VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT HERE.
SoCal’s Beyond Wonderland festival found its new home last Saturday at the San Manuel Amphitheater and Grounds. The grassy landscape was a tremendous upgrade from the old asphalt and concrete of the NOS Events Center – not only was it much easier on the knees, but it completely changed the vibe of the event as well. Furthermore, the loads of decorations blended very well with the new surroundings, making it feel more like a real Wonderland than ever before. There was initial uncertainty clouding the decision to switch venues, but surely everyone who came can attest that the grass was indeed greener on the other side.
Insomniac put some real thought into mapping out the brilliant semi-circle layout for Beyond Wonderland. The first thing we noticed was the free parking and how quick it was to get through the front gates and security. Next, as I walked through the East side gates, I thought it was smart of them to place the Chess Village bass stage near the entrance to help seed it. The production for this stage was surprisingly high with a massive lightning array and even flamethrowers! The drum & bass lineup was stacked and we witnessed some fierce sets by Matrix & Futurebound, Fred V & Grafix, Culture Shock, and Camo & Krooked as a spectacular fireworks show lit up the sky.
The next stage of the grounds was an enormously wide field that kicked off with today’s rising big room producers including Julian Jordan, Rebecca & Fiona (pictured), W&W, Arty, and R3hab. These young bloods all had incredible energy on stage and served up plenty of rocking bangers to the masses. Closing the night here were the Dutch titans Dash Berlin and Afrojack, both of which drew tremendous love from the crowd, with the trance star giving out loads of light sticks to light up the area.
More fresh talent was found on the way to the Queen’s Domain mainstage at the Discovery Project art car. We heard plenty of trap DJs throwing down here and its positioning on the map helped it grow quite an impressive audience. The mainstage definitely scored highest on production with three enormous screens and fully stacked laser batteries. Markus Schulz showed no mercy here and tore it up with massive unicorn slayers like Apache by Fisherman & Hawkins. Later, Chuckie brought out the sound of the dirty dutch, sending everyone off their feet with his hit Make Some Noise. Later, David Guetta came on and opened with some of his popular anthems like Titanium before getting into 303-injected electro bangers. Finally, Steve Angello finished off the night and drew lots of praise from all the die-hard Swedish House Mafia fans that came out.
Deep house has definitely been trending upward over the last year and its fan base in LA is growing. This was especially clear at a Cheshire Woods tent that was stacked with plenty of today’s most talented deep house DJs. When we got there we were served up some smooth grooves by the excellent up-and-comer Subb-an. Next, we enjoyed the sounds of Damian Lazarus and Maya Jane Coles, both of which had excellent selections that really filled the tent. Later, Art Department delivered a trippy set, which worked really well with the in-room decorations and lighting. Ending our night here, Maceo Plex’s mix was absolutely powerful; his distinct sound delivered incredible basslines and cutting edge techno. He’s an exceptionally memorable artist and was even moved up a time slot for the event, perhaps due to his outstanding show the night before at Exchange LA.