Before many Americans reunited with their relatives for turkey and political debates, Trance Families from across the nation made a pit stop in San Bernardino for Trance Giving—aka, Dreamstate 2021.
Despite having gone to many Dreamstate events in NorCal, I have never attended Insomniac’s premiere all-trance festival at the NOS Event Center. To add more stains on my trance-pants, I only went to Saturday of the two-day gathering. Luckily, my awesome rave fam helped me catch up on all the love and music for a magical night as we frolicked from stage to stage.
The first stage I encountered was The Void, located next to NOS’s iconic pond, where reflections of lights emitted from the strings of twinkles. As the name suggests, this was home to DJs who played darker trance tunes. Behind that stage was The Vision, the only indoor stage which hosted household names like Solarstone and Aly & Fila. Continuing along the path of lights was where I found a collection of tribes dancing to the psychedelic grooves of Vini Vici and Alchimyst at a tent called The Sequence.
At the end of the road was The Dream, a stage akin to the Megastructure I’ve seen at EDC or Ultra. Here, giant LED Screens and an assortment of lasers served as the backdrop to some of the biggest DJs playing those songs we all love to sing along to, like a karaoke machine IRL.
The Dream was where I spent most of my time Saturday night; this was where my tribe set camp for home base. Like many others who went to DS, I am sure I am not alone in saying there was so much love at this tent. I can’t help but smile when I think about how my friends and I embraced each other during the highs of Ilan Bluestone or sang offkey to the hits of Gareth Emery and ALPHA 9. There were definitely a bunch of bangers and criers.
But my favorite singalong was during Craig Connelly’s set when he played Ciaran McAuley’s remix of “All I Want.” Originally written and performed by Irish indie rock band Kodaline, McAuley’s remix perfectly blends Clare Stagg’s vocals with uplifting melodies that got me all in my feelz.
Aside from the music, there were a lot of great things about Dreamstate. For one, I was pleased, also surprised, about how much space there was at the venue. I don’t think the event sold out; I saw on Reddit that only 20k people attended, but it was a bit of relief knowing that I had room to run to the exit if need be. Though it did make for a long walk to the bathroom; but, there were multiple neon structures in the middle of the festival to take a short break if need be.
The only bad experience I had was eating a whole pizza right before Andrew Beyer’s set. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, and it came from the back of a fire truck (quick shout out to Dang Brother Pizza because that pizza was bomb dot com!), but the heartburn was real! #RavingAfter30AmIRight?
Luckily, a stranger noticed my discomfort and coincidentally had some heartburn medicine. Honestly, this was one of the many acts of kindness I witnessed throughout the night. Maybe it’s the positive message within the music, or perhaps it’s all this PLUR that people are taking, but there is something special about the trance community.
At the end of the night, someone asked, “What was your favorite part about Dreamstate?” Without hesitating, I said, “It was reuniting with all my friends.” Since I moved to SoCal, I haven’t seen many of my rave fams and having them all in one festival at that.
Dreamstate allowed me to see my friends from all over the place, including some I never thought I would see again. I am thankful Insomniac provided a home where we can all be together again to celebrate our love for trance and lasers because festivals are more than just music; it’s about the friends you make along the way.
Yah, I know that was a cheesy line, but I had to say it. 10/10, can’t wait for next year!