Getting Lost in Paradise: Nocturnal Wonderland Review
For two days, 50,000 audiophiles and over 60 different artists embark on an unforgettable journey. A wonderland like no other, in a location worth drooling over. A space where you can get lost in the natural beauties of mother earth; a place to be your true self. Creatures of the night running around like party animals. An Insomniac event’s goal is to create a judgement-free zone where we can love and respect each other. In this environment, we can embrace the positive, vibrant energies inside us, releasing it while dancing the night away. The divine elements of Glen Helen Regional Park, in combination with this utopian society, makes Nocturnal Wonderland remarkable.
Thousands travel from far lands to experience the magic that takes place here. The grounds become a home away from home. The people you go with or meet there become your tribe, camping together in a foreign place. As you enter, you see astonishing artwork and decorative lights that cover the campgrounds. People join together for morning yoga daily, making connections and memories to last a lifetime. The festival includes a waterpark to enjoy all weekend long, in addition to live artists and vendors like you’ve never seen before. Everyone dresses in their own style, or simply covered in glitter, each adding their own flavor to the festival.
You begin to feel like you’re a small actor in a large circus with various moving parts.
Once the sun goes down below the
mountains, the full moon rises, and it’s finally time to release all that positivity. Crowds go wild for each artist whether it be your first or hundredth time seeing them. I have been to over 20 music festivals of different genres all over the country, and nothing compares to Nocturnal Wonderland. Some of my favorites are Electric Forest, Camp Bisco, and EDC Las Vegas. Going on 25 years next fall, Nocturnal is historically the longest going “rave” in America, which speaks waves about the environment created here. However, this upcoming year, Nocturnal will find a new home. I am intrigued to see where it will be moving, but I can’t imagine what could ever compare to Glen Helen Regional Park’s angelic atmosphere.
After each festival I attend, I walk away with treasured memories. One of my dearest memories from this festival is a time I wandered off on my own. Without my “vibe tribe,” I was free to meet new people and bond over the joy music brings us. Going off on your own could be quite scary for some, especially in such a extravigate space; it's easy to get lost. One way people connect is through the clothing they wear, expressing themselves for others to see. Outfits can emerge from your wildest imagination, or a costume of your favorite character you wish to be. Others wear artists’ merchandise to let others know their musical taste, whether they are at the festival or not. On Day 2, I decided to head to the Bass stage on my own to see an artist I’ve been dying to see. I began scanning the crowd on the top of the hill and immediately found a group of people repping one of my favorite artists, Bassnectar. Meeting new people with the same taste in music is one of the best feelings. Knowing that you instantly have something in common to talk about makes it easier to strike up a conversation. Sometimes this creates the best friendships.
Every stage is designed to take your breath away with psychedelic lasers and unexplainable visuals. The empowering vibrations coming from the speakers that shake your body from head to toe. Parading around the landscape are people in electrifying costumes of caterpillars, butterflies, and dragonflies to add to the animalistic nature. The Wolve’s Den, Labyrinth, and Sunken Gardens are your three destination options. Each with their own distinct vibe, the artist that takes on the stage controls their audience like a puppet master. The headliners make sure to put on a set that you’ll never forget; these moments are the ones worth living for.
Despite the fact that the festival is only two days long, it can feel like a lifetime. From what I’ve experienced with the people I went with, you come out with a new appreciation of life. As you dance into the sunset, you observe astonishing views from up above. Festivals are like heaven on earth, an escape through the mind-blowing melodies of magnificent music. Each year people return to the festival grounds excited for a whole new experience. Consistently being welcomed
back to a community that feels like home.
By Denise Zorer