written by Mara Mannella
The 21st year of Nocturnal Wonderland brought good vibes, great music and an opportunity to wear that hoodie you had packed away for months. The hills of the San Manuel Amphitheater welcomed thousands of ravers each day and featured five breathtaking stages of quality music.
Nocturnal Wonderland truly lives up to its name. The production allows your imagination to run wild; no detail is missed, ensuring your experience is one Alice herself would approve of. With the introduction of captivating black light reactive installations, nightfall brought new life to the festival grounds. Other artwork such as the 46-foot long steel portal “Jejunum” and paint-able black light tunnels (for your inner Picasso to shine) offered a creative break between sets—and priceless photo ops.
Over 100 artists brought their arsenal of beats to Nocturnal Wonderland, and fans were blasted with everything from filthy dubstep to groovy house…even UK hardcore made an appearance. On the hardstyle front, Atmozfears made his first trip to the US at the packed Temple Noctem stage, where SAYMYNAME also slayed the crowd for a solid 90 minutes. Gammer shut down this stage like only he could, treating the no holds barred crowd to old favorites and new tracks including the Gammer/Kayzo remix of Porter Robinson’s “Language”, which Kayzo himself helped introduce on stage.
Hard-hitting duo Ephwurd took full advantage of the mind-blowing Wolves’ Den stage for their incredible early evening set, full of insane visuals and bass galore. Right after was the always captivating Alison Wonderland, who’s energy had hoopers hooping furiously and shufflers kicking up dust across the main stage field. Black Tiger Sex Machine put on a live show at the all-new Labyrinth stage that sucked in anyone who passed. At the Sunken Garden, Hot Since 82 closed out his very own curated stage in rare form, mesmerizing the packed tent of Knee Deep In Sound faithfuls who danced under the massive disco ball.
As if the regular lineup wasn’t enough, Corona’s Electric Beach stage had a steady flow of special guests spinning poolside and as always, the Smirnoff House treated its guests to insane B2B’s under the red cup string lights. Those who made the weekend a sleepover could dance until dawn to the sounds of the silent disco back at the campsite.
It seems there’s no stopping Nocturnal Wonderland’s magical power, with every year getting better with more to see and do. Greeted by forest fairies and bid farewell by a giant caterpillar, the countdown begins once again to next Labor Day weekend when we can do it all over again.