Article by: Grant Soffer
Insomniac Events recently hosted its 2nd annual Day Trip Music Festival in Long Beach, California, however, this was the first year the festival took place in Long Beach due to a last-minute venue change in 2021. This two-day house music festival featured some of the best house artists including Lane 8, Fisher, and MK. I had the pleasure of attending this year and have put together an honest review based on the quality of production, music, and venue.
There were a total of three stages spread out across the venue. The two main stages, Deep End and High Tide, were spread out on opposite ends of the venue, and the smaller stage, Shoreline, was located in the middle of the venue featuring local talent. The stages themselves were all impressive in their own ways — Insomniac put a lot of effort into the overall production.
The Deep End stage featured several screens and offered impressive visuals and lights that were especially pleasant during the evening sets once the sun had set. This stage had plenty of room even during the most crowded sets and still had an abundance of places to sit, as well as easy access to restrooms and drinks.
The High Tide stage gave off more of a jungle disco vibe with tons of disco balls and trees to go with its very impressive lineup. This stage, however, had very little space to move around and dance, especially as headliners started to play. It was very difficult and time-consuming to step out to get drinks or use the restroom as there were only two entry and exit points since the back was blocked off by a bar area. After the first few sets, it was also very difficult to find a safe place to sit due to the size of the crowd this stage attracted.
The Shoreline stage was one of the few spots in the venue that provided shade, but also offered an intimate setting where one could get very close to the DJ. Generally, the biggest issue in terms of production was the sound quality. There were several moments on both main stages where the speakers gave out momentarily, causing brief lulls during some artists’ sets. These were one-off issues that were corrected promptly and never impacted any of the performers.
The festival featured a stacked house music lineup with some incredible talent playing both days. Every artist delivered in a big way, bringing high energy and some of their best music for the crowd to enjoy. Day Trip did a good job establishing the vibes each day at each stage — high-energy house artists on the High Tide stage and more relaxed house artists on the Deep End stage. Like many other ravers, I typically have complaints when it comes to set times and artist conflicts, but Insomniac did a really solid job planning them out.
The festival did have a lopsided lineup, with many of the bigger names playing on Sunday instead of Saturday. Both days were sold out, but Sunday was noticeably more crowded than Saturday. The Sunday High Tide lineup was stacked featuring Fisher, Chris Lorenzo, Solardo, LP Giobbi, Wade, Martin Ikin, Chapter & Verse, and Kyle Kinch. Spacing these artists out on different stages or different days would’ve definitely helped with the crowd since this stage was packed shoulder-to-shoulder from 4 pm onwards.
The previous year, the festival was hosted at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino, California, which is the typical go-to spot for most Los Angeles-area festivals. This year, it took place at Queen Mary Waterfront, which offered an entirely different vibe in comparison. The High Tide stage was directly next to the Queen Mary ship, which was a beautiful site to see. The venue also had several spots where you could look out on the Long Beach skyline and waterfront, giving some incredible sunset views and amazing photo opportunities. Insomniac also did a great job of providing plenty of places to get food and drinks with little to no lines at most spots.
If one takes a look at the map below, one can see that the festival was very spread out. Walking from one stage to another took at least 5-10 minutes and even longer if there was a crowd of people. This definitely discouraged several people, including myself, from changing stages frequently, since it meant that one would be missing out on music. Restrooms were easy to access, except during busy times near the High Tide stage since there were fewer facilities on that end of the venue.
Another slight inconvenience was the parking situation. There is no parking available to attendees near the venue, so everyone was expected to park near downtown Long Beach and take a shuttle or walk across the bridge to get to the venue. To Insomniac’s credit, Day Trip had an excellent streamlined shuttle service set up that did not keep people waiting long, but it was still an inconvenience getting in and out of the venue nonetheless.
The biggest issue, however, was not the layout or the parking, but it was the severe lack of shade throughout the venue. The festival opened its door as early as 12 pm and takes place during the hottest part of the day. The very limited selection of shaded areas was occupied almost immediately each day. Although the highs for the day were only in the low 80s, the sun was still very much a factor and contributed to a lot of exhausted attendees. Investing in more shaded areas and structures would go a long way for the festival.
Overall, I would give this festival three-and-a-half stars. Considering that this was the first year this festival was held at this venue, I would consider that a solid score. The best part about it was obviously the music and the stacked lineup that it featured on both days. However, like many other California events, this festival was extremely overcrowded and oversold, especially at the High Tide stage which offered very little room to maneuver. The overselling of these events always leads to a lot of pushing and not too many “excuse me’s”. I for one would have been willing to spend more money on a ticket if it meant I had more room to move around, dance, and explore the venue; and I would imagine many people share that same sentiment as me.
It’s important to note that this review is very subjective to my own personal experience that I had, as different people will have varying experiences. This event has a ton of potential with some minor tweaks to the layout. Overall, this event has a lot of promise and I’m really excited to see what changes they make next year to make it even better. Be sure to follow Moon Lvnding on social media to see more festival event reviews and other music coverage that is out of this world!