White Wonderland Festival Surprises At The Anaheim Convention Center
For two days, there was more white concentrated in the Anaheim Convention Center than anywhere else in Southern California, creating a dramatic effect on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
As the giant LED clock behind Benny Benassi ticked down to midnight on New Year's Eve, a pulsing sea of white covered every square foot of the massive dance floor. Snow floated down, settling on the heads of the sold-out crowd. Working its magic as usual, Insomniac Events had transformed the venue into a classy White Wonderland experience for thousands of its guests. The audience also contributed to the atmosphere by wearing fully white attire to the party.
Not surprisingly, the highly-anticipated Swedish duo Dada Life was a crowd favorite with their outstanding high-energy set. The crowd literally went bananas for them, complete with the signature Dada Life giant inflatable bananas and champagne bottle, which they held up in the air and pumped along to the music.
On Saturday night the crowd collectively held its breath, waiting until midnight to bid farewell to 2011, a bittersweet year that many wouldn't mind saying goodbye to. That energy seemed to be mixed with apprehension and cautiously high hopes for 2012. Once the new year arrived, slates were wiped clean, hopes and dreams were restored, and the excited crowd let loose in celebration and anticipation for the new year.
Regardless of what 2012 holds, there was a collective feeling that it is a time for change, and the all-white theme set the tone for a mellower yet optimistic atmosphere. DJ Trent Cantrelle started the party in 2011, and Paul van Dyk closed it out in 2012 of the same night.
The crowd's consensus was that the second night ramped up the energy, lights, and special effects such as confetti and colorful streamers. After making our way to the front row and staying there through Steve Angello's set, we experienced the elements up close with a blizzard of foam snow straight to the face and fireworks so close we could feel the heat. It was a complete multi-sensory experience.
We enjoyed the music up close until it was time for me to go backstage to chat with Thomas Gold, a crowd favorite, after his highly interactive and energetic two-hour set. Named breakthrough DJ/Producer of 2010 by Axwell and other top artists in DJ Mag, the German DJ was a joy to speak with.
Keeping with the theme, the DJs also dressed in white, as did the futuristic dancers, complete with wings, lights and masks. Also clad in white, aerialists performed acrobatics from white silks hanging from the ceiling alongside giant faux snowflakes.
When meeting up with my group after the interview, I found them by the soundstage, at our designated meeting spot (tip: soundstage is a good place to reunite if lost). Enjoying more space to dance in the back, we admired the entire scene from the opposite perspective. The only bright colors in the house were the streamers falling from the ceiling and the dazzling display of laser lights overhead, which splashed the crowd with waves of changing colors like paint on a white canvas.
Although it was a bit easier for girls to get creative with their white outfits and accessories, many guys went to great lengths to stand out, showing up in costumes such as Trix rabbits, deadmau5, Buzz Lightyear, white bananas, and a panda.
Once again, Insomniac went the extra mile to provide an atmosphere that transported SoCal partygoers to a foreign winter wonderland. Coupled with two nights of quality music to transition into the new year, it was undoubtedly one for the books. A new year brings with it a new beginning, a journey into the unknown, with the only sure thing being inevitable change. As such, it will be exciting to see what new tricks the EDM scene has in store for its growing fan base in 2012 and beyond.
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