Spending Trancegiving at Insomniac’s Dreamstate SoCal
Where do I even begin? Last weekend was my 4th year spending Thanksgiving weekend AKA Trancegiving at Insomniac’s Dreamstate SoCal. For those who are unfamiliar, Dreamstate is one of the largest Trance festivals in North America held at the NOS Center in San Bernardino, California. The first Dreamstate began in 2015 as a single stage and has expanded into San Francisco, Mexico, and now Europe! This event has quickly escalated as one of my favorite festivals of all time because the music, vibes, and people are just absolutely amazing! Keep reading to find out what makes this show so special.
If I’m going to be honest, it took me years to really understand and appreciate trance. My husband got me into the scene about 8 years ago, and up until around 3 years ago, I was a little neutral on it to some degree. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting older or that EDM overall has changed quite a bit, but I’ve come to really love the unique sounds and creativity that goes into this genre! This year’s lineup was really exciting to me because it had a lot of artists I hadn’t seen before like System F, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Solarstone, Lost in Noise, Chris Schweizer, and many others on the list below. I was actually excited to see that Dreamstate didn’t book any mainstream names like Armin, ATB, etc. It felt like a lot of the true trance lovers were there! My favorites for Friday were Giuseppe Ottaviani and Solarstone! Bryan Kearney, System F, and Lost in Noise were my top picks for Saturday!
Dreamstate has always taken place at the NOS and this year there were 3 stages. I noticed that the production was definitely scaled back this year compared to previous years (less décor, a decent amount of the venue was closed off, not many lights, no performers), but it was nice to see that more money went into the main stage. Insomniac brought the Mega structure from EDC over and I was impressed with the sound and visuals at the main stage.
My husband and I spent most of our time at the “Vision” (the warehouse looking structure). It was nice and warm with plenty of people!
I didn’t catch any psytrance this time, but I was able to snap a shot and check out “The Sequence” stage for a little bit!
This crowd is very by the books “PLUR” and also older than other festivals (mid-twenties and up). Plenty of people trading kandi, smiling, friendly, and just great vibes over all! Nothing is perfect, and I know some people did have their phones stolen, but unfortunately I’ve noticed this happening often over the last few years. Aside from that, I loved meeting new people and also catching up with familiar faces since the venue wasn’t packed. It was so easy to find people since the event wasn’t sold out. There was even reception! I loved having space and not feeling like a Sardine (totally how I felt at Escape).
I’ve noticed that Dreamstate attendees tend to wear more vibrant colored attire along with kandi and fluffies! I love the old school raver look and often get sad when I go to other festivals and see that not many others sport that look anymore. Even saw some people wearing those amazing parachute pants! It was really cold both nights, so I am so happy I opted for faux fur jackets, pants, and fluffies! My wig on night one really trapped in a lot of heat. 😊
My husband is sporting a light up jacket, glasses and shoes from Flashing Blinky Lights
Tickets were pretty affordable for an Insomniac event. We paid about $130 each for a two-day GA pass and found a decent hotel deal at a Best Western about 6 minutes away. Always try to snag tickets and a hotel as soon as you can for the best price! There were still tickets available at the door for around $75 the day of which isn’t too bad.
Food was standard and consisted of typical vendors such as burgers, fries, fruit, salads, tacos, etc. Drinks were overpriced as always and we actually had an awful experience with one of the workers. We normally don’t order drinks, but it was the last night and we decided to go all out. I ordered a tequila double with red bull and our bartender was really generous with the pour. I heard someone on the side say “that’s good, stop.” and I was really confused. It turns out that this was her manager and he was micromanaging from the sidelines. When she poured my husband’s double jack and coke, it was a split second pour with maybe a single shot. Normally we wouldn’t make a big deal about this, but they were charging $50 for these drinks!! When we spoke up to the manager, he said it was two shots and that he would fire her if she added more. I guess the guy was on some sort of power trip, but you really can’t claim a drink has x amount of shots when a shot glass isn’t even being used. Oh well, rant over.
- Affordable tickets for a two-day event
- Great music and lineup
- Good vibes and crowd
- Age range is a little older (at least mid-twenties)
- Not too crowded, easy to find a spot and move between stages
- Lack of décor/performers
- Colder weather if that’s a con for you!
- During Thanksgiving (a pro for me since it’s a long weekend)
Dreamstate was definitely one of my favorite festivals of 2018! EDC was really close in ranking, but you can’t beat the vibes and music! I highly recommend attending if you are into trance or are even curious about it at all. I’m already looking forward to next year! If you went, what were your highlights? I would love to hear!