This was my second year returning to Insomniac’s Countdown NYE, one of the premier EDM festivals in SoCal. With a record of 78,000 attendees at San Bernardino’s NOS Events Center, the 2017 rendition had one of the strongest lineups in its wheelhouse compared to the other two raves occuring at the same time, OMFG! LED and Snowglobe Music Festival. But while the lineup certainly did not disappoint, some aspects of the two-day event were less than favorable. Here’s a breakdown of the best and worst aspects of Countdown NYE 2017:
Best: Water Refill Stations
When you’re dancing and sweating for hours, water becomes a necessity. Fortunately, the water refill stations were really well-organized throughout the grounds and had a sufficient number of staff to ensure that the lines were not longer than they needed to be.
Worst: Lack of proper photo ops
While there is the ever-so-basic photo of attendees with the festival’s lights and decor glimmering in the background, there was still a striking lack of inventive and creative photo opportunities. Given the target millennial audience of the festival, there was a glaring lack of creativity in providing varied photo backgrounds. In fact, a greater focus on finding more creative photo opportunities would benefit both parties; we would be able to get cute photos and essentially promote the brand for the festival itself.
Best: Zen Zone
The Zen Zone was the perfect spot for moments of rest in between standing on your feet all day, as well as time spent waiting for members in our group to use the bathroom. Also, given the amount of other activities available, there weren’t too many people in the tent at once. Given how cold it got as the night winded down, it was nice to have heat lamps for a source of warmth while waiting.
Worst: Decorative “art”
As an avid fan of EDM music, I have been to the NOS Event Center for raves several times. After the first couple of times, I realized that Insomniac always uses the same decorations for each event regardless of the festival themes. Sure, there might be a few differences here and there, but the “astounding visual and interactive creations” boasted on the website are anything but.
Best: Infinity and Resolution Stages
My favorite aspect of the event by far was the stages and their incredible detail. From the dazzling laser and light displays to the sonic resonance of feeling each bass drop in your heart (cheesy, but true), the stages were truly breathtaking. Moreover, most of the headliners were at the stages that had these awesome features — most of which were close together — something my feet were definitely grateful for.
Worst: Underwhelming countdown
While there was a New Years countdown at the Yellow Claw stage, it was very underwhelming. Besides the numbers being displayed on the screen, the countdown itself — the namesake of the festival — after 3…2..1…there were no fireworks, which, considering the price of general admission tickets was tickets, the least that could have been provided for the New Year celebration should have been fireworks included. Furthermore, the new year was ushered in with no other details and the artists continued their set without any kind of extravagance. For an event centered around the countdown to transition from 2017 to 2018, there definitely could (and should) have been more creative additions to create a more memorable experience.