Walking in Nocturnal Wonderland

I consider myself a pretty big fan of electronic music, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand rave culture. I’ve been to a handful of EDM shows and festivals over the past few years, but Nocturnal Wonderland is by far the most overwhelming example of rave subculture I’ve ever experienced.


This past weekend, I attended my second Nocturnal Fest, which occurs annually in a very isolated area of central Texas. Though this festival is about an hour and a half from Austin and other metropolitan communities, promoters Insomniac Events still manage to book impressive artists every year. For instance, some of the major names on this year’s lineup included Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris and Royksopp – these guys frequent Ultra Music Festival stages and have song samples on Kiss FM – odd that they’d agree to come to a shitty town miles away from civilization.

The community of rave enthusiasts in attendance is overwhelming because there’s always an abundance of ironically dressed people. People wear sunglasses hours after the sun sets. Girls bare their midriff and their cleavage, but pair their skimpy undergarments with massive furry boots. Everyone’s wearing neon and accessorized in an assortment of beads, glow bracelets and glitter and the origins for these wardrobe trends is still beyond foreign to me. My friends and I took a conservative route by dressing in bright, ridiculous, but ultimately normal clothes –

I still had a great time spectating. The level of talent present at the festival is enough reason to make the commute and regret it the next day after hours of walking, dancing and drinking. I also crossed Tiesto off the bucket list of DJs to see; his sample of Joy Formidable (video below) was the highlight of my evening (that didn’t end until 6 am).

It’s possible that I’ll never truly understand the subculture because I’ve never “rolled” on whatever mind-bending drugs these crazy kids take nowadays. The kinds that cause grown men to suck on pacifiers. But I will say – I will never get tired of seeing bros wearing these ridiculous RAGE trucker hats.

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