Guest Written by Daniella Hughes
It’s no question that over the past few years, the use of totems has become increasingly prevalent in the rave/music festival scene. From immaculately lit posters to a friend’s drunk face printed on a pool noodle, the amount of creativity seen throughout the crowd has festival goers in awe of what our fellow attendees have created. But have you ever stopped to think, “Why did they make that?” or “What’s the story behind that?” Well, have no fear! Festival Squad is here to dig deeper into the totem world at one of SoCal’s finest raves: Nocturnal Wonderland.
Set in the hills of San Bernardino, CA, Nocturnal Wonderland is part of the Wonderland Series that Insomniac puts on each year. Over the weekend, crowds of nearly 16,000 dance to some big room trap, dubstep, disco, & deep house-and there is no shortage of custom totems. Here are a couple of our favorites & the stories behind them:
- Augustuo – @ayegust10 • Julia – @juliabear • Jason • Norwalk & Long Beach, CA
Their Pickle Rick totem & matching outfits were inspired by the oh, so loved t.v. show Rick & Morty. The show represents to them a new type of humor; one that is not like any other type of show out there & you have to be paying attention to catch. It’s one of the few cartoons that is meant for adults that’s relatable. Jason even mentions relating to Rick being a slight alcoholic (peep the Modelo shirt). All in all, it’s a way they can bond with others over laughter.
- Dillon & crew – @dillonrudberg • Orange County, CA
One night after a house club, Dillon & friends went back to the crib & were sitting around talking. His Swiss friend, Calvin, has a very heavy accent & was trying to explain how much he liked the music that night. “I love the bass (pronounced like the fish).” Dillon & his friends were confused, “You like the what?”, “The bass (fish) man, I love when the DJ drops the bass.” When they finally understood what he was trying to say, they all exclaimed, “OH THE BASS!” And created Drop the Bass to remind them of that moment.
- Leslie & gang – @lesliee13 • Fontana, CA
Leslie & her gang have a few catchphrases, one is “Gang, Gang,” and the other, “IT’S LIT!” So they had two choices on what they were gonna put on their flag, and they decided to put “IT’S LIT”. The inspo behind the alien smoking a joint was from their favorite past time and they’re always in a whole ‘nother universe. They feel that this flag fully represent their group.
- JR – @jose.ordonezjr • Andrew – @andrewfavela – Rory – Brian – Tiffany • Riverside, CA
JR wanted to make a totem that was different than the others he’s seen. He wanted to make something trippy and would have people do a double take. He enlisted the help of his friend Andrew, who is the copy & print manager at Staples. JR sent over the picture of trippy Alice (cuz it’s Wonderland, duhhhh) to Andrew. When Andrew tried to blow it up to be the size of the totem, the picture became pixelated but both Andrew and JR decided that that would actually add to the trippy-illusion effect they were trying to achieve. Not only did they make an amazing totem, the group also brought along a polaroid to take and give pictures to people who wanted one with the totem. Sharing is caring!
- Mags – @magalliibarra • San Diego, CA
Mags wanted to make a totem but never liked the fact that totem blocked people’s view of the stage and a part of the experience, but needed something to keep her large rave fam together. She decided that she would make a totem that people could see through! She’s always been an advocate for spreading peace and positivity and that was her inspiration for the peace sign. The bright colors & sunflowers reflect happiness, a feeling she has when she’s raving.
- Justin – @ravekidd69 • Beaumont, CA
To Justin, raving means you get to be yourself. As a gay Mexican, he wanted to show off the two things he’s most proud of. Coming from a Mexican heritage, music and dancing are embedded into you from birth and Justin has been able to retouch his roots in the raving community. To him, dancing is the best way to be and express happiness.
• Cesar • Dani – @daniptrsn • Ashley – @ashleyschweitzer • San Diego, CA
If one thing this company agrees with is that Cesar LOVES to get trashed (peep his face inside the trash can). Brunch on the weekends, Tuesday nights, and even weekday mornings & they are all for it! Cesar is the biggest garbage of them all; Dani & Ashley being the co. COllectively, they’re all hot messes but that’s what they love about raving. They’re able to be themselves and can also share the trashiness with everyone else.