Written by Hatim Hafid & Daniella Hughes
Photos by INSOMNIAC
At a Glance
San Bernadino may not be the first city that comes to mind when someone mentions Southern California but for many, it is home to the beloved NOS Event Center where Insomniac holds their incredible events. Last weekend, March 24th-25th, 2017, the event center was transformed into a space full of shimmering lights, incredible sounds, and awe-inducing art installations. Beyond Wonderland had six dazzling stages stretched across the entire area. This festival had it all, from the feels-y trance to the intensely exhilarating dubstep; any electronic music lover could find tunes suited to their needs at Beyond Wonderland.
Music Genre: Dubstep, House, Future Bass, Drum and Bass, Trance, Trap
Crowd Type: Ravers, Younger Crowd (18+)
Food: Delicious food trucks and tents
Water Stations: You bet
How To Get There- If you are driving over from LA or San Diego, you will have absolutely no problem getting to NOS on time. LA is only an hour away by taking the I-10 E. Similarly, San Diego is only an hour north by taking I-15 N. If you are driving down from the Bay Area, make sure you get comfortable in that seat as it took about six and a half hours for us using the I-5. For those flying in, San Bernadino International Airport is only 11 minutes away from the venue! Approximately a 5 dollar Uber ride depending on the traffic. As far as hotels go, the San Bernadino hotels fill up well in advance; if you decide to go last minute, look for motels and hotels just outside of San Bernadino. Beyond has shuttles set up in nearby cities so that getting to the venue is not an issue. If motels and hotels are not your thing, you can find many Airbnbs about 20 minutes away from the venue. They also have a variety of ticket + hotel packages to choose from if you are looking for easy access.
Food-We all dread buying food from a festival due to how expensive it can be. Thankfully, the food was well worth it! Beyond had an array of food to choose from, including but not limited Mediterranean, Greek, Japanese, and vegetarian/vegan food trucks, as well as the festival’s own food vendors. There is plenty of grass and benches scattered throughout the venue so you can sit and chow down. As always, there were many bars stationed around the festival with a vast assortment of different liquors, including Beyond Wonderland themed drinks.
Atmosphere and Crowd- This 18+ festival had all kinds of ravers and EDM enthusiasts, so the atmosphere varied depending on the artist who was playing. Overall, people were generally very friendly and the general vibe was quite pleasant. Most festival-goers donned typical rave-esque attire that you would presume to see at any other rave. Most notable were those hired by the Beyond team who donned a bunch of costumes from under the sea, like clownfish and mermaids.
Music –This festival was stacked to say the least. As a multi-sub genre EDM festival, there was a load of music to immerse yourself in. The main stage, Queens Domain, saw the likes of Slander Van Dorn, Hardwell, Diplo, and NGHTMRE. I quite simply could not overstate the absolutely incredible visuals this stage had! The Queens Domain had the best light show set up I have ever laid my eyes on. The Outer Realm, also known as the Bassrush stage, was where I spent most of my time. Artists that graced their presence included Netsky, Herobust, Illenium, and Ekali.
Ekali: If you haven’t seen Ekali perform live, make sure that it becomes the next thing on your to-do list. His explosive set absolutely floored everybody (including me). Playing in front of the biggest crowd he has ever had, Ekali delivered exactly what everybody was hoping for and then some! Even with a couple technical difficulties, he managed to leave the whole crowd awestruck.
Netsky: I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Drum and Bass, as it was my favorite genre back in high school. So, seeing Netsky has been on my bucket list for almost five years. Netsky performed a high energy set that kept us dancing the whole time. With classics like “Give and Take”, and “Rio”, we couldn’t help but feel the energy he provided the whole night.
Bro Safari: No one I had talked to had any subpar experiences seeing Bro Safari, and after watching his set, I completely understand why. His explosive set had everyone headbanging until their necks hurt. I will certainly be seeing him the next time he is in the area.
Diplo: Creator of the ever so popular “Diplo and Friends” mix as well as ⅓ of Major Lazor, Diplo delivered an electrifying set. His rich musical background shined through as he played a variety of dancey tunes that had everybody jumping, dancing, and feeling on top of the world.
VIP or Nah- VIP included a separate entrance, air-conditioned bathrooms, cell phone charging stations, a water refilling station, and a VIP lounge area. Most of the amenities they provide, however, are also available to the general admission ticket holders. Since it was not very crowded on day one, I do not think it was worth shelling out the extra cash. Even on day two, when it was crowded, the only slightly bothersome aspects were the crowded bathrooms and water lines. Consider saving your cash for another event!
Story Corner- It can be a little daunting attending a festival for the first time. I had the opportunity to take my friend to her first festival and was a bit worried as to how much she would enjoy it. At first, she seemed a bit tense since the experience was so new and foreign. However, with a little bit of time and some amazing music, she was able to relax and enjoy her surroundings. Everyone’s positive attitude and friendliness really make a difference at a festival; thankfully Beyond Wonderland had a ton of good vibes and good company. And by the end of the festival, she said: “I can’t wait for next year!”.