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Tickets are now on sale for the 22nd edition of Nocturnal Wonderland. The festival will offer camping as it has in the past, but that’s about the only similarity between this year and last year.

Nocturnal 2017 will only be two days instead of three, there will be a new-ish venue, and the lineup looks very different from other iterations of the festival.

To those who are involved in the scene, these changes aren’t surprising. Both years that Nocturnal was three days it didn’t sell out, and the people living around the San Manuel Amphitheater (Nocturnal’s previous venue) have been more and more vocal about their disdain towards Insomniac events. Frankly, a move to somewhere smaller made sense.

Insomniac founder, Pasquale Rotella, made an official statement regarding these changes on the Nocturnal website. In it he mentions the shift from a west-coast massive to a “boutique camping festival”. He also puts emphasis on “discovering amazing new talent, music, and creating a unique vibe.”

Just like every other time a festival makes significant changes, there has been pushback from the community. Since EDC moved, Nocturnal gave SoCal ravers who couldn’t make it to Vegas a chance to have similar experience. At San Manuel, Nocturnal had huge stages with massive production, and a lineup to go along with it. Now Nocturnal will be more similar to Dirtybird Campout (especially with this year’s lineup).

It certainly is a big shift, and some people are probably losing their favorite festival. However, it’s changes like this that keep Insomniac events relevant.

There are so many signs the “as big as possible” trend in festival production is crumbling. EDC Vegas didn’t sell out this year, and huge festivals like Pemberton and Mysteryland are no longer happening in 2017. Contrary to that, festivals that provide more intimate experiences like Desert Hearts and CRSSD Festival are more popular than ever.

It would be nice if Insomniac could avoid these trends and remain one of the most successful promoters in the business, but that’s not the case. Upon thinking about it, having a smaller Insomniac event with camping is actually pretty cool.

Instead of spreading their efforts across almost many stages and a massive venue, they can focus on making one or two stages phenomenal. Events Insomniac introduced recently like Project Z and Pure NRG prove they know what they were doing in this regard. Giant crowds are cool too, but a small festival with camping allows attendees to really become part of a community and get to know the other people there.

Besides, one major complaint from festival-goers around the world is that these enormous events are too expensive. Simply put, not everyone can afford a $400 ticket and a hotel room for three nights. If you can manage it that’s awesome and it’s totally worth the money. But there are plenty of people for whom this is the first affordable Nocturnal in years.

It can be tragic when an event changes such as this. Unfortunately, longing for events passed won’t bring them back, and a time machine hasn’t been invented yet either. The only option is to have a good attitude about events coming in the future.

Nocturnal 2017 may not be what fans of Nocturnal 2016 were looking for, but think about it like this. Regardless of the event, the Insomniac vibe remains constant, so everything else is just details. This Nocturnal gives attendees a chance to enjoy that vibe in a whole new way.

Nocturnal Wonderland will take place at Glen Helen Regional Park on September 15 and 16. Tickets are available here.

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  • Cheech Anthony

    Harry!!! Its cheech much love and light!!