REVIEW: Beyond Wonderland Southern California 2015

From March 20-21, 2015, the San Manuel Amphitheater in SanBernardino was transformed into a state of Wonderland.The Beyond Wonderland music festival, hosted by Insomniac Events, welcomedover 70,000 attendees to experience the wonders of this event. There were anabundance of elements that made this festival the epic experience it turned outto be.

The Main Stage aka Queen’s Domain.

Stages + Art 

There was no dull sight at Beyond Wonderland 2015. Everywhere you looked, lights were beaming and colors were flashing. The venue welcomed multiple art installations for people to admire. A few interactive art installations included the Chessboard, Dandelion Forest, and the Butterfly Wonderland. Even the performers and dancers were works of art – with beautiful costumes that brought the experience to life.

The Queen of Hearts at The Chessboard art installation.

The Dandelion Forest art installation.

This festival had four stages. This year welcomed a new stage called The Funk House, which was a 3-Dimensional, 360-degree stage installation designed around the 60s-70s era of art and funk music. Cheshire Woods was surrounded by an array of trees and lights, and allowed attendees to become immersed in the deep-house sounds of the stage. On the very west side of the venue was Mad Hatter’s Castle that welcomed sounds of heavy trance the first day and heavy bass (brought to you by Bassrush) the second day. The castle was made up of LED Panels that lit up the stage with familiar images of the White Rabbit and more Wonderland characters. Lastly, the Queen’s Domain once again reigned as the crowd’s epic favorite for the weekend. The breathtaking structure of the stage awed everyone at the venue during both the day and night. With a beautiful view of the surrounding canyons – there was no bad view while at this stage. The Queen’s Domain is one giant grand piece of artwork that ties the festival together to be Beyond Wonderland.

Music

The line-up at this event contained the perfect mixture of EDM sub-genres. For day one, attendees got their heavy trance fixes with artists like Ilan Bluestone who played a gorgeous set during sunset and pumped up the crowd as the night emerged. The trance family then got to enjoy the sounds of Simon Patterson and Astrix later that night as well. The sounds of deep-house and future-house filled the air with artists like Kidnap Kid, Maya Jane Coles, and Tchami. There was no doubt the crowd was vibing, especially as Tchami dropped the familiar sounds of his remix of Jack Ü and Kiesza’s song Take Ü There. Big names like TiestoDillon FrancisChuckie, and GTA ended the night back to back. There were an array of Dillon Francis heads (posters) in the crowd and dedicated fans who danced to the sounds of Dillon as he reminded us of hints of his first hit I.D.G.A.F.O.S. and gave us subtle sneak peaks of his new moombahton EP.

Ilan Bluestone’s set at Madhatter’s Castle.

Day two welcomed bass-heads from all around the area to vibe to the sounds of dubstep and drum-and-bass from artists like BrillzSub Focus, and Andy C to name a few. More deep-house and techno sounds came from the Woods with artists like Joseph Capriati and the legendary Carl Cox. The crowd chilled to the sounds of Umek right before an epic back to back performances from HardwellBenny BenassiArtyShowtek, and Knife Party. Both Hardwell, Benny, and Arty put on great shows that the crowd could sing and dance to – with ups and downs to really engage the crowd. The night wasn’t complete if you didn’t see the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff and Z-Trip who ended the night at Funk House sharing the stage – reminding us where the art first began and flawlessly scratching the night away.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and Z-Trip closing the night at The Funk House. 

People

This event really emphasized how important “YOU” are to this event. Every person at this event essentially felt like a “headliner”. From the DJs, the vendors, the workers, volunteers, the Wonderland characters, and attendees – Beyond Wonderland formed a community for the weekend. With everyone feeding off of each other’s energies and spirits, it definitely made the weekend one to remember.

Review by Holly Santiago, Photos by Jeffrey Hsiao

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