As I got off the freeway on route to the Anaheim Convention Center, I noticed that there was a thick layer of fog covering the area. While some might have not thought twice about this fog, I began to wonder if this was all part of Insomniac’s production for the premier of their brand new two-night New Years Eve event, White Wonderland. As someone who is very familiar with the production capabilities and imagination Insomniac possesses, I really wouldn’t have put it past them to cover the place in fog to give party -goers the experience they are are always known to provide. Alas, the fog was just that…fog…but helped the ambiance none the less.
I have to admit that I was particularly excited about White Wonderland for many reasons, it was at a new venue, the Anaheim Convention Center, the event was 21+, and the “All White Attire” requirement by all attendees.
Venue: My first impression of the venue was the parking, which was conveniently located yards from the actual convention center, fairly priced, and had security patrolling the area. Entrance was a breeze, ID checks, the usual security pat down and ticket scanning took only a few minutes. Once inside, I was really impressed with the spacious venue. The massive space was split into sections- the main stage, lounge area, and several station where attendees could get drinks, food and merchandise, even a well organized coat check. The layout cut down on unbearable crowding, gave people plenty of room to dance and move, and also had room for people to just relax and hangout away from the madness of the stage.
Production: I think the most impressive part of White Wonderland was that it was a last minute event for Insomniac and they still came through with production which started with the attendees. The sea of white attire throughout the event added an amazing effect to the event. Besides the crowd participation, other addition including what seemed like every laser within Southern California packed into the venue, snow sprinkled down from the ceiling, aerialist performed over the crowd, and dancers performed on icebergs around the venue. The bar/lounge area was reminiscent of a high-end club, with couches, tables, fully packed bars and even sushi.
Music: Remember that fog I mentioned earlier? That fog would eventually play into White Wonderland, because of the fog Kaskade was unable to fly into John Wayne Airport and missed his set. The set was filled in by Trent Cantrelle extending his set, and Dadalife performing later. Benny Benassi, who brought in the New Year, had the best set of the evening. Dadalife performed their usual set, which I think I’ve seen too many times in 2011, and Paul Van Dyk who has been mostly MIA in Southern California massives since 2010, closed out the night. The music on the night number two, with Steve Angello, Max Vangeli, and AN21, was definitely superior to the first evening.
Overall, the debut White Wonderland, was the seed to what will be the premier New Years Eve event in Southern California very soon, probably by next year. It’s really amazing what Insomniac was able to put together in such a short time.