There’s nothing else like the feeling of walking into a festival–or in this case, driving. After a 5-hour long drive from Los Angeles to Chandler, Arizona, I got butterflies in my stomach as I approached my first show since February. Just like any other show, I was pumped; but this show would be different, and that’s what made it so exciting. It was Insomniac’s Park ‘N Rave, an electronic dance music concert series catered to the conditions of the current pandemic. Here’s what I thought of last weekend’s giant tailgate party held at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
- ORGANIZATION: Upon arriving at the festival, there was a short line of cars to get in. Friendly staff members checked our IDs, glanced at our trunk, and scanned our ticket quickly, and then we followed the path of cones towards the stage. The designated areas for each car were all marked off by rails, cones, and caution tape (which must have taken lots of time and planning!). We got the last spot in our row near the restrooms. Although we weren’t in the center, it was at least very easy for us to leave the festival being parked near the edge.
- THE SPACE: Our personal dance floor was ample space for us to set up our viewing station. We were allowed to bring our own lawn chairs, blow up couches, air beds, and beer pong tables. As a grandma raver, being able to chill from time to time between sets without leaving my group or having to walk away from the stage was awesome. Guests were also encouraged to bring decorations, so many personalized their space with tapestries, flowers, christmas lights, totems, and flags that made it feel like a camping festival. There was so much space for flow arts! I saw so many hoopers, levi wanders, glovers, and staffers doing their thing without being afraid to run into people!
- BYOB: Being able to bring our own food and alcohol was a real game changer! We saved SOO much money on drinks. And what’s great is that if you needed any other food, it would be delivered to your car. We forgot ice, and they brought us a huge bag which saved us! They even delivered merch right to your spot.
- SAFETY: Of course, attending any large gathering with coronavirus cases still on the rise is scary, but Insomniac made sure to keep their guests safe. I saw the port-a-potty cleaned and stocked with hand sanitizer, and there were many sinks with soap and water available with no line (which is so rare by the end of a festival!). In addition, staff came around to enforce face masks in a kind manner to remind partiers that safety comes first.
- MUSIC: Without a doubt, the lineup was fantastic. The crew of Lick, Drezo, Wooli, and Seven Lions filled the void in my heart that missed live music.
- EXPECTATION: Being an Insomniac event, I must admit that I expected more from the production. A larger stage would have made the experience even better, especially for those in the back. Including some of the novelty things that make shows so special such as lasers, fireworks, or performers would have made it feel like an actual festival.
- VOLUME: Especially since my spot was all the way to the end of the row, at times I wished the music was louder. It would have been beneficial to add more speakers at the sides of the venue rather than just down the middle. The music is why we went, so we would have loved for it to be blasting the whole night!
- SOCIAL DISTANCING = NO NEW FRIENDS: Since we were encouraged to only attend with our immediate quarantine community, we couldn’t make as many friends as we would at a normal festival. But as long as you had your rave squad, it was all good!
All in all, the new reality of raves, though different, wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was just as fun and fulfilling. It was worth the drive, and I would definitely do it again.