Over the past weekend (or Halloweekend, as many horror fans lovingly refer to as that final Friday through Sunday of October), over 110,000 fans descended upon the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino to celebrate the electronic music scene and everything we love about Halloween.

During the festival, Escape’s stages hosted over 60 live acts performing for thousands of attendees on four stages, including the likes of Kaskade, Benny Benassi, Tiesto, The Chainsmokers, Duke Dumont, Joyride, Tchami, Firebeatz, Yellow Claw, and Claude VonStroke (who opened with a killer mix of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme—the perfect way to celebrate the season).

The entire NOS Events Center grounds were decked out to the nines for Halloween, complete with a circus midway that brought a small-town feeling into the center of the sprawling festival, featuring a tented area where oddities and other entertainers performed throughout both evenings, with Psycho Circus actors posing for pictures with fans.

And while I had a blast at all the performances (the stage setups were incredible), the real highlight of Insomniac’s festival was The Asylum, their first-time haunted attraction that took participants through over 15 rooms of surreal mayhem and madness (think if David Lynch decided to make an Alice in Wonderland movie and set it inside an insane asylum), all while we were straitjacketed and wearing black hockey masks (which we got to keep once we exited). The attention to detail was amazing (we even had to take “our meds” courtesy of a sassy nurse who fed us all Smarties before we were sent off to make our way through the haunt), and I would put The Asylum up there as one of the best mazes I’ve been through all year in Los Angeles.

There was a lot of macabre love on display throughout The Asylum, and those involved should be proud of the experience they provided for those who were brave enough to enter its gates (also, putting folks into straitjackets really was a nice way of ratcheting my anxiety up to an 11 for my walkthrough).

Overall, Escape Psycho Circus was the perfect way to ring in the final days of October, and as someone who has attended several other electronic festivals in southern California over the last few years, the way Insomniac catered to their fans was stellar, and I could not possibly have asked for more from the fest. If you’ve never been and live in the area, I cannot recommend Escape: Psycho Circus enough.

Check out photo galleries from last weekend’s event below, and for more on all of Insomniac’s upcoming events, check out their site here.

Photos by Brian Smith:

Photos from Escape: Psycho Circus:

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.