Nocturnal Wonderland 2022 Review
Nocturnal Wonderland enjoyed its 27th successful year on September 17-19th, adding an additional seamlessly executed event to its repertoire. As an Insomniac Events fan-favorite, the festival boasted its striking abilities in production, talent, performers, logistics, and more. Luckily, the Glen Helen Regional Park enjoyed gorgeous weather all weekend, ranging from warm daytime weather to very tolerable cooler temperatures at night. Additionally, there was an absence of wind, which largely mitigated the dustiness that is known to plague Southern California’s Inland Empire. The cooperative weather conditions laid a strong foundation for fans, performers, and artists to comfortably participate in the festival experience.
Most importantly, the music at this year’s Nocturnal Wonderland was top-tier, as expected. Standout sets included Doctor P, Dr. Fresch, and Andy C, who each brought their mastery of different genres to the table. Doctor P was booked to play solo, rather than the back-to-back or throwback sets he has been performing more often in recent years. As a solo act, Doctor P truly shines as the dubstep trailblazer he has been for over a decade. He threw down new tracks by up-and-coming dubstep and riddim artists, remixes of his classic tunes, and an upbeat variety of bass music that never left a dull moment within the crowd. Dr. Fresch also brought the heat with his notoriously fantastic house music set. He stunned the crowd with creative mixes, remixes, and intoxicating beats. Dr. Fresch remains as a pillar of talent within the house music genre, relatively underrated for his increasingly high standard of performance. Last but not least, Andy C traveled from the UK to bring down the house during night two. His packed set at Labyrinth shocked fans with the dirtiest drum & bass flow and endless energy. Andy C easily created one of the most entertaining sets of the weekend.
The production level of Nocturnal Wonderland was incredible, featuring acrobatic performers on stage, immersive art installments, and characters roaming around the festival dressed in fantastical costumes. A new sculpture was debuted this year, in place of the recognizable raccoon on the hilltop. The new installment featured a gigantic metal owl with its wings extended, flames erupting from every inch of its body. It was a truly fantastic addition, and a wonderful photo opportunity for thousands of fans throughout the weekend. The Glen Helen Amphitheater was lined with three sizable stages, each differently designed to fit a different aspect of the theme. All of the stages provided ample space and equipment for great visuals, lasers, fog, pyrotechnics, fireworks, and more to support the artists.
Logistically speaking, Insomniac provided plenty of restrooms, free water stations, free parking, and efficient entry for the thousands of guests at Glen Helen– a difficult task that the organizers routinely optimize. The only notable issue occurred at the end of the night with the farthest parking lots attempting to exit the festival. Most of the free lots were able to leave very easily, however the far lots were jammed for upwards of two hours on Saturday night. The reasoning behind this is unknown, and may have been caused by issues with parking enforcement, traffic from other lots, or exhausted guests. Because of the provisionary planning, each free lot was equipped with restrooms and security, preventing the inconvenience from devolving into a legitimate issue– allowing all attendees to eventually exit safely.
Overall, Nocturnal Wonderland embraced thousands of attendees in its fantasy world, creating an unforgettable experience in all aspects. Insomniac’s ability to generate such a smooth and large-scale production in Glen Helen’s unique landscape is truly an impressive feat– consistently doing so for the past and future of Southern California’s dance music community.
Photos courtesy of Nocturnal Wonderland