Beyond Wonderland: Living up to the hype?
So my Beyond Wonderland experience was hectic and out of the blue; literally the night before the event, I received news at 11:45 p.m. that I was approved for a media pass. Fifteen minutes later, mind you I live in Southern California, I was hitting that freeway and venturing on a seven and a half hour car ride. Since my Nocturnal experience was amazing, I was definitely looking forward to Beyond.
This was my first Beyond experience, and I was beyond excited (See what I did there?) From 12th Planet to Tom & Collins, the line up was amazing…how could I not be excited? On the way to the event I had my playlist of all the headliners I wanted to see on repeat, so that I really knew every drop and lyric on point.
So I made it just in time to shower, grab a quick Starbucks, and change. Upon entering the gates and seeing that huge main stage with the caterpillar smoking the hookah, I knew my epic journey and lack of sleep from the night before was totally worth it. Insomniac never fails to impress with their mind-blowing production, and Beyond was no exception.
My favorite performance on day one was my favorite group Above & Beyond; and yes like the meme, their set had me crying.
The great thing about Beyond that was so different from Nocturnal was that the weather was much cooler; at Nocturnal it was so hot and sticky it was hard to really enjoy the beginning sets while Beyond was the perfect temperature, with the perfect mix of clouds and the bay effect keeping us at prime dancing temperature.
As day 1 ended I was looking forward to day 2, and some much needed sleep. My favorite set of day 2 was Dada Life. I mean come on, how can you not have fun jumping around with a bunch of random people in banana suits around you!? I saw Dada Life back a couple of years ago at Coachella and let me say this, they literally bring the music! It was so much fun!
I loved Beyond Wonderland, and I think it was because it was my first time. My friend Makena, who is a San Francisco native, has attended Beyond before and was not impressed at this year’s Beyond. This is what she had to say:
“As I walked to the beat of the bass towards the throng of ravers in bright colors, the sense of Wonderland became a reality. Groups of young people in tiny outfits with dancing jaws and lazy eyes filled every walkway and bathroom line at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Although my people watching skills were at an all time high, the chilling Bay Area breeze forced me to grab my friends and run to the warm crowd at the mainstage.”
Fans cheering, lights flashing, and small to large butt cheeks in every line of sight lead me in the right direction until I spotted the memorable backdrop with the Alice in Wonderland caterpillar smoking hookah. As smoke billowed from its mouth, spurts of flames shot up from the top of the stage to further intensify the beat drop in the music.
While the scene captured the Wonderland theme, it looked exactly the same as last year. For the price we all paid, I was looking forward to some variety, but my disappointment was quickly quelled once Krewella hit the stage. Wired with energy, the two girls stood on the DJ table and danced along the stage, revving up the crowd unlike any DJs thus far. As if they’re live ethereal voices weren’t enough to make their performance unforgettable, their stage presence and love for the fans did the trick!
Mesmerized by “Killin’ It”, I pushed my way to the front, which has never been so easy thanks to the pockets of shuffling space throughout the crowd. Taking my eyes away from the ecstatic light show, I scanned the blanket of ravers and laid my eyes upon the large, colorful hovering octopus. Each of the eight arms was attached to a stick held by a smiling insomniac worker bouncing up and down to give the octopus a floating effect as it moved through the ravers. Followed by the octopus came the less titillating blue veined caterpillar donned with an eyeglass that most people believed to be an “eye booger.”
Taking a break, we headed to another fantastical stage surrounded by six women with 10 foot white wings attached to their bodies. Propped on pedestals balancing the wings in the wind, the women stood looking beautiful until one raver jumped onto the pedestal in an attempt to dance with one of them. As he shuffled in place, the woman struggled to show interest, but the weight of the wings overpowered her and left her standing dumbfounded until screams came from behind them.
Turning quickly to observe the fuss, I saw a group of 10-15 teens jumping over a fence to get into the Wonderland. As security hustled to hinder their entrance, the ravers cheered and applauded their delinquent risk to join in the fun. And, from what I could see, the security guards failed to catch anyone! As the night came to a close, I picked my friends up from the medical tent (everyone’s ok, don’t worry!), swooping a blanket for the walk to the car, and sang “Colt 45” with other Wonderlanders until our car arrived.
All in all, my pit of the event was the lack of water to wash my hands after the port-o-potty usage, and the peak of the event was probably when Dada Life’s music randomly cut out, and Krewella awe-inspiring performance and announcement of another album in the works.
Thank you to Makena McGown for giving insight on your perspective of the event as a second time attendee. These are some of our experiences, so please, share some your Beyond Wonderland stories with us and help us determine whether or not it lived up to the hype this year or fell short.
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