Know Before You Go: Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge

Photos provided by Insomniac Events

With EDC Las Vegas 2022 now completed, it’s safe to say that the summer festival circuit is finally upon us. Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge comes back for its second year on June 18 & 19, featuring a delightful lineup that includes Kaskade, Fisher, Porter Robinson, and Zeds Dead. Whether this is your first time in Washington State, you are a seasoned vet who attended Identity, or even re-entering the scene after the past few years, this is your guide to make sure that you show up like a pro and get the most out of your weekend. 

Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge takes place June 18 & 19th. Camping and pre-parties kick the weekend off on Friday, June 17th. Weekend passes and single-day tickets are available for purchase here. Details on travel, the event, and other information can be found on the official website. Download the Insomniac mobile app to stay up to date on all the details.

Camping

One of the best and most talked-about components of a multi-day festival at the Gorge is the campground experience. This includes meeting people from all over, food trucks, and a constant stream of pop-up DJ sets. Whether staying close to the venue in the Acorn Village (Gold), balling out in the Queen’s Ravine (Glamping), getting gritty in the Fox Den (General Camping – affectionately known as District 9), or wherever else you find yourself, there is something to be said for grabbing a beverage and taking an exploratory walk around the neighborhood. 

An overhead view of a large campground with overlooking a river with the sun setting in the background.
It’s pretty here.

Be ready to wait in line for a bit 
Unless you’re able to arrive early when the campgrounds open on Friday at 10 am, there could be a few hundred to several thousand people showing up all at once. It’s possible to be sitting in traffic shortly after you leave the freeway. Remember to be patient, be courteous to the staff, and be prepared for your car to get randomly searched (this includes not openly drinking in line, especially as you get closer to the gate). This is a great time to socialize with the people around. I would also recommend having a full tank of gas to avoid running out in line – it has happened before!

If you’re staying elsewhere, down the road at Wild Horse or at a hotel/Airbnb, take some time to figure out your transit situation or if you need a designated driver. It is going to be extremely unlikely to get a ride share after the event. 

Take note/pictures of nearby landmarks
As you get situated, look out for any distinguishable flags, totems, lights, bathroom numbers, canopies – something that can help guide you home at night or direct friends to your location. Do this before the sun goes down. The area is sprawling and everything starts to look really similar at 3 in the morning. If you arrive late and are setting up in the dark, just be sure to pitch your tent before you go out and party. Don’t forget to stake down your tent – it gets windy out there!

Campground Activities
A consistently outstanding feature of an Insomniac event is the long list of other sideshows, activities, and attractions you can participate in. Yes, the music is great and obviously why you’re there, but don’t miss out on the other stuff. It’s a great way to relax, make friends, and expand your experience. From scavenger hunts to drag tea parties, shuffle workshops to silent discos, there is something here for everyone. Check the list out for things that catch your interest, and don’t forget your yoga mat!

Lock up your belongings
Really unfortunate that this even needs to be listed, but some people suck, and theft happens every year. Don’t get so excited to head into the festival that you leave a bunch of electronics and valuables out in the open. Put anything of remote value out of sight and if possible, locked up and hidden in your car.

Clean up after yourself 
Does this need to be said? If you are traveling from out of state, or for any other reason do not intend to use your camping gear beyond the festival – please, please, please do not leave your camping gear behind. It looks trashy, it is trashy, and all you’re doing is making someone else’s job harder. Be better than that. The campground has a donation bin at the exit, so someone who needs it can get use out of your belongings. While you are being responsible, take a look at the campground guidelines.

A campground full of cars, canopies, and tents, with the sun setting in the distance.
“We’re by the U-Haul van!”

At The Venue

Arrive Early
Just like the bottleneck of cars arriving when you showed up to the campground, anticipate there being a line to get into the festival – especially if you are trying to go between the hours of 3-7. The process has gotten a lot better, but we are coming out of a two-year dry spell and people are still getting acclimated. That means probably leaving before you think you need to. Put sunscreen on before you leave camp and don’t cut in line.

Don’t forget your ticket and your ID
It’s about a mile from the center of the campground to the entrance of the venue.

A large group of people walking down a long winding dirt road.
A walk that feels 10x longer at the end of night.

How the pit works
This is for all of you who like to ride the rail. During the day, feel free to go down to the lower bowl and roam around as much as you want. Though be mindful that at a certain point in the afternoon, staff will divide the area in half with metal barriers. If you’re already in front of them at this point, you are welcome to stay throughout the night. However, if you leave the area for any reason – bathroom, drinks, etc. – you will not be allowed back in unless you have a VIP wristband. 

Bring comfortable shoes and warm clothes
Yes, it’s central Washington in late June. It is going to be too hot during the day, but the temperatures at the Gorge drop significantly as soon as the sun goes down. Just as you may not notice how hot and dehydrated you’ve gotten during the day, it’s going to be an adverse situation at night. The cold will hit you quickly as soon as you leave the crowd and the body heat.

Stay hydrated
We know you know that you’re supposed to hydrate plenty while you’re dancing around and sweating in the heat, but it’s important to remember that hydration takes days (so hopefully you start prior to the weekend). Alcohol dehydrates you quicker and dancing for eight hours means you are going to be depleting more than just water. Liquid IV (limit one per day!) Gatorade, or some sort of electrolyte supplement is very important. You can buy dissolvable tablets that not only keep you hydrated, but also help get your nutrients to where they should be. 

You also need shoes that you can walk miles in. You’re covering a lot more ground than you would expect, and the Gorge is on an incline. The entrance to the venue is about a mile from the campground, and even if you were able to snag a camping pass in Terrace or Premiere and have the luxury of the shuttle, this is not the place for flip flops. Prepare for the night before you go in. Unless you have a VIP ticket, you do not have in and out privileges.  

Plan ahead
Make sure that you spend some time coordinating the weekend with your friends. Spontaneity is fun and flexibility is obviously a big part of what makes a festival fun, but there still needs to be general communication – what sets do you plan to be at, what time are you going to leave, where is your group posting up at certain stages, where is the meetup point when you arrive/leave/take a break, what do you do when someone doesn’t come back to the campsite. Make sure that people aren’t going off on their own. Cell service can be spotty and phones die, so it is extra important to set meeting points.

Buy your water bottles from the mobile vendors.
They let you keep the bottle caps!

People sitting in hammock, overlooking a hill, a stage, and a river beyond it.
One of the best spots in the venue.

Respect each other, respect yourself, respect the space.

I long for the day that this doesn’t need to be stated, but do not touch people without their consent. Go beyond no means no – think only yes means yes. If you aren’t sure, ask. Consent is sexy, and people can’t consent when they’re under the influence. If you have trouble remembering that, write it on your arm in sharpie. Remember to also keep an eye out for people who are by themselves or look like they might need some help.

Getting to attend live music at the Gorge is a privilege. Much like at your campsite, make an effort to pick up after yourself and leave the place better than when you found it

Also remember to take care of yourself! Drink water, eat food, wear sunscreen, get as much sleep as you can. Listen to your body and don’t over-exert yourself. Marathon, not a sprint.

Two people looking down a crowded hill to a brightly lit stage, with a river and mountains behind it.
Friends.

Ground Control and the Medic Tent

Ideally you aren’t going to need it, but it’s a good idea to locate the medical tent when you first arrive. Additionally, start looking out for the folks in the purple t-shirts. This is Ground Control. Festival people, much like yourself, committed to “keeping people safe, being a friend to those in need, and reminding our community that it’s okay to ask for help.” They can be found throughout the festival grounds, entrance areas, parking lots, first aid tents, and water stations. You can also locate them at the Oasis, Ground Control’s dedicated space to decompress and relax. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help if you or others need it.

Four smiling people in purple shirts that read "Ground Control."
Your friendly neighborhood Ground Control.

Odds & Ends

A little list of things to make the weekend better. Bring most any of these with you into the venue in your day bag and someone will love you for it.

  • Baby wipes – It all gets dusty. Your hands, face…just everything.
  • Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer – This was a thing I was bringing to shows even before. Not only does it have a practical application, they have a bunch of different fun scents they make nice little gifts you can give to people that you meet. 
  • Travel deodorant stick/aerosol deodorant – Bring this into the venue for your sake and the sake of those around you. Aerosol if you feel like sharing.
  • A change of socks – Not always necessary, but it can be really nice to swap out midday.
  • Space blankets – Even if it doesn’t get cold at night, that doesn’t mean you won’t. 
  • Portable charger – If you want to be a homie, bring multiple kinds of chargers. Someone may need the other one at some point. 
  • Water flavor packets – Makes hydrating easier and masks the taste of the water from the refill stations. Ultima Electrolyte Powder is also a great option.
  • Bandana – The bass stage is known for kicking up a dust storm, as does the trek back to the campground at night.
  • Safety pins – For outfit emergencies.
  • Double sided carpet tape – Also for outfit emergencies.
  • Lighters – Great icebreaker, always appreciated when needed.
  • Straws – Kind of essential since we learned just how much of a germ factory everyone is, but also helpful for anyone wearing lipstick.
  • Hi-Chew – Gum is good. Hi-Chews are better.
  • Shoe insoles – Protect those feetsies! Especially if you are strong enough to be wearing heels.
  • Mini Febreze – Freshen up those clothes.
  • Continuous spray plant mister – Fill it up inside the venue to help beat the heat. Pleasant without being overbearing.
  • Power inverter – Plug things in, charge things at your camp – hair driers, electric kettles, air mattresses, etc.
  • String lights for your camp – It just makes it look nice 🙂
  • Eye mask and earplugs – For sleeping through your neighbor’s music and 5:43am sunrise. 
  • Melatonin and CBD oil – Also for that previous little sleep you’re chasing.
A crowd looking at a music festival stage at night as fireworks go off above it.

Get your tickets HERE.

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