Nestled on the foot of the Cajon Pass, Glen Helen Regional Park and its surrounding hills welcomed over 65,000 revelers over the course of two days to partake in what has now become America's longest-running dance music festival, Nocturnal Wonderland.
Always a haven for lovers of the underground, Nocturnal Wonderland 2018 hosted big names as well as up-and-comers. From Illenium, Christoph, AC Slater, and Deorro, fans of electronic music had a wide array of genres to choose from throughout the jam-packed weekend.
Nocturnal Wonderland is also known for its integrated camping which features tent, RV, and car camping all a stone's throw away from the festival grounds. Kicking off with the sounds of Kayoh, Riot Ten, and more at the Moonlight Grove pre-party on Thursday, the festival also featured nightly Silent Discos with artists like BIJOU and Morelia, this year’s Nocturnal Wonderland Discovery Project winner. Other campground activities included relaxing morning yoga, romps in the waterpark, and arts and crafts like kandi-making and a step-by-step lesson on how to make the perfect dream catcher.
Inside the festival itself, Nocturnal Wonderland opened its grounds to guests as they walked under a black-lit forested canopy while sounds of the wild enveloped them. The layout of the festival, although a bit tight and crowded in some spots, allowed for completely different experiences scattered around the venue.
Perched on top of a hill that offered spectacular views of the festival below stood the Sunken Garden. The large trees that surrounded you as you danced along to some of the best house and techno of the weekend were no match to the towering lighthouse that ominously looked over the DJ booth and into the crowd below.
Friday saw the outstanding performances of Christoph, Eli & Fur, Nora En Pure and Jonas Rathsman. Saturday, the deep house and techno vibes continued with Dateless, Waze & Odyssey, a back-to-back featuring Mikey Lion and Lee Reynolds, Skream, Lee Foss, and MK.
The Labyrinth was conveniently placed in the middle of the festival, allowing fans easy access to some of the biggest names in EDM that played on that mesmerizing stage. Names like Netsky, Liquid Stranger, and Flux Pavilion performed on Friday while Saturday saw the likes of Space Jesus, Said The Sky, Kill The Noise and NGHTMRE & Slander's Gud Vibrations.
At the other end of the venue lay the Wolves' Den. Although a difficult spot to get to due to crowds bottlenecking and traversing the narrow passages sandwiched between merchandise tents and art exhibitions, the Wolves' Den was the place to be over the weekend.
Bijou, Kayoh, Slumberjack, ARMNHMR, Habstrakt, 4B, Jai Wolf, and Illenium owned their respective time slots at that stage on Friday. Saturday saw the impeccable performance of AC Slater and BlackGummy as well as Audien, Boombox Cartel and Slushii with Deorro closing out the weekend bringing out Elvis Crespo.
The Boombox Art Car also made its way into Nocturnal Wonderland hosting emerging artists like Oscure, DJ Construct, Thee-O, Maximus C, Fester, and Oscar Da Grouch.
Nocturnal Wonderland continues to create an immersive night-time raver paradise with interactive art pieces, glow-in-the-dark-tunnels, live mural painting, psychedelic 3D art pieces, blacklights, succulent gardens and the ever-present costumed creatures of the night.
Insomniac Events is known to produce the most immersive, state-of-the-art music festivals and Nocturnal Wonderland, 23 years strong, continues that tradition. A more intimate setting, Nocturnal Wonderland is not meant to be a massive event, instead, it focuses on the music and evelops you into the night. The location, set on the base of the converging San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountain ranges, only adds to the ominous, obscure unknown of the night.