September 26, 2019 | 1 COMMENTS

Year after year I hear incredible stories that come out of Nocturnal Wonderland weekend. I’ve always yearned to go but other life events have always made it impossible to attend. After hearing the announcement that this would be the last time the festival occupied the famous Glen Helen Regional Park, I placed Nocturnal at the top of my priorities list. 

Since this was my first time attending Nocturnal Wonderland I knew camping was my only option to completely immerse myself in the experience. Wow let me tell ya, it lived up to the hype. The party started as soon as the full moon made its appearance Friday night, and the campground energy seemed to elevate as the moon rose in the night sky. The Pre-Party at the Parliament Art Car set the tone and incredible vibes that spread through the crowd the whole weekend. Throughout Dr. Fresch and SAYMYNAME I had to keep reminding myself there was still a whole 2-day festival I had to pace myself for. 

Camping at Nocturnal Wonderland

Photo Courtesy of Insomniac Events/Nocturnal Wonderland

Day 1 at the campground was HOT. But the 102 degree heat was no match for the chill vibes… although the waterpark did help. The campground offered various activities all weekend longyoga, chakra rebalancing, a tie-dye party, and a build your own terrarium class were just a few of the exciting events on the list. Unfortunately, I only had enough energy to make it for the Rise & Energize yoga session Saturday morning before the heat had the campers flocking to the waterpark. 

Yoga at Nocturnal Wonderland

Photo Courtesy of Insomniac Events/Nocturnal Wonderland

As soon as the sun started to set the air drastically cooled off, almost like Glen Helen was getting the venue ready for the mosh pits and shuffle circles that would soon ensue. I was immediately blown away by the diversity of each stage after walking into the festival. Wolf Den’s size, visuals, and sound made it worthy of the main stage title. Sunken Garden was the perfect spot to vibe out, the lighthouse look acting as a beacon for all fans of house beats. Labyrinth was the best reward for hiking up the hill it rested on. My favorite part of this stage, along with the headbanging crowd and filthy drops, was the view it offered of the rest of the fest, the multicolored lights from the campground, and the scenic hills. 


Full Moon at Nocturnal Wonderland

Photo Courtesy of Insomniac Events/Nocturnal Wonderland

I spent the majority of the first day running around the festival trying to see most of the artists on my list. I started with Champagne Drip B2B ZEKE BEATS. Even at the first set of the night I noticed just how incredible the atmosphere is at Nocturnal. Everyone seemed to have their hearts set on making the most of everyone’s last time experiencing America’s longest-running rave at this beloved venue. 

One of my favorite things about Nocturnal was how well every stage flowed together with the art displays, but still stood completely unique from one another. It was so easy walking from stage to stage as they all sat in a line, but there wasn’t sound bleeding over from one set to the other. It made it easy to get sucked into dancing at an unknown set on your way to another destination. 

I closed out night one with a mix of getting caught in my feels and raging to Zeds Dead (always a must see if they’re on the setlist). Greatest part of camping at Nocturnal Wonderland, the party doesn’t have to stop when the festival ends. The silent discos started at midnight with Sage Armstrong killing it at Sleepless Safari and Sumthin Sumthin groovin’ at Raccoon Lagoon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hang as long as the festivities lasted, but I did see some hardcore ravers making their way back to crash at their tents when I got up in the morning to hit the showers. 


Zeds Dead at Nocturna Wonderland
Photo Courtesy of Insomniac Events/Nocturnal Wonderland


Day 2 of Nocturnal I was set on getting caught in the experience of the music and floated around wherever it took me. 

While in line for some lobster mac n cheese (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) my group stood in awe of the incredible sunset that started creating its own crazy visuals across the sky. We rushed to find a spot on the hill in between Sunken Garden and Labyrinth to enjoy the full show. The cotton candy clouds casted a pink hue across the entire crowd. Even though Subtronics played the night before, that final Glen Helen sunset really be hittin different. 

Sunset at Nocturnal Wonderland

My first and final experience of Nocturnal Wonderland at Glen Helen exceeded my expectations. My favorite sets of the weekend were G Jones, Peekaboo, Steve Darko, Zeds Dead, and CamelPhat B2B Solardo. 

Beyond the music and venue, what really made this festival special were the people in attendance. I found myself taking a step back multiple times throughout the weekend to really take in the kindness and contagious positive vibes everyone emanated. If you shared love and respect you got it back tenfold. Not to mention, most people were quite literally glowing in their neon adorned outfits under the UV lights. 

I’ve heard from quite a few people that Nocturnal Wonderland occupies the spot for their favorite music festival. While everyone has their own reasons for this popular opinion (the venue being one I’ve heard multiple times), I’m happy I was able to greet this festival for the first time with everyone as we also said goodbye to Glen Helen. Nocturnal is an ever-evolving festival, and I can’t wait to see what new and returning features will come with next year’s event. 


Araceli said:

I camped this year for the first time also and I’m so happy I got to experience Nocturnal before the venue changes. I absolutely loved the camping vibes, it makes me anxious to attend more camping festivals! Loved reading this awesome article, made me feel like I re-lived that magical weekend <3

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