Written by Jen Fall
Photo credit: Jake West for Insomniac
Trance lovers descended on a Utopian paradise this past weekend at Dreamstate SoCal. Held at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino and boasting 4 stages with an insane amount of lasers, beautifully costumed performers, fully immersive holograms, and of course the beautiful “Headliners” who attended the show, Insomniac always throws a fantastic event, and Dreamstate was no exception. Not only was every DJ set stellar, (no one online can agree on the best of the weekend), the production level was out of this world for a small fest only in its 3rd year.
Currently I’m holding back tears writing this article. I have never had such a wonderful experience at a fest. I’m not new to #trancefam, but this was an unbelievably beautiful experience for me. I started my trip with a friendly ride from LAX all the way to San Bernardino to the Solo Journey Airbnb I joined for the trip. Airbnb’s can be hit or miss, but Danny Gonzalez, in charge of Solo Journey groups for Insomniac, has exquisite taste. I met so many wonderful people thanks to his organized meet ups and he ensures there is an equal split of women and men in the house. Makes for an amazing time to get to know fellow solo travelers. We started by ourselves, and became family by the end of the festival. Isn’t that what festival life is all about?
Day one was what I was most looking forward to musically. Gaia made their Dreamstate SoCal debut, and they certainly did not disappoint with a visually and musically pleasing set. Paul van Dyk debuted his AEON concept and I was there with bells on, riding the rail like a champ! The best thing about Dreamstate compared to other events is that there was room to breathe, even in areas close to the DJ if you so chose (with the exception of Armin’s Saturday set). I have never danced so hard to a DJ in my life. I can solemnly swear that PVD’s AEON was the best trance set I have ever witnessed live. I am a huge fan, and the 2 hours of fangirling was not nearly enough. He could have his own festival and play every time slot, as far as I’m concerned. No one can compare to the godfather of trance. Unfortunately I missed Oakenfold because I literally could not tear myself away from this set. Next time Paul!
Day two was Anjuna day for me. Yes, yes, I know “Anjuna isn’t trance.” I tend to disagree, but to each their own. Sunny Lax played a phenomenal set and it just so happened that this set was an ABGT 250 reunion for most of us in attendance. I was concerned about the Vision Stage hosting the remaining Anjuna artists because I found it difficult to find a quality sound area day one, but in true Insomniac fashion, it was fixed for day two. It was my first time seeing many of these artists. Jason Ross, Ilan Bluestone, and John O’Callaghan all had memorable sets. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hit mainstage and watch an almost entirely trance set by Armin with my beautiful rave-bae, Miss Sonia. The crowd came out for Armin in full force, and I will just say that I will never make the mistake of hitting the ladies room 10 minutes before Armin ever again! I literally had to swim through people and jump a VIP riser to get to my girlfriend (a moment I will never forget thanks to fellow trance fam literally helping me up and over!) A member of the Anjuna family gave me an ABGT 250 Anjuna Family bracelet, and that made me cry for the first time that evening. I mentioned ABGT 250 to him, and it was literally his last one. He said it was just waiting on me. So touching. Thank you, Sir! You made my Dreamstate! I was most excited for Andrew Bayer to close the festival out. In my opinion he IS the 4th member of Above & Beyond. I’ll admit it, his set made me cry not once, but twice. He is a powerhouse, and puts on less of a visual “spectacle”…much more musically oriented. I wept as he walked off the decks to hug his Anjuna Fam and thank the crowd in the most humble way I have ever seen from an artist.
Dreamstate was over for many headliners, but for my group the trip had not yet come to an end. I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to tag along for a road trip from California to Vegas to Death Valley. After playing Tetris with our luggage (I apparently overpacked), we visited a ghost town (no ghosts unfortunately) somehow ended up in Area 51 at an alien brothel (I can’t make this stuff up). We continued our amazing weekend at the Fremont Street Experience with a hair metal cover band. Nothing could have closed out this weekend better than Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson’s ONE at Mandalay Bay. Watching the synchronization of the performers was an awe-inspiring experience to round out my first solo fest trip.
Dreamstate weekend was a success, except for the loss of my Rx sunglasses (may they rest in peace). I may have lost some things, from my glasses, to some teardrops, but I feel like the real winner coming home and reliving each moment through photos and videos. I highly suggest attending Trancegiving at least once in your life. You will come home forever changed. If you do, let me know. I certainly would love to tag along! This time I’ll pack a little lighter.
Want to follow me on my festing year? Want to squad up? Send me an email at [email protected], Follow me on Facebook at Jennifer Dawn Fall, and IG https://www.instagram.com/basicbitchery/ for travel updates!