2012 Nocturnal Wonderland

“We have to leave Nevada to see each other!” one Las Vegas friend commented during Nocturnal Wonderland 2012 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif. Insomniac Events’ longest-running festival—and my fave—once again seemed to welcome the more hard-core of electronic-dance music fans Sept. 21-22.

As opposed to Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas in June, multiple Las Vegas fans who made the pilgrimage to Nocturnal echoed the sentiment that they felt they had to leave town to hear something different. And that they did, in droves. Highlights included an amazing live instrumentation set courtesy of Orbital and digging deep with John Digweed, two acts likely to continue skipping Las Vegas on their tours.

On the production front, Nocturnal 2012 seemed a bit scaled back from previous years, especially when compared with the incredible Alice’s House stage in 2010. This year also felt less busy, one theory being that the increasing number of Insomniac festivals might be over-saturating the market. But the overall environment still feels more encompassing than EDC in terms of attention to detail and décor.

“Because the production in Vegas was very big, it brings the people to another level,” Joachim Garraud told Vegas Seven after his energetic set. “I was not expecting to have such a good time in San Bernardino, because when I ask people, ‘What’s happening in San Bernardino?’ they say, ‘Nothing! It’s only the hottest point in California!’ [But there was] the same energy and the same feeling, so I’m excited for both places.”

“Last year’s Nocturnal is where it all started [for us]; we didn’t think it could get any better, but this year blew our minds even more,” Bassjackers said. Added R3hab, “Nocturnal was crazy and had amazing atmosphere. Californian crowds always kill it!” For locals not wanting to make the trek, EDC is a great experience. But for those looking for even more musical variety, Nocturnal Wonderland typically takes place in September, so keep an eye on NocturnalWonderland.com.