Tag Archives: Rave

[The Audiofiles] Coachella 2k17: Choose Your Own Auditory Adventure

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Photo:// Daniel Zetterstrom for Do LaB

Over the last two decades, Coachella has transformed from a simple music festival to a cultural time capsule.  Between the LA Weekly ranked munchies to the immersive artistic experiences, and of course the exceptional musical talent – the Coachella Music and Arts Festival provides an adult playground while tickling the senses in all the right places.

In event, and in ethos, Coachella is an elite gathering of international tastemakers and up and coming West Coast talent, ranging from musicians and artists, to stage designers, lighting and sound techs, production managers and more.  The festival curates from the creme of the crop, and the energy surrounding the event is palpable as everyone is operating at their highest frequency. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. For two consecutive weekends, Coachella plays host to 125,000 domestic and international audiophiles, ten stages of music and around 200 musical acts spanning literally every genre, and then creating some live, over a 72 hour span. That’s just on site – so, if you found those numbers overwhelming, now – imagine being there.

That said, one of the many beautiful facets about Coachella is that it’s truly a choose your own adventure type festival, making the weekend anything you want to be. You can go to a punk show at the Sonora Stage one moment, then indulge your inner lyricist with Hip Hop artists from Travis Scott, Denzel Curry, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q. Between the Heinekin Stage, Do LaB stage, Sahara Tent, Gobi and Yuma you can spend the weekend at a dance festival – wholeheartedly embracing the PLUR vibes that the event was made for. Or, you can only go to two days of the three day festival and spend the third having an actual vacation in Palm Springs, attend Desert X and come home revived for once instead of coming home burnt out. It can be a fashion show, a foodie’s wet dream or a family reunion, a chance for musical discovery and treasure trove of timeless favorites.  Sometimes it seems like the adventure chooses you, and not the other way around, but either way we all go in with one set of expectations and habitually have them slapped in the face, swirling at 180’s by the time we’re leaving.

The XX, Bon Iver and Bonobo were both gorgeous touches on the main stage, providing an oasis of calm in a colorful, and at times overwhelmingly overstimulating, storm; while in beautiful contrast, Kendrick Lamar closed the stage down on Sunday night, leaving the crowd with something to really think about. Per usual, the Sahara tent opened the doors to significantly more Rap and Hip Hop acts this year, once again providing a proper dance party with artists ranging from SNBRN, Galantis, DJ Khaled, Anna Lunoe, Gucci Mane, Autograf, GRYFFIN and more throwing down while keeping the energy up.

As with previous years, dance music has matriculated through the lineups on other stages beyond the Sahara. The Yuma provided a delightful disco den of deep, tech and progressive house with an internationally acclaimed roster of talent like Nora en Pure, Sasha, Tale of Us, Allison Swing, Dixon, Loco Dice, Hot Since 82, Four Tet-Daphni-Floating Points, and Maya Jane Coles.   Artists from Madeon x Porter Robinson, Justice, Tycho, Nicolas Jaar, What so Not, Jai Wolf, and Tourist were scattered from the Mainstage to the Gobi, and the Mojave to the Outdoor Theater. While the Heineken House and KROQ House both provided refreshing reposes from the rest of the grounds, with ample amounts of shade and air conditioning – two creature comforts that you have a hell of a lot more respect for after several days sweating to the beat in the desert. Last, but certainly not least, my home base and the place that always feels like a family reunion – the Do LaB stage.

As should be expected from Southern California’s premiere party planners, Do LaB’s stage designers outdid themselves with the construction of The Beacon, a bright and bold structure that will be coming with the crew to Lightning in a Bottle. Boasting a unique and expertly curated lineup for each weekend of Coachella, Do LaB’s stage is a wet, wild and whimsical artistic experience, fully equipped with dancing DJs, supersoakers, and high flying acrobatics; a festival within a festival, and a stage that’s a party within a party, quintessentially becoming a gateway drug to the beauty and beats of Lightning in a Bottle.

I think I’ve said this every year of Coachella, but kudos to the Do LaB for their impeccable bookings – perpetually and passionately giving us a birds eye view of the top acts in dance music.  If you’re in the mood for raw, upcoming talent – look no further than the first act each day: KNGSPRNGS, divaDanielle, Jonnie King, Oscure, Gone Gone Beyond and BOGL. Want a proper Sunday Funday dance party? Try the Desert Hearts squad on for size. And when it comes to big name artists, Do LaB provides an arena for artists to return to their roots – or just forge new ones, allowing for musical exploration and artistic experimentation.  For the first time since Chase & Status brought down the Sahara tent nearly a decade ago, Coachella had a true taste of Drum and Bass from Netsky and Liquid Stranger, oh – and then some guy named Skrillex showed up for a secret set and shut the place down, touching nearly every genre of music ever created and even creating a few new ones on the spot.  Other secret sets at Do LaB over the two weekends included Classixx, Richie Hawtin, Louis The Child, Rufus du Sol, Tycho and Autograf.

Two years ago, there was a giant caterpillar that roamed the festival grounds, metamorphosing into a lovely, large butterfly.  That was amazing.  Last year, there were corporate hippos, which were not nearly as cool as the butterfly but art being art, whatever – I liked them a lot more than the giant chairs and lamps which made me feel like my name was Alice, I ate something and now I’m in Wonderland…but Wonderland is just an Outdoor Ikea; anyways.  This year…well, this year someone let Dr. Seuss’s dildo collection loose among the main stages and though it provided some laughable moments, I just wanted that damn beautiful butterfly back.

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Coachella and the Goldenvoice name have grown exponentially over the last decade: adding more days, stages and weekends. But this year, for the first time in a long time – the festival increased in capacity as well, adding 25% in ticketed attendance and finally feeling the growing pains.  As festival population increased, the local Coachella Valley population also exponentially increases – and at a faster rate, to boot: consider the percentage of friends who would come and not even attend the festival, additional amount of event workers to handle the new stages, paired with a gross increase in the amount of events that occur in tandem with the festival – Goldenvoice’s LED Pool Party, Desert X and the menagerie of private parties for and by the musicians.

To combat the population  growth, the grounds were expanded and pushed back – but I actually had no idea where three stages were the first day, because fuck a map apparently. Yes, there’s a lot of room for activities but Coachella might finally be at the point of too much room for activities, when you actually get FOMO mid-festival because you simply can’t experience everything.   Handling the growth of the festival from inside it became relatively manageable by the end, but what wasn’t manageable was the parking situation which became exponentially worse as attendees trickled in through Sunday: causing up to a 3 hour backup as reported by the Press-Enterprise.  And if you wanted to forgo day parking and try using Uber, who has been touted as a partner with the festival itself, users were charged a disgusting minimnum of $175 – sometimes upwards of $250 – due to surge pricing as reported by the LA Weekly.  These two factors alone were enough to drive a variety of non-camping festival attendants to either exit stage left early Sunday and forgo favorite acts from Kendrick Lamar to Galantis, or take to social media to rant and rave about their first world travesties.

The adventures we choose at Coachella forge the musically monumental paths of the weekend, but I think the real testament to Coachella are the adventures we choose after we leave – did we find ourselves wanting more of a specific artist or genre?  Have we been rock fans our whole lives and suddenly find our niche with Dubstep and Trap?  Do we enjoy witty lyricisms in music and have a new appreciation for the incredible hip hop artists that were featured at this years event?  Do we snag our ticket to Lightning in a Bottle immediately upon returning home to decompress because we feel like we’ve finally discovered a hub of technicolor creation that mirrors the kaleidoscopic nature of our soul?

Despite the gradients of heat waves we endured for over 72 hours, each and every festival attendant left Coachella left feeling emotionally recharged, refreshed and revived – even if our sore muscles felt anything but.  We laughed, danced and discovered – not just music, but the true nature of ourselves: that child who had been forced to grow up that we’ve been shoveling under 40 hour a week jobs, forgetting that there’s another part to our soul that has needs and wants to – and fun in the sun with like minded souls to amazing music that touches every subject and genre is a large part of that. The idea of festival is necessary, when the only difference a stranger and I might disagree on is what our favorite act was – not which way they voted.

Keep your eyes on The DJ List as we dish on our top acts, best musical discoveries from the weekend and so much more.  To keep up on all things Coachella and their content curators, follow the links below – and be sure to keep your eyes and ears open because tickets for next year’s gala featuring Beyonce will probably go on sale any moment now.

Coachella // Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Goldenvoice //  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

Do LaB // Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

KROQ // Website | Facebook | Twitter

Photo:// Watchara for Do LaB

[The Audiofiles] Beyond Wonderland: The Beauty and The Beats

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Every day is a delightful dance of dichotomy infused with synchronicity, where we’re flirting with paradoxes and adapting to chaos.  We’re perpetually awarded the opportunity to pursue our destiny and unearth our desires; though, to do so, it’s imperative that we’re constantly discovering ourselves, in an ever evolving fashion.  It’s not about reinventing the wheel, rather shedding our skin like snakes and blossoming like Babushka Dolls.

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
The Red QueenAlice in Wonderland –

Life, it seems, isn’t much different – working tirelessly to stay above water; where too often than not, we’re a victim of our own feedback cycles, part of the mundane 9 to 5 trivialities where we’re exhausted by the end of the work day and have to ration our passions.  But, when you go beyond yourself,  beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone, and beyond your preconceived notions, you can be free; when we go Beyond Wonderland, the possibilities are beautifully infinite and infinitely beautiful.

Ten years ago when I was still at UCSB, a few friends threatened me with a good time and convinced me to go to my first big music event: Electric Daisy Carnival 2006, or as they referred to it – a ‘rave’; and now, almost 10 years later, I was heading back to San Bernadino for my first Beyond Wonderland.  Rave, Massive, Music Festival …whatever you want to call it, what it ended up being was life changing. But what the media reports, is an entirely different story, and it’s imperative that we acknowledge the connotations surrounding the word.

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One look at any mainstream media source and you’d believe that the events run rampant with illicit drug use and explicit, if not deadly, amounts of consumption, a place where rules and regulations are replaced with dystopian views of reality. But spend one day engrossed in an event, one moment in the dancing shoes of someone who’s been there…come over to the other side just once and you’ll be singing a different song. Our festivals are explorations of time and space, creating a world that celebrates the moment and the best that humanity has to offer, where attendants have each others backs and look out for each other. The current negative stigma surrounding raves is even more unfortunate because these events more than live up to the literal definition.  One look into the linguistics and etymology of the word, and you’ll understand why.

Rave descends from the Old French raver, a variant of resver – meaning ‘to dream.’ By the 1700’s, to rave meant to discuss something with great enthusiasm and admiration.  During the 1950’s and 1960’s in England, ‘rave’ was a term used to describe wild bohemian parties, a word revived by the electronic music scene of the 1980’s.  The rest you could say – is dance music history.

But, it’s the second denotation that gets me: a rave is a physical framework added to the sides of a cart to increase its capacity.  Over the course of this ride we call life, a rave absolutely can increase it’s capacity – by increasing our emotional magnitude for understanding and the depth of our being by enriching us and enlightening us to the wonder we cultivate.  Built on individuality and creativity, raves are for the odd balls and weird eggs, the rare birds of a feather that get down together every blue moon under an electric sky.

Last weekend on Friday, March 18 and Saturday March 19,over 60,000 music fans arriving in festival families flocked to the stunning landscape of the San Manuel Amphitheater to dance away the last moments of Winter and Danny and I were both honored to capture the magic of the occasion.

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From lovely lightning on the overhang of the entryway to decadent decoration adorning literally all of the trees, the entire park was illuminated in a warm technicolor glow as an array of costumed characters filtered in, filling the grounds. With the combined Friday night and Festival traffic, we didn’t reach the festival until almost 10.  Dancing our way in to the sounds of Chris Lake, we gave our legs a quick stretch while we jumped in line for some tasty cold beverages.

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After quickly surveying the scene, we scampered from the Queen’s Domain, through the Cheshire Woods where Kink was throwing a good old fashioned House Party, and made our way to the Outer realm hosted by Dreamstate to scope out the very end of Myon & Shane 54’s Trance Showcase. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to an Insomniac show, and there’s no better feeling than the inspiring tones of trance booming from a glorious PK Sound System.  Next, Giuseppe Ottavianni & Solarstone dazzled the crowd with their ethereal, spine tingling performance as Pure NRG – but I had to pull myself back to the main arena for some feels as Galantis pulled out all the stops.

A supergroup made from Christian “Bloodshy” Karlsson of Miike Snow fame and Linus Eklöw, best known as Style of Eye, Galantis’ blissful beats layered over crooning vocals and textured synths made for one of the best sets of the weekend, playing hits from their debut album ‘Pharmacy‘ like ‘Runaway (U+I)‘ and my personal favorite’Peanut Butter Jelly‘. In a fit of irony, I tried to get a picture of their amazing Seafox visuals on my phone – but my phone apparently had other plans and took a hearty bath in my mixed drink. Originally annoyed, I quickly remembered that I knew all of three people out of the thousands in attendance, one of them being my fiance.  Almost immediately, I let a smile wash over my face as I resolved that the universe did me a solid by forcing me to forget about my electronic leash. Plus, Danny is an exceptional photographer and I knew I’d be able to rely on him to snap some stunners – which he definitely did!

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After another quick boogie with Kink in the Cheshire Woods, it was back to the Outer Realm to hear what Andrew Rayel had to offer: an uplifting, progressive Trance set that rattled your bones; a brand of ‘festival’ Trance that I immensely enjoy. While we were comfortably waiting on the lush grass, a jolly gentleman skipped by with his hands full of water bottles.  Eagerly, he turned to all of us – ‘Do you need any water…Would you like a bottle?’ He echoed, effusing the area with his infectious spirit. ‘We’re giving them out for free; here – have one!’ It’s this kind of spirit that creates the ethos of our community, and the type of giving that’s a cornerstone of our culture.

And then, what I’ve personally been waiting forever for – Ferry Corsten’s new live concept show: Gouryella.  From ‘Beautiful’, ‘Fire’ and’Into the Dark’ through ‘Black Velvet’ and ‘Twice in a Blue Moon’,  I’ve been a huge fan of Ferry’s for almost a decade now and  I find solace and strength within the weight of his music. And Gouryella did not disappoint – the poignant, visuals containing emotive questions forayed into mathematically influenced nature sequences as his driving brand of trance brought the music home.  At the end of the night, we made it back to the Queen’s Domain for some good, old fashioned champagne and bananas with Dada Life, as we kicked out the epic motherfucker to wind down the night.  The crowd was amped, with banana inspired totems, flags and costumes…which for the most part were amazing, but I have to admit that with a vast sea of totems clogging the bottom of the stage I feel like I’m missing part of the show.

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As I lamented the premature black screen of death on my phone while we sauntered out of the grounds, Danny and I were gleefully surprised as one of our favorite humans, and photographers, Juliana –known in the scene as Get Tiny,popped out of the woodwork as we made our way to our car.  If you haven’t seen her pictures, do yourself a favor – scope her out. One of the other two people I knew at the event, I was beyond ecstatic that our paths had crossed – but with the way festivals and coincides work, I was definitely not surprised – we were exactly where we needed to be.

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Get Tiny for Insomniac Events

With the last minute decision to attend Beyond Wonderland, I’ll be the first to admit that we weren’t the most prepared – but we did finagle a last minute hotel about ten minutes down the road from the event. Decompressing, we basked in the afterglow of Day 1.  As we cataloged memories, swooned over our favorite sets, I began to mull over the last few months and the direction of my life. Somewhere along the way, I’d convinced myself that I was growing up and out of the festival circuit. It’s not that I don’t, or didn’t, enjoy them – quite the contrary: I love festival. Maybe it’s the energy necessary to last at top emotional, mental, physical and spiritual shape for the entirety of the weekend events, or the detailed preparation that goes in from outfit choices to set times, the cacophony of personalities whose paths you cross…and on top of that, camping and surviving in the elements;  but, within that unique mixture of quality and quantity, I had burnt out.  Give me one night back at an Insomniac event, the music and the magic of community surrounding the event and the sheer ethos of it, and the fire inside has been reinvigorated ten fold.

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After an incredibly haphazard Saturday morning and afternoon that included absolutely no dull moments,  it was time to don our dancing gear and Caturday best to prepare to do it all over again – but with a twist!  Two of our good friends surprised us on Saturday afternoon after springing for a pair of tickets and we were excited to have our squad double in size for Day 2.  We made sure to get there with daylight to spare and headed straight through Sleepy Tom at the Queen’s Domain to the Outer Realm for Spag Heddi, one of our friend’s personal favorites and must see’s of the weekend. Hosted by the Bassrush Imprint on Saturday night, The Outer Realm highlighted the key players, movers and music makers currently in the Dubstep and Drum and Bass scenes…and not in Miami, but I digress.  It’s always more difficult to navigate a festival in the dark than the day, so we were on a mission to find the Ball Pit, the ‘Turning Wheel’,  Insomniac’s steam punk inspired art boat – the Beyond Wench, and their illusive fourth stage – The Upside-Down Room.

As we took in the sunset from the top of Lookout Mountain, it felt like the event was evolving in front of our eyes as layers of lasers at every angle cascaded through the cotton candy skies; and once again, we were off, off and away on the night’s musical adventure, gleefully bouncing back and forth between the stages, making sure to dance our way through each nook and cranny of the festival. Friday night had ample room to roam around, but with Saturday’s sold out status – I definitely felt the claustrophobia creeping in.  Good news is that I’ve never been around a more gracious group of people in my life, constantly with the ‘Please’ and ‘Excuse Me’…well, except for that one guy.  But apparently, more of the venue was used for last year’s festival and with the amount of flow toys that are admitted into the venue, I wouldn’t mind them expanding the grounds again for their next event.

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Klingande was an absolute delight, but I had to tear myself away for some Delta Heavy – but not before getting down to bangin’ Dirtybird sounds of Will Clarke.  One of my favorite groups for quite some time, I finally had my chance to catch Delta Heavy live.  Their euphoric drops and booming bass were doctor ordered and hearing ‘Ghost’ live was just as good as I expected.  Then it was back to the Queen’s Domain for a sonically salacious set from Slander, back again to the Outer Realm for an unbelievable set from Troyboi, who threw a full on electronically infused hip hop party.

After, we went back to the Queen’s Domain and headed  front and center for what I consider the best set of the weekend – an artist that refuses to fit into any one genre, Seven Lions.  Within one fell swoop during the height of his set, Seven Lions expertly fused ethereal Trance into a Bassnectar-esque breakdown and immediately into a Drumstep beat; I even had a few good cries to an incredible remix of Ferry Corsten’s ‘Beautiful’ and ‘No One On Earth’ from Above & Beyond.

With a few last minute changes, Doctor P was replaced on the lineup by the notorious NGHTMRE; I thought that my friends with last minute tickets would be a bit bummed by the revelation, but to the contrary – they were stoked!  After a few flight delays, NGHTMRE took the place of Ghastly on the Bassrush stage and oh my goodness, did he deliver – even giving us a hearty mix of ‘Gold Dust and closed out by bringing Slander on stage for one last song together.  Then, you guessed it, back to the main stage for the beginning of Deorro to get our Melbourne Bounce on.  As usual with the genre, there’s only so much I can take so I was thrilled to close out the night with some grooves on the giant Boombox, and then back to Datsik.

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While the clock neared 2 at the end of the night, Datsik started to close out his set with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ classic track ‘Otherside.’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually heard the song remixed, so I was delighted to hear the emotive chord progressions of the original, an ode to our childhood and the music that inspired our musical tastes – the music that pushed us to where we currently are today.  As the soundboard insisted they cut the music, Datsik turned to the audience and urged us to sing along a capella – and sing along we did: tens of thousands of us, with an abundance of voices there were so many harmonies, scales and tones that regardless of how loudly or softly, on or off key you sang – you fit, you had a niche, your voice had a place, and the collective brevity of our voices can move mountains.

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

For one weekend, thousands of friendly faces put their regular lives on hold in order to release themselves into a world where anything is truly possible.  A world where we give more than we take, offer compliments not condescension, decorate ourselves as loudly and boldly as we choose and can become whoever or whatever we desire.  We come together to celebrate the music and the moments, the beauty and the bass, while rediscovering our individuality within a heart warming community. For one weekend, we went Beyond Wonderland, and we’ve left forever changed.

Over the last twenty years, Pasquale Rotella and Insomniac Events have carefully created and curated an unshakable dynasty within dance music. The production value of the stages was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, it’s just as ostentatious, colorful and out of this world as it should be – and then some. I mean, did you see the water spouts on the Queen’s Domain, or that thrilling, shooting fire from the stage and sides of the Outer Realm, or any of the incredible fireworks shows?  Attend just one Insomniac Event and you simply won’t be able to take Fourth of July Fireworks seriously ever again.  Between the precise attention to each detail of the festival, pristine PK Sound System, ornate dancers and costumed characters in envy worthy costumes, a vibrant community with deep roots in the evolution of the dance scene and world class musicians, Beyond Wonderland proves once again that Rave is King.

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Next up for night owls and other rare birds of a feather – the sold out Bassrush Massive on April 2ndWe Are NRG heads to the NOS Center on May 20 + 21, Audio on the Bay May 28 + 29th in Northern California, and Nocturnal Wonderland was literally just announced for Labor Day Weekend. For those in Southern California, keep your ears to the ground for a new Warehouse party series in Downtown Los Angeles!

Be in the know on all things Insomniac and catch up on all the latest events through their social media channels.

Beyond Wonderland: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Insomniac Events: Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite”

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[The Audiofiles] Dive Down the Rabbit Hole at Beyond Wonderland

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One day in 2006, a wide eyed, wanderlust fueled, dream weaving music maven was thrust into the world of electric skies and daisies, unabashed personalities paired with unapologetic beauty, a mixture of hefty bass and ethereal trance with what felt like an unlimited supply of good vibes and good times.  Now, a decade later – the young woman that evolved from the chaos of the last few years will be entering a new adventure: diving down Insomniac’s fabled rabbit hole and into my first Beyond Wonderland.

Returning for it’s 6th year,  Beyond Wonderland and it’s headliners return to the San Manuel Amphitheater and Grounds in San Bernadino, California for an epic adventure into the heart of dance music. Between the interactive art installations, costumed creatives roaming the grounds, free hydration stations and an incredible array of performers on four stages spread out among the grounds – Beyond Wonderland has something special up it’s sleeve for all in attendance.I can tell you right now that my Trance Arms are ready and roaring to go for the Outer Realm hosted by Dreamstate where FERRY CORSTEN will finally debut his live GOURYELLA set on Friday, and then I’ll be right back again the next night for some Bass and booty shaking with DOCTOR P and DELTA HEAVY. Check the set times (and potential conflicts!) below.

Even though Insomniac’s events were where I evolved into the audiophile I am today, I actually haven’t been back to San Bernadino since How Sweet It Is 2009 – when HSII still existed; and I haven’t been to an Insomniac festival since their first EDC in Las Vegas back in 2011. I can’t wait to be back, back with my neon brothers and sisters in a vibrant setting surrounded by fantastic music.

In the past few years, Insomniac has paved the way for some festivals to transform into camping utopia’s for festival squadrons from near and far – this year at Beyond Wonderland is no different! Dare to dream and wish upon a star in the decorated nooks and crannies of the campground, including access to morning yoga and a Silent Disco.

To enter the camping areas, you must have a valid festival ticket and be over 18. The tent areas measure 10′ by 10′ and there is a maximum of 5 party people per tent. Though you can park remotely and walk in, note that there’s a free lot specifically for tent camping purposes and the lot is limited to 1 car per tent spot.

“These Wonderland events were born and raised in Southern California, and so much of their unique style is inspired by the Headliners who attend them…the magical spirit of our Headliners continues to make Beyond Wonderland a special experience.”Pasquale Rotella, Founder and CEO of Insomniac.

Feeling the festival FOMO yet? Don’t fret, there’s still time to join in the fun!

Purchase Tickets Here | RSVP on Facebook and bring the squad!

For more details, follow Beyond Wonderland and Insomniac Events on their socials –

Beyond Wonderland: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Insomniac Events: Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

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Article cross published on The DJ List – and stay tuned for a full recap and a plethora of pictures from my fantastic fiance 🙂

[The Audiofiles] Dive Into a Sea of Dreams

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Enjoying the festivities around the corner from my apartment at The Grove =)

When the holidays approach, there’s essentially one thing on every Audiofile’s mind: New Years Eve!  And then, of course, there are the quintessential questions that go along with it – what city to venture off to, what festival to attend, who to go with and last but most definitely not least, which sets to listen to and which you’re okay missing.

Whether you want to admit it or not, there’s a ton of planning that goes into celebrating the beginning of the New Year and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a new-found appreciation for it because for my first three years in Los Angeles, my NYE plans were non-existent and I was more or less okay with being a recluse.  Which, after two years of going to Together As One and several years of simultaneously celebrating my best friend’s birthday with the coming of the New Year, was definitely not in my character – but neither were the circumstances in my life

Thankfully, 2011 was a year of change and evolution for me and I haven’t looked back since.  The year before, I dove into Together As One head first and without a safety net – I’m guessing that sounds slightly strange for those of you that have been following my adventures and incredibly bizarre for those of you that know me personally, but if you will – hear me out.  After going through four crazy months of reconciling an ex’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder I was on the hunt for myself again and New Years Eve gave birth to a version of myself that I’ve been waiting for.

Next Tuesday from 9pm to 4am, Sea of Dreams will take over Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for an evening of positive energy, creativity, vibrancy and connection. Created by the creative geniuses at AnonEvents and thrown by the good people at Sunset Productions and Another Planet Entertainment, Sea of Dreams is now in it’s 11th year in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The event itself is a menagerie of high end performance art, stunning live musical acts, an extravagant ambiance and breathtaking decorations fit for Burning Man.  And to top it off, the community surrounding the event is as rich and vibrant as the festivities themselves.

Photo: MKGraph

In the past, headlining acts have included crowd-favorites like Bassnectar, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Ghostland Observatory, Beats Antique, Adam Freeland, Tipper and FreqNasty – just to name a few; and this year’s lineup is definitely one to compete with!  In the past, the musical talent has fallen more on the experimental side – as you can see above; but, as times are a changing – so are the musical acts and the community around them, and it shows just how big the event has gotten with the unexpected addition of mainstream EDM acts like A-Trak and Dillon Francis.  Now, don’t get it twisted – I love them; I just didn’t expect to see them sitting on a line-up next to Emancipator and LowRIDERz. There’s nothing quite like getting myself musically ready for the event, so I’m pleased to announce this year’s lineup along with some required listening for the night’s festivities – enjoy, because I know I will!

Thievery Corporation

Hailing from DC, Thievery Corporation have been expertly meshing the musical elements of reggae, dub and acid jazz with Indian, Middle Eastern and Brazilian sounds to produce some of the best downtempo electronic music around since ’95.  I don’t know how it took me so long to appreciate their stylistic differences, but they’re refreshing to listen to – especially with all of the redundant EDM on the scene these days.

Little Dragon

Though they were formed in ’96, it wasn’t until the past year that Little Dragon migrated from an indie-electro, trip-hop Swedish trifecta into a hat-trick of musical geniuses appreciated the world over.

Photo: MK Graphy

Shpongle

A-Trak

When he’s not spinning next to Armand van Helden in Duck Sauce or getting into some family values with his brother, who just happens to be half of the indie-electro band Chromeo, A-Trak is handing out hit after hit on his Fools Gold Record Label. His style sits delightfully between bouncy Eletro-house beats and bass heavy Hip-Hop and after becoming the first DJ to win three major DJ competition titles (DMC, ITF and Vestax) as well as the first DJ to win five World Championships, he’s definitely one to be reckoned with.

Dillon Francis

Hailed as the creator of Moombhaton (The BPM of Dubstep, but cut in half) – Dillon Francis has etched a permanent position as the class clown of EDM.  But don’t let his affinity of cats, Taco Bell or his alter-ego DJ Hanzel fool you, Dillon Francis knows how to throw a party and in the past two years of seeing him perform, he has yet to disappoint.  To boot, he stands as one of the few DJs and Producers that I’m simply itching to be best friends and have kitty play-dates with.

Emancipator

Hands down, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere that Emancipator creates with his music.  Originally from Portland, Oregon – Emancipator submerses the listener in a musical experience rich with live instruments and pulsing harmonies.

LowRIDERz (Laura Low & An-Ten-Nae)

Rob Garza (of Thievery Corp.)

Minnesota

Photo: MKGraph

We have three members of Claude VonStroke’s DirtyBird crew coming through –

J.Phlip

Worthy

Christian Martin

Thriftworks

And rounding out the lineup are SambaDrop, Nolan Gray, Jocelyn, Dax Lee.  With only five days left in 2013, do you know where you’ll be when the ball drops??

Photo: MKGraph

Doing it Right: The Electric Run

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When it comes to running, let me be the first to tell you that it’s neither my forte nor something I’ve been interested in for very long. I grew up playing basketball, volleyball and swimming – nothing that required running long distances or for extended periods of time.  But then, last spring – something weird happened:  my tried and true GTI 1.8T decided to have a crisis of faith and stop working.  Transitioning to bipedalism wasn’t the biggest issue in the world; when I moved into my apartment last year, one of the first things I looked up was the “walk-ability” of the neighborhood and was pleasantly surprised that the area had a score of 91 out of 100 – meaning daily errands don’t require a car.  Instead of driving to get produce or supplies for the apartment, I was walking here there and everywhere; except for one minor detail – the gym.  Not being a runner, I was at a loss for a few days…I would run the stairs in the apartment, go for long walks or do some yoga; unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t the same.  So, I did the unthinkable: I started running.

Electric Run LocationsI started slow and steady by running a bit then walking it off; slowly, I worked up to changing the ratio – running for a mile, walking a few blocks, then running another mile.  And then the strangest thing happened – I started falling in love with the balance of breath and movement, grace and growth.  I didn’t have an end goal when I started, but through social media channels I found out about something fabulous called the Electric Run – a 5Kfunrun that’s best described as the illegitimate child of a rave and a half marathon; and to boot, the inaugural one was essentially going to be in my backyard – Orange County.

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Over 10,000 people signed up to be part of this ridiculously fun – and incredibly well run – event.  The premise was that the entire 5K course was adorned with lights, lasers and speakers blasting some of the best EDM currently around while participants decked out in their favorite glow and neon outfits frolicked around the track.  There were families and there were rambunctious teenagers; there were people determined to run their hearts out and others who just wanted to take it in and dance.  Before the run, we were all handed an official T-Shirt and some glow gear of our very own – and others dressed to the 9’s in LEDs, EL-wire and their very own outfit creations (we even saw a ‘ma5 head!).  Employees of the Electric Run were scattered around with cups of water and high fives of encouragement and at the finish line we were showered with granola bars, cheap shots of whiskey and a live performance from DJ’s Sultan and Ned Shepherd.  You were basically welcome to enjoy the intersection of exercise and playtime anytime you wanted. I had an absolute blast running around with my friends and taking it all in – if the Electric Run comes to your city, hop on it like it’s your job!

Sprinting to the end…

Sultan & Ned Shepherd

Doing It Right: HARD Presents – Day of the Dead

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I think I’m finally on the verge of recovery from last weekend’s shenanigans – in typical Bouncy Kitty fashion, I more than enjoyed myself at the Music Festival last Saturday.  Sure, there were lines and there was pushing, it took forever to get in and then there were a clusterfuck of people – but that all comes with the territory of festival dwelling and was more or less expected.  Between the chaos and the camaraderie, I had such an amazing night with some of my closest friends – here are some of the highlights:

First of all, not to toot our costume horn but beepm’f’in’beep, my friends! The other weekend a zany, but plausible idea popped into my head in the middle of a brainstorming sesh: My friends and I were discussing our habitual Halloween “fall back” costumes, and a few of us admitted it was actually our “Plan A” every year and mine just happens to be a kitty cat (shocker…).  Well, because we were going to ‘Day of the Dead‘ I thought it’d be fun to incorporate some morbidity into our costumes – so, obviously, I opted for “Dead Cat”…which turned into “Dead Animals”…which somehow turned into “Hey, guys! Let’s be ROADKILL!”  I knew I loved my friends before, but I adore them 150% more because they went along with my ridiculously awesome idea.

Sexy Pieces of Dead Ass

The next highlight of the evening was getting a chance to finally see Miss Maya Jane Coles in action – as much as this was a personal highlight, it doesn’t begin to tell you how effing excited all my friends were.  She was the sole reason they bought their tickets and fended off the damn bike fences – hands down, one of the best deep house sets I’ve heard all year and according to my friends it was 110% completely worth it.

One thing I love about using LA State Historic Park as a venue is the ample stage space for ostentatious set-ups.  The Earstorm Stage where Knife Party ripped the festival a new one was no exception – it was huge, fabulous and stocked to the brim with more lights and lasers than I could count.

EARStorm Stage: Knife Party, Kill the Noise, Tommy Trash, Zane Lowe….

Last – but certainly far from least – I FINALLY SAW KNIFE PARTY!  When Knife Party came into the scene last year I didn’t know how to feel or what to expect from their evolution as a group – but the more I listen to them, the more enthralled I am by what they produce: this melodic dissonance that I simply can’t get enough of.

Knife Party – Save the World

Knife Party – Internet Friends