2022 Standouts: Insomniac Music Festivals

As this year winds down it’s time again to look at the people and companies who stood out. Insomniac, producer of such music festivals as Electric Daisy Carnival, Hard Summer, Beyond Wonderland and Hard Ship! Wrecked kept true to course.

Their festivals are deep dives into the Electronic Dance Music world, bringing together thousands of devotees of the DJ life into one place where the music plays continuously, and there is almost never a break in the sound.

Insomniac has slowly built its presence since its founding by Pasquale Rotella in 1993. Currently, they have more than four million consumers attending festivals from one hundred and sixty three countries. That’s an amazing reach across cultures and a solid base of fans who will likely continue to purchase tickets.

This year showed the continuing migration from bands with instruments to DJs with thumb drives and Pioneer mixing boards as the future of a large subset of festival attendance. To attend a four-day festival such as Hard Summer! Wrecked in Riviera Maya Mexico was like taking a trip to adult summer camp.

Hard Summer was a complete takeover of the Hard Rock Hotel. This is an all-inclusive event. When you purchase the room it includes the festival admission on the grounds of the property plus unlimited food and drinks across all the facilities on site.

Like everything in which Insomniac’s Meg Deschenes has a hand, there is an aesthetic element in play as well. The branding is consistent, there are themed food nights, and the grounds are celebratory with lighting, signage and coordinated colors all to enhance the atmosphere.

A music festival set on the beach with a complete hotel buyout has a distinctly different feel than a drive to festival. Everyone is together for the duration. Rather than just arriving, dancing, and leaving for the night, you see the same people pass by as they go to the water, to lunch or later as the sun sets, and the music starts back up at full force. As such, there’s more of a communal element to it all.

Similarly, the DJs tend to use this time as a mini vacation. They too hang out together, with surprise pop up collaborations or simply talking music on the beach. Unlike the standard festivals where the headliners only play at night, here the most well known still take an afternoon turn on the beach stage.

Because the festival is entirely contained within the hotel property, there is a lot of room at maneuver. This gives a luxurious feeling to the event. You can be as close to the stage as you wish, unlike the distance away which is normal in bigger attended events.

Of course, Insomniac also produces Electric Daisy Carnival, which might have as many as 400,000 in attendance, so they certainly know how to handle full scale crowds. But it is the intimacy of the Hard Ship! Wrecked crowd which is an unexpected joy. There, the performers alternate between taking the stage and becoming part of the audience. Over the four days of the festival, it turns out that it’s also DJ bonding time. They’re around and about in the restaurants, bars, at the pool and on the beach. By removing the hard barrier between performers and audience which exists at almost every performance event, the divide between performers and fans slowly abates. That brings cohesion to the crowds who then attend the evening performances more as being among friends than fans behind a barrier.

Those who attend music festivals tend to break into two groups: those willing to attend events within their driving radius, and those who see events as the draw to take them out of their comfort zone and someplace new. Traveling to the tip of Baja California, or any of the other distant events which Insomniac produces adds both expense and adventure to the trip. Sometimes the adventure is enhanced because you are somewhere new or foreign. Out of your comfort zone allows for trying different ways to experience the space and the event. There are a lot of arguments in favor of going to a tropical beach location as a retreat a couple of weeks before Christmas. It’s warm, it’s all encompassing and because you are someplace new there is more to experience than just the music. If we could just get a DJ set to include Feliz Navidad, that might be the perfect coda to top off the year in EDM.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericfuller/2022/12/29/2022-standouts-insomniac-music-festivals/