Going down the rabbit hole in Beyond Wonderland at The Gorge (DMNW Review)


On June 18th and 19th we had the immense pleasure of attending the second Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge hosted by Insomniac. Between the music, the venue, and the overall experience of Beyond Wonderland, we were pleasantly surprised to find that this was one of the most well-run festivals we’ve attended in the Gorge.

Credit: Michael-John Aprahamian

The music

The alignment for Beyond Wonderland was extremely diverse. Artists from all major genres performed, from tech-house and old-school electronica to dubstep and experimental bass. We were especially pleased to see so much female and LGBTQ representation throughout the weekend.

It was also great to hear such a wide variety of genres throughout the artist listings. Dubstep DJs spun drum and bass jumpers and house DJs played downtempo jams that kept us on our toes. When we hear some of our favorite artists play songs, we would never expect them to put us in a state of perpetual wonder and suspense. It was a great festival to discover new artists and broaden horizons.

Beyond Wonderland in the Gorge

Credit: Michael-John Aprahamian

The weekend’s performances were mostly composed of completely new selections, with many artists showcasing incredible new music. Almost every artist had tons of unreleased new music, releases, and works in progress. We could clearly hear and see that during the downtime of quarantine, these producers spent their time honing their craft and making a lot of new and fresh sounds.

Beyond Wonderland in the Gorge

Credit: Brady Cole

The place

As soon as we entered the venue, we noticed the vast amount of never-before-seen decorations and displays throughout the festival grounds. Alice in Wonderland-themed installations included tall fences shaped like chess pieces and a huge wooden Cheshire cat with a dummy tea party inside.

Credit: Michael-John Aprahamian

Beyond Wonderland in the Gorge

Credit: Dave Visissimo

The stages were decorated to a degree we had never seen before. Fractal Valley’s main stage was covered to accent the video walls and featured a blinking eyeball at its peak. The other two stages were also well equipped with themed decorations, lights and pyrotechnics. All three stages had incredible sound quality and plenty of room to dance.

Beyond Wonderland in the Gorge

Credit: Brady Cole

Amenities like water stations and bathrooms were easily accessible and we never had to wait in line for more than a few minutes. A wide variety of food, drinks, merchandise and attractions left endless entertainment aside from the three stages available.

the experience

Overall, the Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge experience was excellent. The festival presentation was immersive and entertaining from entry to exit. Festival performers roamed the crowds and stages with massive floating butterflies and flowers. There were plenty of places to take photos with friends and festival actors, including a giant inflatable teapot and the Queen of Hearts’ throne. The attention to detail and abundance of activities held at this event was a feast for the senses.

Beyond Wonderland in the Gorge

Credit: Michael-John Aprahamian

Aside from the broad feel of Beyond Wonderland, we enjoyed a few things in particular. The free pre-party organized by Insomnia it was a great way to start the weekend and give us a taste of what was to come. There was also a surprise special guest at the festival: Pasquale Rotella, CEO of Insomniac, toured the Gorge, talking, taking photos and reveling in the tens of thousands of people in attendance.

Beyond Wonderland at the Gorge has set a high bar for great events in the Northwest. From start to finish we were thoroughly entertained in a safe and positive environment enjoying the company of over 20,000 beautiful people. The two days and three nights of performances from artists across the spectrum of electronic dance music was truly an incredible experience and we’re already excited for next year.



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Jamie Lynch

Jamie Lynch