is that I felt like security worked hard to move the line quickly and efficiently. I've attended many events where the organization was lacking in this area and it can set the mood off for the entire night. After getting through security quickly, we were funneled through a giant black light tunnel with colorful rings.
Walking through the tunnel felt like walking into another world. Feeling the pulse of the music while simultaneously overlooking most of the festival while the sun had just barely set felt magical. All the trees were twinkling and it seriously looked like exactly like one of the awesome still shots from Nocturnal's Instagram page - no filter necessary. I was immediately in love with the scenery and the vibes.
I heard that Nocturnal downsized a lot this year and that many people were disappointed about that. Although this was my first time attending Nocturnal, I can definitely say this event felt intimate and I loved that aspect. While the venue was substantially crowded, it wasn't packed to the point where it felt like nobody was able to move (or breathe). I enjoyed being able to easily navigate from stage to stage, especially between sets and I was able to get up to the front of the main stage more than a few times (a rarity in my past experiences).
All of the stages were really cool looking and I especially enjoyed the Labyrinth and the Sunken Garden’s look and vibe. Another new thing for me was the Boombox Art Car Installation, located to the right of the main stage. I've never seen one in real life and it had a great vibe going on every time I went over there. It was also a great place to shuffle around.
One of the only negative things for me was not being prepared for it to get to so cold so quickly. Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to my very cute iHR rave outfits much earlier than I expected. Fortunately, I had a backup jacket and furry hood but wished I brought something warmer.
The plus side of being cold is that it definitely kept me dancing! As far as the music went, I wrote an article before Nocturnal Wonderland listing out the 5 sets I wanted to see. (you can check it out here). I have to say, I was so excited that each of these artists did not disappoint! My favorite set and memory of the weekend were being on the rail for Valentino Khan.
I was on Cloud 9 after waiting for two years to see Valentino Khan again. As if riding the rail wasn’t spectacular enough, shortly afterwards I turned around and saw the one and only Pasquale Rotella standing behind me. He was so incredibly nice and I was so honored to meet the man who creates such magic for all of us headliners.
All in all, the weekend was filled with magical vibes, good food and time well-spent with new and old friends. I'm already having withdrawals and can't wait to go back next year. Until then, see you all at Escape!