Summer is coming to a close, but Insomniac is keeping this party rolling with the 27th anniversary of Nocturnal Wonderland. Nocturnal is known as America’s longest-running electronic music festival since 1995 (wow). Held at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, CA, this will be Mic Drop’s debut of the electronic music wonderland. As we enter the fall season of an already unforgettable year in the music festival scene, the true nocturnal freaks will gather to Glen Helen the weekend of September 17th and 18th.
Nocturnal Wonderland takes place at Glen Helen Regional Park, with over 1,300 acres of land and two large lakes. This is one of my favorite festivals because the location allows for an exceptionally curated space for Nocturnal’s festivities. The park provides views of both the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, which are so beautiful to watch during a sunset set (you must catch the sunset if you can!).
The lakes offer plenty of shade and water, and although this festival is close to fall, the Cali desert heat still lingers. The park is well equipped with picnic tables, trees for shade, and plenty of sitting areas to relax.
Glen Helen is the perfect venue because the campgrounds aren’t miles away from the music, the entire festival is enclosed in its own space, and you can easily go back to the campsite if you need anything. If you’re a first time camper, this venue is a breeze to navigate.
But, let’s get into this lineup first, then we can talk about the WHOLE experience including production and campground activities.
Nocturnal Wonderland truly lives up to its name – boasting an expansive lineup of electronic music each year. Last year’s lineup brought happy tears to my eyes… no joke. Champagne Drip, 4B, Flosstradamus, Mikey Lion, Sacha Robotti, AC Slater, Dr. Fresch, The Glitch Mob, Malaa, Matroda, and Sub Focus… too many powerhouse acts and not enough time!
However this year, I didn’t feel the same butterflies in my body when the lineup was released. That being said, there are a few sets I am really excited to see, and not knowing everyone on the lineup gives room for discovery. This year you can catch me sprinting to Bassrush Experience sets both days, Lee Foss, Boombox Cartel, CID, and Whipped Cream.
The Nocturnal Wonderland Experience
Nocturnal Wonderland isn’t your average rave, it is an immersive music festival that offers so much more than groovy beats and dirty bass. During the day, before the freaks come out at night, there are different events campers can indulge in. Last year’s wonderland included yoga, sound baths, and arts & crafts.
While frolicking around you will notice three-dimensional art structures, LED and glow-in-the-dark environments, and eye-appeasing colors everywhere you look. Insomniac also hires performers to journey with you through the festival dressed as whimsical wonderland characters you’ve never seen before. It truly is a sight to see.
There are three stages at the venue – Wolves’ Den, Labyrinth, and Sunken Gardens. Each stage is well equipped with ample dancing room, insane light shows, and sound production that will leave you buzzing after each set.
Also, the party doesn’t end once the closers finish – the silent disco held each night on the campgrounds is worth making your way to, even if it’s just for a minute.
Lastly, the icing on the cake is this – there is no option for VIP. Why is that a good thing? Insomniac is dedicated to upholding the loving community and PLUR presence at the festival. All attendees are encouraged to share the experience equally, which provides a warm sense of community that you can quite literally feel when you’re there.
Regardless of my personal take on the lineup, if you haven’t bought your one-way ticket to wonderland, you’re making a rookie mistake. There’s so much to love at Nocturnal and truly something for everyone here. Core memories will be locked and saved. Trust.
Nocturnal Wonderland is approaching fast, and I will be counting down the days until I can frolic on the campgrounds like the nocturnal creature I truly am. Camping is sold out already, but you can learn more about the fest here, and join the Nocturnal Wonderland community before day passes are gone!
Check out this Nocturnal Wonderland 2022 playlist in the meantime: