Fall is the season for massives in Southern California, perhaps because Halloween is the best excuse to dress more eccentrically than any other time of the year.
Attendees can expect the theatrical productions of each of these upcoming events to be a full-scale show with lights, sound and special effects of quality that surpasses previous years.
The fact that there are three massives in the span of one week — and with similar themes — creates fierce competition among the different production companies. This is good news for attendees, as it means that various tricks and treats are in store for both new and seasoned ravers to enjoy, no matter which event they choose to attend.
In deciding among the seasonal massives, price is often not a factor. Each rave doesn’t vary too widely for a general admission ticket — ranging from around $60-85, including fees and shipping — and many electronic dance music fans are willing to spend some serious cash if the lineup is worth it.
Because of the increased popularity over the last few years in the EDM scene, event prices have gone up. Additionally, as each event is different and has its own following in terms of the types of artists and the reputation it carries, the deciding factor for those without strong opinions or niche genres is often based on the actual lineup once it is released.
The top three Southern California fall electronic music massives of 2012, in no particular order, are:
Escape from Wonderland
Held Saturday, Oct. 27 at NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, this is the most popular massive. Insomniac Events has consistently delivered over the years and has built up a positive reputation in the EDM scene. Because of this, it is the best bet when considering all things — minus the lineup and the location (because yes, it is unreasonably far for most people who live in the L.A. region). For people who haven’t attended Escape in the past, the lineup is interesting and diverse; for those who have been in previous years, most would agree that it looks similar to last year’s sold out show, with a few new additions. Armin van Buuren, recently named DJ Mag’s No. 1 DJ of 2012, has been added to the lineup as of Oct. 19. A multitude of other artists, such as Martin Solveig, Laidback Luke and Thomas Gold, are also set to play. Escape also boasts mazes, art installations and three haunted houses that will add spooky elements to the five-stage production.
Held on the same day as Escape, Monster Massive is Insomniac’s competitor that often goes head-to-head with the production giant during Halloween. Unlike Insomniac’s tried and true reliability, however, Monster Massive has faced controversy in the past, such as last year’s “Armin-Only” debacle, which led to the cancellation of the entire event with less than 2 weeks left until what should have been showtime. This left many concertgoers with a bad taste in their mouths, although people got their tickets refunded. This year, it has taken a quieter approach with a lower-risk yet solid lineup, including Lil Louie Vega, Frankie Knuckles and David Morales. On the other hand, this year’s venue, L.A. Center Studios, has generated its share of letdowns in the past by allegedly breaching contracts and thus botching shows such as Winterfresh back in 2010.
HARD Haunted Mansion’s Day of the Dead
Though not technically a Halloween rave, Day of the Dead has a similar theme and is set for Nov. 3, the Saturday after Halloween. As the name suggests, the lineup includes exciting headliners, such as Knife Party, Major Lazer, Zeds Dead, Tommy Trash and “MVP of the MPC” AraabMUZIK. It was also recently announced that there will be a new Moombahton stage. The event gets props for stepping out of the box and highlighting different genres and subgenres, and going with the flow of the ever-evolving EDM scene. It might be a hit or miss in terms of the Day of the Dead theme, as it’s something different from the more common yet tried-and-true Halloween theme.
Since most people go to massives for the music, experience and atmosphere, it will be interesting to see how each of these events plays out. Only time will tell, but as of now it doesn’t seem as though there is any shortage of highly entertaining and captivating massives to attend. For excited ravers, now is the time to get working on the wild costumes and dance moves, because it will be showtime for all three events in less than two weeks.