Labor Day Weekend means a lot of things for different people. It means a day off of school or work, it means a 3-day weekend, and it means Nocturnal Wonderland is happening.
This past weekend, I was invited to experience all that Insomniac Events offers at their Nocturnal Wonderland at the San Manuel Amphitheatre in San Bernardino, CA. The event took place from Thursday September 1st when the campgrounds opened up for the attendees who would be staying the weekend outdoors with their fellow party-goers til early morning Monday the 5th. With this year being the 21st annual Nocturnal Wonderland, I had high expectations given the longevity of the event and I was far from disappointed.
Walking up through the campgrounds I saw people of all walks of life coming together. You had rows of cars, tents, and RV’s scattered around with screams of joy echoing off in the distance as people played beer pong and ate food before trekking it to the festival entrance. Groups of girls lay sun tanning while guys checked to make sure they had all their festival necessities. I noticed that there was an art car bumping beats for the campers not at the festival as well as the silent disco that would be quietly rocking the night after the festival.
The festival grounds were decorated to a forrest fairy’s delight. With a black light wonderland trail leading you into the event, some creatures so beautiful you weren’t sure if you should look or not led you to your next stepping stone. The festival had 5 themed stages, each of which featured a unique aesthetic while providing displays of sound and light in mind-shattering ways.
Insomniac created a VIP area that welcomed it’s special guests in with a full scale black light sitting area, life sized board games, a beautiful viewing deck and appearances from the festival’s mysterious creatures. Passed rows of food and drink tents were massive art installations such as Jejunum, the 40 ft steel tunnel that took you deeper down the rabbit hole immersing you further into the Nocturnal Wonderland experience. The food trucks smelled like heaven as they pushed out their wares to hungry ravers and there were even some vape companies there to provide delicous flavors to non-smokers at the event.
Each of the 5 stages had it’s own style of displaying sound and light to the audience of dancing animals. From the Labrynth stage which gave us the jungle vibes and bamboo hang outs to the awe-inspiring and collosal Wolves Den stage that shook the grounds. The Smirnoff House held some awesome secret sets including a big perfomance from Ephwurd and Friends who brought out Kayzo, Jayceeoh and Deorro for some fun.
All in all, I had an insane adventure at Nocturnal Wonderland this year. I was able to roam around Insomniac’s longest running festival for 3 days while listening to music from around the world, and meet new people along the way. Special shoutouts go to the Kogi Truck for best carne asade quesadilla, Gentlemens Club and Ephwurd for the best sets of the weekend, and a big thanks to the group of people from Vegas who adopted me into their family on Sunday. Last but not least a huge thanks to Insomniac for inviting us to experience all things Nocturnal!
Until Next Time.