Who would have thought five years ago that super star DJ's like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Andy Moor, Sebastian Ingrosso, Laidback Luke, Calvin Harris, Avicii and Nero would be headlining separate major EDM festivals right here in California on New Years Eve? Since Insomniac Events and Go Ventures ended their partnership, the infamous Together As One NYE massive which was held in LA for 13 years has ceased to exist and major EDM events and festivals have been popping up in the surrounding cities for the past couple of years. This weekend we took a stab at attending OMFG! NYE at the San Diego Sports Arena on Sunday December 30th and then rushing back to OC for White Wonderland at the Anaheim Convention Center Monday December 31st in an attempt to compare which party was the best! Take a look at our notes and decide for yourself.
The Top Five EDM Parties on New Year's Eve
White Wonderland 2013 @ Anaheim Convention Center (Semi-NSFW)
Go Ventures Officially Cancels Together As One, Draws Heat From Falsely Advertised Performer
5. The Security
OMFG! NYE in San Diego ran very smoothly. This could be because we attended the first day and obviously crowds on actual New Years Eve would be much larger, but from what we heard, Monday went pretty well too. Staff Pro has been running security at major events like Coachella, Stagecoach, the Staples Center and EDC for years now and they made sure everyone got in timely, safely and without any hassles. Popular to contrary belief, the floor/pit section stayed open for the entire evening on both days and everyone was free to rage in the stands just as easily with ample dancing room.
White Wonderland was a complete shit show getting in as they sold out the night of the event. Everyone was entering through one tiny door into the lobby of the Convention Center before being pushed through the main doors and several ridiculous lines inside. We're not sure if it's because the Convention Center security isn't used to events of this size or nature, but we heard people waited almost two hours to get in. A pretty big disappointment for those who got there early to see acts like Dannic and Dash Berlin. Not to mention the actual pat downs and security checks were so lax that we even saw someone sneak in a poor puppy! Once inside they had to barricade the "Hallowed Cathedral" house music stage right before the midnight countdown. This meant hundreds of people couldn't get in and those inside the barricade couldn't come out for
water refills or food until after 12:30 a.m.
4. The Production
Compared to past LED events we have attended they really stepped up their game with the production level at OMFG! NYE and brought out all of their show stopping tricks. From the giant LED walls, lasers, confetti, fog and even LED projections on the ceiling we thought they really outdid themselves on the production value. It felt like one of their crazy parties at the Wavehouse as giant zebras and glow sticks were unleashed into the sea of EDM fans. It also helped that there was only one stage in the arena and the more compact area was easy to fill with stimulating visuals all around you.
White Wonderland made their event one day instead of two days like last year, but this year they made it bigger and better when it came to production. There were two separate stages so strategically placed that the sound never bleed through. There were aerialist dressed as toxic bunnies coming down into the crowd and futuristic angels with pasties as go-go dancers. Giant balloons adorned the ceilings and made it seem like we were at the world famous Sensation White in Belgium — the mecca of dance music festivals. The "Crystal Temple" stage had giant glowing LED pyramids to match the lasers and visual effects going on behind the trance legends. Glow sticks with Avicii logos and other super star DJ's names were fist pumping through the night as we all added to the production value with our white attire and costumes. This event was a ferris wheel and ride short of being as magical as EDC with its art installations and special effects.
3. The Crowd
Interestingly enough the crowds at OMFG! NYE and White Wonderland were very different and a good representation of the kind of party that each promoter envisions. LED which is short for their website mylifeeveryday.com has been throwing crazy parties in San Diego and now Orange County for a while now and their fans keep growing year after year as they host events everywhere from Voyeur, The Yost Theater to the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. The crowd is young as most of their events are 18 and over and you can expect lots of scantily clad girls and guys ready to go ape-shit. Everyone for the most part is PLUR and they just really want to have a good time. We sometimes wonder if they are even listening to the music or if they just go back and download the sets later. Regardless the crowd at OMFG! NYE was pretty bad ass and added to the atmosphere.
White Wonderland had a different feel in the crowd as everyone was dressed up for New Year's Eve (as much as you can be in white rave gear and costumes). There was an exceeding amount of trance family people and a large Asian crowd. We also noticed a lot of older people (as in, old enough to be your dad) and old school ravers in the house which added a lot of variety at this 21 and over event. Since the people at Identity Management and Sutra Nightclub hosted the VIP and bottle service area there were lots of club rats, industry people and more of the club "high class" types you wouldn't normally expect at this type of event. Yet it seemed like everyone was taking in the production, music and the anticipation of the New Year that the diversity didn't matter.
2. The Music
OMFG! NYE had a killer line-up with Calvin Harris, Nero and Laidback Luke who have been in the game long enough to be able to read a crowd and melt their faces off. Calvin Harris played all of his mainstream hits but everyone was loving it, Nero mixed it up playing everything from dub to techno including a Gessafelstein track and Laidback Luke pleased the crowd by playing lots of trap! Add the newer genius producers like Zedd, Hardwell and Nervo and you get a killer array of electro bangers spliced with old school classics like an amazing Alice Deejay remix Nervo played. Throw in some dubstep from Kill the Noise and Clockwork with some epic trap by Bauuer and you can only imagine how hard the sports arena was shuffling, dancing and throwing down their best dance moves. We literally came out of that venue dripping in sweat (and we are sure it wasn't all our own) which for those who love the more electro/dub scene this was a ragers heaven.
Just like that "If someday we all go to prison for downloading music I just hope they split us by the music genre" meme the major EDM events in Cali were split up as such. Pop NYE in Northern California hosted most of the trance acts (even though three were at White Wonderland), I Love Techno at Exchange LA was for the big tech house heads, OMFG! NYE accommodated the dubstep, trap and electro lovers which left all the rest of the mainstream EDM, big room house and DJs of that nature at White Wonderland. Hardwell spliced in Linkin Park with his dance bangers, Madeon had some pretty seamless transitions for his young age and Sebastian Ingrosso played songs we have never heard for the first half that kept the dance floor energized. But besides that for the most part it got a little tiring hearing "Cannonball", "Greyhound" and "Reload" mixed with Avicii and Daft Punk songs over and over again. If it wasn't for the amazing trance going on in the other room we might have been bored with the music. In the end it really comes down to your own musical preferences and what you have already heard a lot of this year and what you never get tired of.
1. The Countdown
Though we can't really say from personal experience how amazing the countdown was on actual NYE at OMFG! We can say that we were partying so hard and having such an good time on Sunday that we thought it was actually New Year's Eve then. From what we saw in videos and heard though it was pretty insane with a giant disco ball and some "Masta Blasta" rebirth drops from Dillon Francis at midnight. It sounded like so much bass loving fun that we wish we were there on Monday! The sound was on point and the fact that it went until 4am made the midnight countdown feel like only the beginning of a crazy night and a banging 2013.
On the flip side White Wonderland had a music intermission in between Bingo Player's set that really dropped the energy of the entire room. It kind of felt like they were just getting started on hyping up the crowd again and then realized they had to do a countdown which was pretty weak with no fire or lasers coming out of the owl like last year. Plus it was so crowded (remember the barricade issues) that it was hard to see what was even going on. It felt more like a last call for alcohol countdown than it did ringing in the new year at a massive EDM event. Yet, the confetti and extreme production of Above & Beyond's set afterward on the trance stage completely made up for the weakness and redeemed White Wonderland in the end.