Pasquale Rotella on the Nocturnal Wonderland Camping Experience (Plus a New Contest!)

Don’t you just dread the moment the last few notes drift into the air as a festival ends? And God forbid you lose your friends. What about when you’re too tired to drive back to your hotel? Or… you get the point.

For Nocturnal Wonderland on September 5 and 6 at the San Manuel Ampitheater & Grounds in San Bernardino, CA, Insomniac Events has upped the immersive-experience ante with on-site camping so you never have to miss a momentbut hurry, the 1,000 campsites sold out last year and are almost gone (approximately 3,500 to 4,000 campers). DJOYbeat caught up with Insomniac Founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella to talk about how you can become part of the camping community—and how your creativity can open the door to their next event.

What are some of the benefits to camping for those that haven’t stayed in the area and attended Nocturnal Wonderland before?

You get a better and longer experience by camping because you get to come in on Thursday (a day before the festival), avoid all the traffic, you can come at any time you want and there’s less people on the road. Going in and out each day can be a little bit stressful. It’s safer, there’s no stress, you don’t have to round up your friends and can just meet at the campsite when everyone’s ready. Your night doesn’t end because there’s activities after the doors have closed to the festival. It’s safer and it’s more fun.

Le Panda 2 - Nocturnal Wonderland 2013 CampgroundsWhat are some of the fun activities planned for the campground?

There’s arts and crafts, swimming, waterslides and fishing. At night we have a silent disco that goes from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. which is really fun. Camping on it’s own—forget about the festival for a second. Being with your friends, roughing it out and socializing and setting up your camp, the whole activity of just being there in nature is fun. I haven’t taken Rainbow camping yet and I can’t wait to. That’s just fun on it’s own. I think the sense of community that’s built is part of it, too, and that goes on the whole time you’re there.

Do people get into the Insomniac spirit and decorate their tents/campsites? Is there a contest for the coolest one?

Yes! Some people will dress up their tents just because they want to. What we’ve done this year is we want to encourage people to dress up their tents a little more, so I’m having some tickets given away for our Halloween show [All Hallows’ Eve on October 31 and November 1]. Everyone in that campsite will get tickets to our next festival.

Can we bring pony beads to make kandi with other campers during the day?

We’ll have everything you need, but if you bring kandi yourself, then that’s even more awesome because you’ll have unique pieces.

Will there be a cell phone charging station like the festival has?

Yes, there will be cell charging at the campgrounds.

Does anyone actually fish? I don’t know many ravers that possess that particular skill set.

[Laughs.] Yes, there have been people that fish, believe it or not. That’s funny because I wondered that, too. More people are on the waterside, but there were people that did fish during the weekend.

Do people trade and barter things like at Burning Man?

I think neighbors share with one another, absolutely. Everyone’s friendly, there’s good vibes. If you need something and they have extra, or you want to trade something, that’s definitely there. We encourage people to help each other out and look out for one another.

Are camping experiences something we may see in Las Vegas in the future since additional Insomniac festivals will be moving there in 2015?

I wanted to do a camp out—not necessarily camping, but RVs. I think it would be amazing. They do it for NASCAR. The only thing, EDC, the time of year, it’s too hot. Even though it would only be RV camping, we can’t rely on the fans bringing an RV where the air conditioning works and that it’s a newer model. We thought of everything like, “What if we only allow people to bring this year to now? Like, 2000 to the current year RVs? The air conditioner should work in those, right?” But if the air conditioner goes out and the heat in June? It just wouldn’t work out.

We have been working on bringing another festival to Vegas and we’re talking about months that you could camp where if your air conditioner went out, you’d be okay. But health and safety is our number one priority, so we have to think about those things and that’s the only thing that’s stopped us from doing it in Vegas. But if we could have every one of our events be a camping show we’d do it. The sense of community and the fun that’s involved is so good and adds so much we want to do it at as many festivals as we can!

Don’t miss out as camping passes and tickets are almost gone! Visit for more info.

(Lead image by Oh Dag Yo. Additional photos by Le Panda.)

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