For three consecutive years, Apache Pass near the Central Texas town of Rockdale has been the home of Nocturnal Wonderland, a multi-day electronic dance music festival that Texas EDM fans have counted on to kick off their EDM festival season.
The season is largely driven by L.A.-based supergiant promoters Insomniac Events, the company responsible for the lion's share of today's largest EDM festivals across the country, including Nocturnal Wonderland. But last Monday, Insomniac head Pasquale Rotella regretfully announced via Twitter that there would be no Nocturnal Wonderland Texas 2013. Despite the success of the previous Nocturnal Wonderlands held in Apache Pass, no reasons were given to fans to explain the cancellation.
Leading up to the cancellation, there was speculation that Nocturnal wasn't going to happen. Back in January, Rotella said (also on Twitter) that the he wasn't "100 percent sure" that there would be another NDT this year. Shortly after came a letter from Insomniac stating that they would be hosting a different event at a "soon to be determined city in Texas."
The event referred to was Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), which has been booming in growth and popularity every year along with EDM itself. EDC is the true feather in Insomniac's cap; Chicago's EDC is moving this year to a larger venue, and Las Vegas' EDC is well-known to be the year's biggest and best EDM party.
Many felt that as soon as an EDC Texas was announced, that spelled death for Nocturnal. In some ways, the March 18 cancellation wasn't a total surprise. The problem is that Electric Daisy Carnival doesn't look like it will be happening here, either.
Since Insomniac's EDC-specific letter, there has been nothing but bad news for Texas EDM fans. First and foremost, there is no venue for EDC Texas. Dallas, which held EDC back in 2011, does not want it back. The event came under major scrutiny after crowds grew wild, killing a male attendee and injuring several others, and an underage girl died due to a reported ecstasy overdose.
Plans were then in the works to hold EDC at Fort Worth's Texas Motor Speedway, but it has since been reported that Insomniac and TMS president Eddie Gossage could not agree on legal terms to hold the show at the venue.
Even more telling is what information can't be found. Since Rotella's last announcement about Nocturnal, official Web sites for Insomniac and Electric Daisy Carnival, as well as their official Facebook pages, have been virtually scrubbed clean of any information for any upcoming Texas shows.
So why the cancellations? Although no official explanations have been issued by Insomniac or Rotella, several factors might be contributing to the fall of Texas's 2013 rave season. Firstly, Rotella has been entangled in legal woes since being indicted last August with charges of bribery, embezzlement, conspiracy and conflict of interest, though he has pled not guilty to all charges.
More recently, rave culture took a massive blow when a February Los Angeles Times article blamed the deaths of 14 partygoers on the raves themselves rather than the copious amounts of drugs the deceased had chosen to take. The article has since experienced widespread circulation, and venues are more hesitant than ever to take on EDM shows. [Ed. note: See Insomniac's response on our sister paper LA Weekly's The Informer blog.]
Another possibility is that Texas-based Nightculture and its national affiliate Disco Donnie Presents have somewhat of a lockdown on Texas EDM. Nightculture owns Stereo Live, where most Houston EDM shows are held, and is responsible for throwing other parties like the upcoming one-day Meltdown Music Festival in Dallas. Vivid Sound Entertainment is also bringing Datsik, Tommy Trash and a few others to the Euphoria Music Festival at New Braunfels' WhiteWater Amphitheater in two weeks.
Notably, Meltdown is being held on April 27, which is the exact same time that Nocturnal would have been at Apache Pass. This means that Texas club kids would have had to choose between the two competing festivals and promoters, which would certainly have have put Insomniac and Nightculture at loggerheads. (Rocks Off reached out to Nightculture for comment, but got no response.)
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Whatever the case may be, bass-bumping, glowstick-loving, fuzzy boot-wearing Texans will likely not see a multi-day festival devoted strictly to EDM this year. In the meantime, Houstonians can check out Stereo Live for a single night of ravey fun, or travel to neighboring cities for some upcoming single-day events.