By Marlen Chinos
Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland Southern California made its return on March 20-21 for a weekend filled with out-of-this-world art, music, and community spirit. The event was held at the San Manuel Amphitheater and Grounds in San Bernardino, known for being the largest outdoor music venue in the United States.
Cal Poly Pomona students were part of a colorful crowd of over 70,000 enthusiastic fans that watched more than 60 of the world’s top performers in electronic dance music play across four jaw-dropping stages.
The official energy drink of Insomniac, Red Bull, provided free passes to the event, allowing student brand managers to give selected SoCal university students the opportunity to attend.
“One of the best parts of my job is that doing a good job is the same as providing awesome experiences to CPP students,” said Robby Gamble, a fourth-year marketing student and student branch manager for Red Bull at CPP. “With the [electronic dance music] culture being so huge among my peers, I’m always stoked to provide this kind of opportunity to fellow students. Seeing the performances is also a bonus.”
CPP students received VIP tickets to the event, which allowed access to a separate entrance to the festival, a special viewing stage stocked with a full cash bar for those over 21, a lounge area and private restroom facilities.
Headliners included widely-known electronic dance music performers Dillon Francis, Tchami and Ti_ÒåÇsto on Friday, and Hardwell, Knife Party and Showtek on Saturday.
Josua Mora, a first-time music festival attendee and fourth-year graphic design student, was in the crowd.
“At first, I didn’t understand why everyone continuously attended these events, but now I do,” said Mora. “I really enjoyed the music and the atmosphere. It was nice being able to go with all of my friends for my first time.”
Gigantic stages featuring whimsical art installations, pyrotechnics and lasers were truly an appropriate fit to the festival’s name.
The main stage of Beyond Wonderland, Queen’s Domain, was home to the 40-foot tall caterpillar, whose LED powered eyes animated in sync with the music while smoke billowed from its mouth. Other stages included Mad Hatter’s Castle, Cheshire Woods and this year’s newest addition, The Funk House.
Abbie Blackburn, a third-year communication student, was a fan of the venue.
“My favorite part was the venue,” said Blackburn. “Insomniac has never failed to put on a phenomenal event with incredible attention to detail and amazing sound quality. I loved the main stage.”
Apart from the venue, the crowd itself was colorful. Fashion at the festival featured a slew of entertaining outfits. Many fans dressed accordingly to the different stage themes.
The overall atmosphere of the event was filled with energy and enthusiasm from both the crowd and the performers. The crowd cheered wildly as its favorite performers took on the stage.
Sitting high in center stage through the VIP section, CPP students and other VIPs enjoyed a clear view of the madness down below.
“The thing about Insomniac is I never know what to expect,” said Gamble. “Their creativity never fails to impress, whether it’s the stages, supporting performers, pyrotechnics or the artists themselves. I can always count on an incredible experience where Insomniac truly envelops you in the world they have created for attendees.”
Without any doubt, Insomniac truly outdid itself once again with this year’s Beyond Wonderland.
“The event went above and beyond my expectations,” said Blackburn. “They put on a huge show and everyone was having a blast.”
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