Relentless Beats

Nocturnal Wonderland: 20 Years Strong

Nocturnal Wonderland, once known as Nocturnal Festival, is known as one of the most notorious long-running EDM festivals of all time. The festival had it’s rough start, most festivals of it’s kind got shut down before they even started. Nocturnal was known to have all of the best lights and sound creating an all around electric enviorment for the likes of many different kinds of dance music. It’s the potluck of festivals, going for the most diverse genres to put on an ever-changing experience.

The first festival was thrown in 1995, and the event producer Insomniac Events did not have enough revenue to host the event at the same venue year after year. They have put the festival together in many different places including Coachelle Valley Indio Polo grounds (now home to Coachella Music Festival) and even on native american reservations. One of the years that Nocturnal was thrown on a reservation due to not being able to get a licensed venue, after paying the members of the tribe they showed up only to find a fence around their venue and a bunch of natives with guns guarding the fence. Apparently the members of the tribe were not sharing the money with eachother and the natives wouldn’t allow them to throw their festival. Of course that didn’t go well with the ravers because they ended up driving right through the gates to have their Nocturnal festival anyway.

That was not the last battle that insomniac would face. In 2002, the festival was subsequentily not thrown due to the promotion company’s financial unstability. However the next year they picked up their momentum and got right back to throwing them every year non-stop. On Labor Day Weekend 2010, Insomniac came to many fans surprise by introducing Nocturnal Festival Texas at Apache Pass Fairgrounds in Rockdale, Texas, just outside of Austin. This was not only the first Nocturnal Festival that was not inside of California, but also the first multi-day Nocturnal Festival being held September 4th through the 5th. Insomniac also surprised fans by announcing Nocturnal Festival California would also be two days in 2011, as well as returning to the name Nocturnal Wonderland.

Dancing in the Dark: 20 Years of Nocturnal Wonderland

There would typically have been five stages at the event, but this number varies depending on attendance and venue size. Nocturnal Festival 2010 had six stages and an expanded venue size. Each stage normally is themed with unique props and lights. Examples of the stages are:

“The Labyrinth”: Usually been held in a giant warehouse building. The decor for this stage is always the most lavish, with 20-foot tall stacks of speakers, huge colorful designs, abstract shapes of all shapes and sizes hanging from the ceiling, lasers, hazers, and a phenomenal light show. In recent years, trapeze artists have performed above the crowd during shows. This stage typically plays host to trance music.

Alice’s House: The stage was once held on a big grass field right next to a man made lagoon. It is an outdoor stage and is a wonderful place to come when all the high energy from the inside rooms gets to be too much. This stage has very chill and groovy house music. However in 2010 the stage became much bigger and was accompanied by upbeat and energetic house.

The Upside Downroom: This stage used to play host to various house and techno genres, but it has grown to become a mixed-genre tent. It’s not as lavishly themed but lighting is in no short supply. In recent years, the size has also expanded.

The Sunken Garden: This stage is the most energy intensive stafe of the entire festival. Huge speakers, heavy bass, and MCs that freestyle over the music. While other stages focus on the slower, more traditional styles of electronic music such as house, trance, or breaks. This room is dedicated to DnB “Drum & Bass” and the stage is hosted by Bassrush.

The Queen’s Grounds: This room used to hold all of the attractions until 2009 when it became another stage of its own. The music is typically house oriented, more notably to the elctro house genres. In 2010 it was held in one of the bigger warehouse-like buildings which housed the main stage for 2008’s Nocturnal Festival.

The Big Top Tent: Another mix-genre type tent playing host to mostyl house. As the name suggests it started off as being one of the only stages held outside in a giant tent. The big top tent faded away in 2010 and has seen no incarnation.

Nocturnal Wonderland has always had the strongest possibly lineup that can appeal a little bit to everyone. This year’s lineup is proof that the guys over at Insomniac events don’t like to cut corners on the talent. If you’re going to Nocturnal Wonderland this weekend, be sure to keep an eye out for the Relentless Beats team, we will be there in full ninja force. It’s not too late to get tickets if you are still interested!

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