Seems you can teach old dogs new tricks.  That’s what happened on Saturday night.  Embarrassingly I had never been to an EDM show of any kind (other than the tent at Coachella that I didn’t pay attention to) till Insomniac’s Escape From Wonderland.  It has changed my world.

First there was the marketing of the event. Unless you were in the know (mailing list, friends, etc.), you would have no idea Escape From Wonderland was taking place outside LA. In the months leading to the event, I didn’t see or hear anything…traditionally anyway. Yet somehow 40,000 20-somethings showed up in costume ready to dance, party, “JUMP”, and listen to their favorite DJ’s.

Pasquale and his team at Insomniac have learned through years of trial and error how to create an innovative, immersive, and most importantly, safe experience.  That’s what it is, an experience.  All of your senses are constantly stimulated…and if guests get too “stimulated”, their medical staff knows just how to handle it.

People were roaming with shirts reading “Ground Control”.  It is their job to find guests who might have had to too much… fill in the blank, lack of hydration and sleep, etc. Impaired or injured guests are then taken to a triage depending on their specific issue.  Most can get up and go back to the festivities once they’ve had water or possibly an IV.

The “General Store” was a trip.  Everything from glow sticks, to candy (a big deal and you can’t bring in your own), cigarettes, sunscreen, eye drops (another prohibited item), Chapstick, tampons, you name it.  At the merch stand, you could not only find t-shirts, hats, banners and hoodies, but bandannas (dust masks are another prohibited item), branded re-sealable water bottles (the only ones allowed in the venue), and plush toys and wearable’s.

Never have I seen so much money spent on ambiance for a music festival of any kind.  LED video everywhere, light shows, lasers, 5-stages, art installations, a graveyard, haunted houses, a maze, photo op areas (like a guillotine), fireworks, and one of the best sponsor activations I’ve ever seen.

Motorola was a key sponsor of the event and certainly added to the experience.  Guests went in to the “kandi shop” where they could choose from different color and shaped beads to make bracelets, necklaces, arm and headbands, etc.  Some were very creative. Motorola also had the “Motorola Tower”…a four-sided scaff tower coved in LED.  Guests could send pictures and messages with a special hash tag and they would end up on the screens.  Simple and brilliant.

Fact is, brilliant can describe the whole experience.  Are there things Insomniac could do better, sure.  If you go to an event looking, you can always find ways to improve.  With that said, it was hard to find things.

The last time I danced was at a wedding. At Escape From Wonderland, I danced from 4pm – 1am…by myself…well with 40,000 friends.  Great job Insomniac.  Can’t wait till your next event!


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