The 17th installment of Insomniac's Nocturnal Wonderland happens this weekend at its new location at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino. Nocturnal puts an emphasis on the "dark and mysterious" side of Insomniac's Alice & Wonderland themed raves, which also include Beyond Wonderland, Escape from Wonderland and White Wonderland. 50,000 dressed up dance music enthusiasts will descend on the Inland Empire to get down to some of EDM's biggest names, including Fatboy Slim, Sander Van Doorn, Krewella, Porter Robinson and Andy C.
Boasting four newly designed stages and hundreds of fire twirlers, aerialists and stilt walkers, plus, for the first time this year, camping, this year's Nocturnal Wonderland experience will most likely take this rave franchise to the next level. Here are the five things we're most looking forward to:
5. Free Parking
To avoid traffic congestion, Insomniac is offering free parking at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway. From here, shuttles will depart to the party. We doubt the shuttles will be as much of a nightmare as the Electric Daisy Carnival fiasco this year in Las Vegas since Nocturnal has half as many attendees, but regardless, free parking is PLUR as hell, especially since OC/LA dwellers are used to paying for parking everywhere we go. VIP parking ($40) and regular parking ($20) is also available for those who want to park on site.
One thing we enjoy about Insomniac events is the emphasis on the "headliners" being all the attendees, and thus the importance of costumes and participation. The wonderland theme gives attendees the opportunity to dress up as a favorite character from the book/film, so expect lots of Mad Hatters, Queen of Hearts, Alices, Cheshire Cats and more! One of our favorite things to do at the fest is to scope out all of the incredibly intricate (or barely there) costumes. Sure you will see a bunch of "ptots" (ahem, prostitute toddlers) wearing practically nothing, but you will also meet some imaginative characters as well.
3. Exploring the Grounds
The festival line-up is stacked from open to close, but at some point we suggest taking a break from the untz untz of the main stages to explore the mad tea parties, sunken gardens and red queen areas. Offering 3D mazes, art installations and carnival rides, you never know what sort of fire twirlers or stilt walkers you may encounter. We're most looking forward to the Wide Awake Art Cart (a favorite from Burning Man) which will have the Discovery Project DJ winners spinning. That means some of today's best emerging talent on a sick Funktion One equipped pirate ship!
2. Getting Lost in the Music
Don't get us wrong, we love the energy from big name artists like Fedde Le Grand and Thomas Gold. But after a year full of festivals from Miami to Las Vegas, it's refreshing to see non mainstream talent at major EDM festivals too. Damian Lazarus is bringing the sound of the underground with his Get Lost parties all over the world, which came to L.A. at the Egyptian Theater last month. Enjoy some deep house grooves with artist like The Martinez Brothers (a Kaskade favorite), Green Velvet, Lee Burridge and the Crosstown Records label head himself, Lazarus, who all play at Alice's House.
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We understand wanting certain amenities like running water, a bed, a roof over your head and place for to put your costumes and glowsticks, but there's something about a camping community --especially at a music festival-- which makes the experience really unique. This extension of the event which gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals with whom to connect and explore new music. Offering swimming, water slides, Frisbee golf, fishing and a Silent Disco, those who are really in it to win it can extend their Nocturnal Wonderland experiences from Friday the 20th to Sunday the 22nd.
Rage on ravers! We'll see you under the stars!