Festival Review: Escape Halloween 2016

escape-halloweenYes, I know its December and no longer October, but Countdown NYE is just around the corner! So here is my review on Escape Psycho Circus to get you pumped and ready for Insomniac’s next event. Not only will I be providing you with my in depth experience while I attended this event, but some tips just in case you are new to the rave scene.

Escape is held at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino, CA. This event is rising in popularity since it is the last Halloween musical festival in California. Due to the positive responses of the past year, Pasquale Rotella the CEO of Insomniac Events, decided to bring back the theme of Psycho Circus for their 2016 festival. For the very first time they created an actual haunted house, that I unfortunately did not get a chance to experience.

Insomniac cares about their guests more than what most would expect and so here is what I have learned about them from my experience. Insomniac allows their guests to dress up, but does have a dress code that prohibits cultural appropriation. In my opinion that is fantastic that they are taking the time to be activists as well! Insomniac is one of the few event organizers who have begun to allow organizations, who inform event goers or better known by the rave scene as headliners, about drug use and some even offer testing kits. They are not encouraging drug use, but are trying to prevent individuals from taking stuff that is not what they bought or from overdosing. Insomniac as well, offers other safety and wellness services such as medical tents, free hydration stations, and Group Control. Group Control is a team of individuals wearing purple shirts and fanny packs; they walk around making sure people are okay and hydrated. There is a strong stigma that you need to be on drugs in order to enjoy these events, and instead of creating more restrictions or cancelling the events all together; they provide services to help people. This is part of what is known as the PLUR culture which I will get into later.

The minute I stepped into Escape, I felt like I was in wonderland! There were hundreds of thousands of people dressed in costumes surrounded by bright colorful lights and a beautiful lake in the middle of the event. There were carnival games, rides, food, and even a Ferris wheel. There were actors everywhere dressed in costumes in regards to theme of Psycho Circus. Wherever you were people were smiling and even checking up on strangers who seemed to be lost or ill. That was the beauty of PLUR culture, which stands for peace, love, unity, and respect. At these events you let go of everything and just enjoy the music and people. People wear bracelets known as Kandi, and trade them at these events. There is a specific set of hand gestures in regards to the acronym PLUR and after completing it you each trade a bracelet, necklace, mask, or any piece of jewelry you crafted out of colorful beads.

The stages were massive and the crowds were so large that I am not even sure how I managed to make it to the front of the main stage when I saw the Chainsmokers and Hardwell. If you were standing near the front of the stage, you were able to capture the musician who seemed like a spec on the stage and the performers infront of you dancing in Halloween costumes. If you were towards the back you were able to enjoy the visuals from the lights and the hand crafted totem poles in the crowd. You as well could jump in on the shuffle circles that were always seen towards the back. There was honestly no bad spot to stand and enjoy the performances. The music would just consume you and if you took a moment to look around you within the crowd you could see the pure joy and peace on others faces. There was no sense of judgment at all and it was very cool to see individuals expressing themselves outside of the gender binary. By that I mean men were dressed in what society would consider feminine attire or vice versa for women and instead of being ridiculed EVERYONE embraced them! That day was probably the greatest day of my life and I wish I could relive it over and over. I was able to see Armin Van Buuren, Benny Benassi, Borgore, Boombox Cartel, the Chainsmokers, Eric Prydz, Hardwell, Jauz, Martin Solveig, Zomboy, and my favorite Tchami! Festivals are seen to the public as places where people go just to do drugs, but it is so much more than that. It is a place where you can be yourself, people are kind no matter what, and everyone there is attending for the same reasons as you! TO ENJOY THE MUSIC! I highly encourage attending one of these events. It is life changing.

Here are some tips I gathered from asking other headliners and my own knowledge:

-Stay Hydrated! I highly suggest buying a water backpack.
-Take breaks! It gets very hot within those crowds and it is a full two day event.
-Have a meet up spot just in case ya’ll split up. Phones typically don’t get service.
-Carry a fanny pack to put your phone, keys, and wallet in.
-Make kandi and get into the PLUR culture! Tell people it is your first time!
-Make new friends and enjoy the music!!

I hope you all enjoyed this review and these tips. Make sure to check out my review next fall because I will be attending EDC Las Vegas! Keep it PLUR!

Reviewed By Justin Torres

Written by Web Team

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