Insomniac EventsMusic Festivals

Beyond Wonderland 2016: Bigger & Better Than Ever

I have to say that Insomniac seriously stepped their game up this year for the 6th annual edition of Beyond Wonderland 2016 in SoCal. Over the course of 2 days nearly 65,000 festival goers alike traveled down the rabbit hole and had the opportunity to experience a one of a kind wonderland that encompassed only the best of beats, the friendliest of vibes, and the craziest of experiences.

I arrived at the festival’s Campgrounds on Friday morning and was greeted by a vibrant environment drowning in color and the most vivacious of feels. The Premiere camping entry was extremely breezy and I was in within a matter of minutes. I was extremely hesitant about taking on the premier camping experience because I am always skeptical about add-ons for festivals but this seriously turned out to be the best idea ever.

After finding the designated premier campgrounds, I was escorted to my exclusive Beyond Wonderland tent which was already setup for me by the on-site concierge. It included an air mattress, a sleeping bag, a pillow, and just about everything I needed to live at a festival for 3 days. On top of that, there was a special festival entrance which made coming in and out of the campgrounds fairly easy. Lets just say you guys can sign me up for next year’s edition of Beyond Wonderland camping.

You know you are in for a good one when you are presented with a vortex like portal entry that leads you to the Outer Realm stage. Dreamstate on Friday and Bassrush on Saturday, it’s safe to say this was my favorite stage at Beyond Wonderland for many reasons.

Imagine Ferry Corsten as Gouryella, Andrew Rayel, and Bryan Kearney plus a handful of other Trance heavyweights sharing the same Dreamstate stage to serenade a crowd full of Trance hungry ravers. From Psy-Trance to Uplifting and even the classical Goa sounds, it was heaven on earth for all the audiophiles who appreciate pulsing beats at 138+BPM.

Andrew Rayel caught everyone off guard as he strayed from his usual vocal heavy sets and focused more on bringing intense energy. BOOM comes the Psy-Trance from the speakers and as the streams of flames fly out from every angle behind the stage the faces of blissful confusion sparks up on everyone’s faces alike. Ferry Corsten who took over the decks as Gouryella brought his A game with crazy visuals sending you deep within yourself for an existential trip. “Who engineered us?” and “Nature Is Beauty / Beauty Is Nature” visuals flocked across the LED screens crowding your peripherals entirely.

As I made my way over to Queen’s Domain stage for Dada Life I stumbled upon a mystical fox like creature who eerily greeted me and helped solidify the Wonderland experience. We exchanged our goodbyes and from one second to the next the massive crowd that faced the main stage consumed me.

My life was beating at 128 Beats Per Minute and the Electro-House madness was real. I really have to give it up to Dada Life for always staying true to their roots. They don’t play 100 different genres in one set just because its “cool” and that’s really what makes them so special. This set was insanely energy driven from start to end with kick after kick, clap after clap, it got more hyped and the crowd was an accurate representation of that. You could see the excitement in Stefan and Olle’s faces from halfway in the crowd and it reciprocated into uplifting energy for everyone.

Once the festivities were over I found my way back to the campgrounds and straight to the Silent Disco. It might have been 50 degrees at 3 in the morning but that didn’t stop anyone from partying. I saw Dyla which took everyone on a Tech-House journey followed by a fast paced Drum N Bass set by the Los Angeles based duo, Consouls. Talk about a switcheroo.

The sun came and went and it was time to do it all over again. 10 straight hours of musical madness awaited everyone.

I opened my eyes Saturday morning prepped for the first yoga class at 9am. Despite partying hard the night before there was just something about those campground vibes that motivated you to take in everything as it was.

Relaxing in the half lotus position as soothing ambient music played in the background was the most rewarding part of it. Sitting still and welcoming inner awareness was absolutely priceless.

It was that time again to festival for a whole day and straight to the Bassrush stage it was. Per usual there was an eclectic mix of acts like Spag Heddy and Datsik throwing down for the bassheads, Calyx & TeeBee for the Junglists, and Bro Safari and Ghastly for all the bass enthusiasts. The diversity was real and it was done so tastefully it was easy for everyone to come and enjoy it even if they were not familiar with the artist or the style of music.

One set that stood out at the Queen’s Domain stage was Seven Lions’ energy packed and emotion filled one. Swinging his hair around in a very Tommy Trash manner, he went in and brought all of the feels. Dropping his track Falling Away featuring Lights to his very own DnB “Summer Of The Occult”, he formed a rollercoaster of emotion and took everyone for one hell of a ride. Easily the most passion filled set of the entire weekend.

All in all, Insomniac seriously outdid themselves with this year’s edition of Beyond Wonderland. There were no huge dust storms like last year. The parking situation was great and entry/exit for the festival was phenomenal. Plus, the food truck choices were on point. In the span of one weekend I had falafel, pulled pork fries, grilled cheese sandwiches like crazy, and insane amounts of hot dogs. It seems like they really listened to what the headliners had to say about last year’s conundrum of a festival.

Just like the camping, sign me up for Beyond Wonderland again next year.

Big ups, Insomniac!


Written by
Carlos Castellanos

I dedicated myself to the beat of a kick drum and it changed my life. Sometimes I write about music and lifestyle stuff. Others I'm out raving in So-Cal but you can find me all across the states. Lets chat: @CharleeGrey_

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