Escape Psycho Circus: The Festival You Must Attend

If you are a raver you must add Insomniac’s Escape: Psycho Circus festival to your bucket list. Escape: Psycho Circus is North America’s biggest Halloween event and biggest festival in Southern California with 125,000 ravers in 2 days. Apart from this year’s incredible lineup, the frightening costumed performers and the attractions make this festival a must attend.

The Music

Keiki-Lani Knudsen for Insomniac Events

This year’s lineup included third consecutive year #1 DJ of the world Martin Garrix, west coast favorite Kaskade, Diplo, Eric Prydz, KSHMR, Galantis, Seven Lions, Excision, Yellow Claw and many other incredible acts. Unfortunately, the magic mike of EDM, Salvatore Ganacci had to cancel his performance due to family issues which bummed out a lot of people. A set that stood out was Martin Garrix’s who gave the audience an hour of his repertoire of all of his music and some incredible new IDs.

A second set that stood out was KSHMR, as he absolutely smashed the Ghouls Graveyard. He played the tracks we’ve all come to expect such as Secrets, Jammu, and Festival Of Lights. He also dropped his new track Magic, which is expected to be released this Friday, November 2. It was honestly was pretty awesome to get a sneak peek of that.

This review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include Eric Prydz, as he’s one of the main reasons I attended the two-day event. Whether he’s performing as Pryda, Cirez D, or Eric Prydz, those in attendance are always in for a treat. Escape on Saturday night was no different. This was my first time seeing the Swedish Legend, and I couldn’t have had a better experience. Prydz played at the Ghouls’ Graveyard, which technically isn’t the main stage. When you take into consideration that Slaughterhouse consisted of a mix of 731 video tiles, 450 lights, and 16 lasers, while graveyard had 326 lights and 26 lasers, we can’t help but think the stage was set up just for Eric. The man is known for his laser shows, and this was one hell of a laser show.

The Stages

Tony Nungaray for Insomniac Events

The Slaughterhouse (main stage), Chopping Block, Ghoul’s Graveyard, and Factory 93’s Cannibals’ Tea Party are Escape’s stages. Usually, you will find the top tier headliners in the theatrical themed Slaughterhouse. The DJ booth is situated in the mouth of a giant clown with LED eyes and between circus cages on the sides. This theatrical stage has become an icon in Insomniac’s large variety of stage designs.

Ghoul’s Graveyard also consisted of some of the top tier headliners such as Eric Prydz and KSHMR, as well as curating Friday’s Bassrush with acts such as GTA, JOYRYDE, and Excision. Ghoul’s consists of a theatrical mix with LED panels all around. The graveyard-themed stage is for sure a fun time every year.

Located smack dab in the middle of Escape, Chopping Block was one of the more eclectic stages. The lineup was curated by Basscon on Friday, and Audiotistic on Saturday.  This saw acts like Angerfist, Digital Punk & Junkie Kid take the stage on Friday. Saturday saw just as good of a lineup, as Zeds Dead, Snakehips, and Quix destroyed the Block. We even got a special A-Trak B2B YehMe2 set as well.

Factory 93

Factory 93’s Cannibals’ Tea Party debuted at this year’s Escape, and we couldn’t have been happier about that. This stage was set outside, compared to Factory 93’s typical warehouse-esque stages and setups. This of course was paired with the promotions signature minimal sound. The sounds of the underground were alive and well Friday and Saturday nights, as Cannibal’s Tea Party blasted House & Techno all night long.

Friday night saw Anna take the stage followed by Loco Dice & then Joseph Capriati. Friday night closed off with a B2b set from Jamie Jones and Joseph Capriati.  Saturday night played out in a similar fashion, with A Dubfire B2B Tiga Set midway through the night, followed by Dirty Bird Honcho Claude VonStroke. After Claude, Green Velvet took the stage, only to play a second set, just this time it was a B2B with Claude for a special ‘Get Real’ set.


The Asylum

Tony Nungaray for Insomniac Events

Apart from the music, the focus point of this festival is the Wonderland Asylum. It is Insomniac’s own house of horrors. Being my second year going in through the maze, it is fair to say that it is the most horrific maze I have completed. Each year Insomniac goes above and beyond and add extra rooms or performers to change it up for back to back attendees (such as myself) which is a huge plus. What differentiates this maze to other ones is that it solely does not focus on jump scares, rather on the psychological horror. Furthermore, being in a straitjacket and in a mask takes this experience to another level. This asylum is a must do if you attend this festival even if you are terrified of haunted houses.

Marc Van Der Aa for Insomniac Events

The Overall Experience

The overall vibe at Escape is nothing short of “PLUR”. Everyone takes care of each other, and if you are ever in a tough situation Insomniac’s Ground Control will help you out. Entering through the gates you leave all your worries behind and enjoy this unique world of costumed ravers who want to have the best time of their lives. This being my fourth year going to Escape, I keep enjoying it more and more each year. With the massive crowd that attends every year, Insomniac might want to consider making the main stage an open-air stage. All in all, this is a pilgrimage every raver must make. Insomniac go above and beyond with details, the lineup, and the overall experience.