I was surprised when I still saw tickets available for the event. And I’m sure all of you who didn’t go are slapping yourself in the face for not going! We all knew that Insomniac would go all out for the 20th anniversary, but I don’t think any of us could imagine how amazing it would be. Let’s start with the basics:
1. Perfect Weather
Even though it has always been in September, those of us who have attended before remember the sweltering hot weather. A higher being must have been looking out for Insomniac because the weather couldn’t have been better. With Friday and Saturday reaching a high only of mid to high 80s. By the time the event started, dancing was in full swing without the rubbing of sweating bodies. And that gorgeous desert sunset didn’t hurt as a background either.
2. Safety First
I’m sure everyone was eagerly awaiting any news of deaths. And hurrah! No one did! The cooler temperatures likely cushioned against a setting for dehydrated dancers. But we can’t forget to credit the awesomeness of the Insomniac team. While at the Sunken Garden during Nicole Moudaber’s set, I was directed towards a girl who was on the ground, not responding or moving. I watched as Ground Control cleared the area, immediately called EMTs, and even attempted to turn her to her side should she start seizing. Being a medical professional, I did have to step in after a few minutes to ensure for myself that this individual was conscious and alert, which she was, and managed to stand her up and walk her to the side. However, it was obvious Insomniac had taken the time educate Ground Control on safety precautions and they definitely made a valiant effort. Of course the haters are going to say, “What about the 200 arrests made?” Who cares? I don’t know about you, but I pick arrests over deaths.
3. The Art and Performers
If you needed a break from the music, there were definitely plenty of other things to keep you entertained. You have the token festival ride, which was the classic but whimsical swing set. There was the awesome kandi shop where headliners could stock up on pieces and exchange in an open area. The Toyota booth was offering custom screen-printed posters being hand made throughout the night, each a collectible original. The Camel tent offered free engraved lighters and $1 packs of cigarettes. And just in case you missed EDC, Insomniac offered a 3D experience of EDC 2015 with specialized goggles to relive the event. The History 101 tent had vinyl-wielding DJs with headliners playing PacMAN on a huge screen to the beats. And let’s not forget all the beautiful ethereal dancers, to include butterflies, roses, woodland beings, and gothic creatures.
4. The Unbelievable Music
I don’t know about you guys, but there wasn’t a day that did not utterly impress. Friday had me in a state of trance at the Labyrinth with back-to-back sets from Orjan Nilsen, Andrew Rayel, Sander van Doorn, W&W, and the one and only god of trance, Armin van Buuren. On the other side at the Sunken Gardens, you could be head banging to the intense drum and bass of Brennan Heart, Technoboy, and Darren styles. Saturday was definitely built as a day for mainstream, with the likes of Afrojack, David Guetta, and Alesso. However, that’s not to say you didn’t have some intense upbeat music from Deorro earlier in the day and the smooth R&B beats of DJ Jazzy Jeff in the Upside Down Room. And last, but definitely not least, on Sunday there were the mind blowing sets from Madeon at Queen’s Garden, with Duke Dumont and the extraordinary Kaskade closing out at the Labyrinth. After seeing Kaskade at Coachella and EDC this year, I had my doubts. His prior sets were good, but I wasn’t quite sure if it’d be much different. And boy was I so horribly wrong! As soon as he started with “I Remember,” I knew this was going to be the Kaskade of years past, definitely ending with a night full of feels. You can be sure those of us who were lucky enough to experience this legendary show first hand will still be reminiscing about it years from now. Kaskade couldn’t have said it better, but thank you to Pasquale and the entire team of Insomniac for making this wonderland possible.
So here’s to another 20 years of Nocturnal, because I know I’ll be raving to the grave!