Night Nation Run Combined an EDM Festival With a 5K Marathon

Runners continue their physical regiment after Night Nation Run's 5k course by jumping up and down.
Runners continue their physical regiment after Night Nation Run's 5k course by jumping up and down.
Scott Feinblatt

Night Nation Run
OC Fairgrounds

There are not too many pieces of evidence to suggest that the world of sex, drugs, and rock & roll has any connection with physical fitness — other than the fact that Mick Jagger is alive and still quite energetic onstage at the age of 72.
The Night Nation Run music festival is changing that. Billed as the “world’s first running music festival,” NNR is a 5k run and an electronic dance music fest. On Saturday, the festival kicked off its 32-stop tour at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

The hybrid of fusing together a 5k run with an EDM festival is evidently a winning combo, as Director of Marketing Carly Moskowitz placed the number of attendees at 12,000. The ages of the participants ranged from toddlers to seniors, with a seeming predominance of runners aged 12-25. Those too young to run were pushed in their strollers, and while some of the parents in attendance bore the encumbrance of said strollers with a smile, most of the other smiling runners ran while holding glow sticks, cell phones, or cups of beer.

The people (and a cattle or two) line up at the starting point for Night Nation Run's 5k.
The people (and a cattle or two) line up at the starting point for Night Nation Run's 5k.
Scott Feinblatt

The course for the run was plotted throughout the western parking area and over the fairgrounds. Lighted cones indicated the path, which had several small stages erected along the way. After the initial starting gate take-off, which took place in increments of about 5 minutes (with an average of about 400 runners per wave), runners could stop to catch their breath or dance at the DJ stands along the route. While not everyone ran the entire distance, it seemed like everyone completed the course.

Upon the completion of the run, guests returned to lining up to buy fairground-priced food and drink or filed into the promenade to dance and wave their glowsticks. Featured DJs at Night Nation Run included Made Monster, Chris Schambacher, Tony Styles, Oso Grande, Kwame Hall, NVS, Dynamix, and Bella Fiasco. In addition to the music and the enthusiasm over the run, rave gear, body paint, and selfie-taking essentially completed the scene.

The banner for the event indicates that Stand Up To Cancer is the official charity of Night Nation Run. This co-branding likely succeeded in amping up interest in the run and promoting the name of the charity, but it seemed like more attendees were interested in visiting the blacklight lit selfie-station than visiting the Stand Up To Cancer station, where they could buy a customizable “I STAND UP FOR” bib for $1, which would go to the charity. Regardless, the charity will still benefit from ticket proceeds and sales of co-branded merchandise.

The final judgement of the event could be surmised by the predominance of smiles, raised hands, bouncing partiers, and overall positive vibes. By all indications, this two-year-old festival possesses a successful formula and will likely continue attracting many more people with its promises of glow sticks, bumping music, and stretches of terrain. 

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OC Fairgrounds

88 Fair Dr.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


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