DayTrip Festival 2023: an LA Long Beach Rave by Insomniac et al

DayTrip Festival 2023 Long Beach

“And, of course, this weekend is DayTrip.” I had no idea what she was talking about, so of course I nodded my head vigorously and smiled as if sharing a secret in confidence. A few days and a few Googles later, I unlocked the puzzle: DayTrip Festival Long Beach, “House Music All Day Long”, produced by Insomniac Productions and to be held this weekend in at the Queen Mary shipyard in Long Beach, California. and…. Tickets: SOLD OUT. buuuuuuutt… StubHub? Here goes nothing.

…back up a month or two…


I met my new neighbor, Nikki, before I had even signed a lease. She was the first resident I had been introduced to on the property — in fact, on the rooftop, with her drooling bulldog in tow. I am a dog person. I said “Hello!”, then asked, “What’s your dog’s name?” “Tiesto,” she replied. “Like the DJ?” I queried. “Exactly,” She quipped. She was a stunning blond, and as we approached the roof patio, she began to disrobe, stripping down to a shiny golden bikini. I was… intrigued. And that brief interaction and visual treat actually sealed the deal in my reptilian testosterone brain. I would live here.

Welcome to the Hotel California.

A fortnight later, I moved in. Amazingly, for the next few days, it felt like every time I walked out my door, I ran into Nik. On the roof. At the elevator. On the sidewalk on the way back from Targét. Micro conversations. Pleasantries.

Over the course of these random meetings across the following month, Nikki & I exchanged a few opinions about EDM & Techno music in general, feeling out each others’ taste profiles. It was not, I must say, an exact match. She is House, I am Happy Hardcore. She is hotel, I am glamping. She is a Raver, I am a Burner. Nonetheless, we had found a common language.

Moving towards… ??? And then… whoosh.

Quite suddenly, two things happened: 1) I “broke up” with Tara, and quite simultaneously, Nik disappeared. An entire month went by. And I saw her not once. I figured she was either having some international jetset raver adventures, or had moved out. I didn’t think much more about it.

I re-friended Tara. She bought flights to visit me. We talked for an hour, at around 11am. At noon that same day, I made myself a sandwich and took the elevator up to the roof for a nice lunch in the sun. Who the fuck do you think was there, in a bikini, tanning herself in the cabana? Of course. Nik.

The ticket was $223. Plus, of course, the ridiculous $50 “service fee.” Plus tax. Basically, $300. In my head, I kept thinking: “My god, Burning Man is a fucking bargain.” and then I’d do the opportunity-cost-value analysis. “yes, but you could easily spend $300 on a dinner, or a cirque show, or a fancy shirt. what’s there to lose? and honestly, I was still smarting a little from missing the US Open Golf Championship, which was essentially the same ticket price. So, finally, after a glass of wine, I hit the buttons and made the purchase. Theoretically, I now had a ticket to a rave. God save me.

Here are a few vignettes to help convey the insanely intense experience that I participated in… the journey that I travelled… through the human wonderland and musical soundscape of DayTrip Festival 2023:

DayTrip Festival 2023 Dance Stage and DJ

The First Dance

The first dancefloor I arrived at, I mistakenly mistook for the “High Tide” stage. It was small… intimate, even, and I started smiling and laughing to myself. The dance floor was probably 60 feet x 60 feet, outdoor under a shade structure, perhaps 300-400 people in total, including those dancing and those milling around the periphery. This is what these people consider a dance scene, I thought? Nonetheless, I engaged. I had come here to enjoy some fun house music, some deep bass, and to dance my ass off. So that I would do.

I quickly found a few of the “sweet spots” in the sound system… the “channels” or “lanes” where the bass frequencies and the mid-ranges and the tweeters all are lined up just right, producing both tight sound and some exquisite bodily harmonics (one of the trademarks of a great rave sound system is the tuning of the subsonic bass… frequencies below 30 Hz that are more physical impacts than auditory sensations. Let me put it this way: If I were to hit you with a hard pillow in the stomach 4 times a second, that would be, literally, a 4 Hz bass signal. When you stand & dance in the right spots, you feel the music. Its wonderful)

I danced my dance, smiled at some girls, and did my thing. Then I saw the prettiest girl. There’s always a prettiest girl. She is generally surrounded by her girlfriends, with a scattering of guys aimed at her, watching her, and keeping a safe distance… to scared to approach. I caught her eye. She smiled. I smiled. It was on. without hesitation, I closed the distance between us, walking the twenty feet while maintaining both rhythm and eye contact.

Now normally, at a rave (and this is still a struggle for me; I am, by nature, a “contact improv” style “ecstatic dancer”), there is little or no body contact between dancers. In fact, even eye contact tends to be in fleeting, subtle glances. But as I entered her personal space, she extended her hand, and with ease and grace, I placed my hand in hers. What happened next came as a genuine surprise to me.

She flexed and raised her arm, firmly with my hand in hers, and twirled me around. That was my move. I rolled with it, like surfing a wave that was suddenly 3x larger than it looked when you caught it. We danced. She led. Let me be clear: I, a 5’10” 165 lb man in running shoes, was being led on the dance floor by a 5’4″ girl in a miniskirt and 3″ platform boots, who couldn’t have weighed more than 110 pounds soaking wet. I was amused. We danced. We played.

At some point, she pulled me in tight, and we had that magical moment where each of our mouths were a mere inch from eachothers ears. The time for private verbal communication, even in the bath of 20,000 watts of sound. I did not think. My voice went deep, and I said the only thing my spirit would allow me to say:

“Allright, now. I’ll take the lead from here.”

Simultaneously, I put a slight torque on her wrist, countering the force and flow that she had so firmly established. She was spinnning clockwise. I signalled her to spin out, and reverse into a counterclockwise spin. Time for the next shock.

She pulled away, still holding that hand, resisted my spin fully, and just swung her head left and right, with a slight frown. The body language equivalent of “No way, dude.” And that was the end of our dance. I was dumbfounded.

I have danced a thousand dances, and in only one previous dance had a woman established the lead. In fact, I feel like it was more of a “dynamic shifting lead,” which ebbed and flowed between us across the course of the dance. This was not that. In this dance, she was twirling me around like a little girl. My masculine ego couldn’t handle it. I tried to take the lead. I was thwarted.

I stood there, still and dumbfounded, as she and her entourage walked away. I was honored, and I was embarrassed. I had been honored by dancing with the prettiest girl on the dance floor. I had been embarrassed by being rejected by the prettiest girl on the dance floor. All within a space of less than 90 seconds. Hm. My head was spinning. I walked to the periphery. I needed to process.

And that was my first dance at DayTrip Festival.

It was not, by a long shot, to be my last.

Who that be in tha V.I.P.?

Of course, I am VIP. I was born VIP. Rarely, I will pay for VIP entry (the equivalent old-school of a “backstage” or “All-Access” Pass). Often, I will be granted / gifted it. And sometimes, when I lose patience or am just feeling frisky, I take it. Its simple enough.

daytrip entrance

We walk across the tarmac from the shuttle bus to the ticket / entry / security check gates. Even though, DisneyLand-style, there are a dozen entry lines, they appear long to me. I want to be inside already. On the left, I see two non-lines with the wonderful letters “V.I.P. Entry” boldly hovering above them, warding off the commoners. That’s my ingress. All I have is a printout (and a screenshot) with a QR code. What’s the worst that can happen?

The girl in front of me flashes her phone, the guard puts a scanner on it, a big green LED lights up, she waves her on through. I put forward my paper pass, she scans it, a big red LED starts flashing, and her thing makes a loud “beeeep!” She quickly hits a button to reset it, looks up, scrutinizing my eyes. she makes a decision. “You’re cool. Go on through.” Boom. First gate passed. Onward.

Fast forward a hour or so. I have found the main stage. It is massive, and the human press is tight. Its General Admission, so standard rules apply: bob & weave your way forward until there is no more room to squeeze. I begin the journey. Somehow, I get posted up on the right side of the lane, right next to a very sturdy, reinforced fence. And that’s when I see her. It’s Nik! But… she’s on the other side of the fence. She has room to move, and everybody on that side is holding a fresh drink with ice. Not the cans that my immediate neighbors are brandishing. It takes me a full nanosecond to understand that she is on the VIP side, and I am not. It takes another 4.2 seconds for me to arrive at a decision. I am a fucking VIP. What the hell am I doing in the cattle crush?

I wait one more second for the security guard to be momentarily distracted, then gracefully vault the fence. Several people, obviously, witness this heresy. But they are cool, as long as I’m cool. They delicately avert their gaze and pretend like they saw nothing. As long as I don’t try to validate by talking to them, everything’s good. I rapidly penetrate deeper into the VIP crowd, physically distancing myself from the site of my indiscretion.

And this is where things start to get interesting.

The only places, in general, that I’ve been in a lot of VIP areas are in Northern California. Up there, VIP is a money thing. The VIPs pay up to 10x as much for their ticket — say $1000 instead of $100, $300 instead of $30, for a few things: more room to move, shorter drink lines, cleaner bathrooms, and, perhaps most importantly: the ability to schmooze and mix with those of similar economic circumstance.

But in San Francisco / the Bay Area, VIPs get there money pretty much one way: software. They are youngsters (and middle agesters) who work for Apple, Google, Facebook, and the hottest funded startup. They are grossly overcompensated children who graduated from Stanford and got their money, by what I consider, the easy way. They graduated, and went to work for Google, with a $50,000 cash signing bonus and a fat salary in the low- to mid-six figures. Easy living.

So that’s who I think I will be amongst, here in the DayTrip Festival VIP area. Perhaps there are a few. But that’s not what I encounter. I am in mother fucking LA now. LA rolls a bit different than SF. I am discovering this.

As I scan the beautiful scantily clad women and the generally large men with crispy new ballcaps, I see something I haven’t seen in a year: I see the full sleeves. I see the marks, the badges. I see the tattoos that are only worn by two people: gang members and inmates (who are also gang members). Adding the heavy chains of gold and platinum, it hits me suddenly and fully: These are not software programmers and startup execs. These are gangsters. These are people who have hustled and fought and gotten their money, perhaps without filing a 1040 every year.

It’s a shock, and it’s eerily comforting. Because God has blessed me, and I can move in this culture as easily as I can move in Silicon Valley. I have, in fact, lived amongst some of the hardest gangsters in America for the past 5 years. It just needed a fast brain reset. A shifting of posture. And that’s that. I move among the LA VIP. I move amongst the gangsters.

The Trip

[SIDEBAR: I have a rule at festivals. I rarely if ever purchase drugs. I wait, and play. And generally, at some point in the evening, I will be talking to a pretty girl, and she will extend her hand and say: “Do you get high?” or something to that effect. She offers me pills / shrooms / powder / a joint. I say: “a gift?” she says: “of course.” I accept the gift, and swallow / snort / smoke on the spot. We then kiss. This happens. And then I wander off and have a very pleasant, wonderful, happy trip. I know now, from talking to many other men who have dealers and bring their drugs with them, that this is not normal. But this is my normal. And here it goes]

So the sun has set (spectacularly), the night is setting in, and it is time. I pull out my poi, activate the LEDs, and begin my spin. It’s a good vibe. Thank god I am mostly sober. Not everyone is. I practice hypervigilance and situational awareness as I spin my heavy orbs at high speed, within inches of the surrounding pedestrians and dancers. Its an art. I am in flow. I am enjoying myself.

A pretty brunette moves into my space. Inside my spin radius. Not obliviously, but rather with complete focus & intention. I spin left and right. She enters center. Closes the distance. We are intimate now, our eyes not more than 12″ apart. This does not normally happen. I am the one to approach, 99% of the time. The glowing spinning balls must exert a magical attraction vibe. She confirms this with her words:

“I’m rolling. I want you to spin for me.”

“Um…. sure.” When people are on MDMA, flashing fast moving lights can cause near orgasmic waves of pleasure to cascade over them. She wanted me to be her toy for the moment. I was happy to oblige. I spun, first slowly and carefully, then faster and faster, with the music, within inches of her eyes. She enjoyed it. She was in the zone… until, quite suddenly, she wasn’t. The energy shifted like a light switch. She backed away. I let my poi drop to my sides. She nodded, I nodded, then walked away. The vibe had passed. No words were needed.

10 minutes later, I decided to re-engage, see where that might go, without the poi. I came up and said hello. She was sassy. Fully tattooed, head to toe. Sitting next to a totally chill black dude who I assumed was her boyfriend, her dealer, or both. We chatted. She asked me if I wanted to smoke some weed (see above). I replied “No, I’m on probation. I get tested.” She nodded as if I had passed some test, then said : “Well, then, mushrooms and cocaine are your best friends.” I didn’t totally understand, but OKay. She was at least half right. I said: “Yeah, mushrooms are, in fact, my jam.” She fumbled in her pocket purse stash, and out came a hand. I looked down. Three very fat mushrooms were there.

“You have a choice. Eat all these right now, at once, or turn around and walk away.”

Didn’t seem like much of a choice to me. I am, if anything, all about the YES.

I chewed and chewed and chewed and washed it down with an icey mai tai. This was the end of the prelude. This was the beginning of the trip. She nodded, I nodded, said “thank you so much,” we exchanged a hug, and I wandered off into the fray of the VIP rave zone.


Another hour and many adventures passed, and I came back to check in with my benefactor. She made room for me on the couch next to her, and I snugged in. I don’t know what we talked about. Our faces kept getting closer and closer, our voices lower. The feels intensified. I knew where this had to go. I played it safe. I have learned from many disasters that, in this case, the smoothest way in is the best way in.

I asked the question: “Do you want to kiss me?”

She didn’t miss a beat. “Answer my questions first.”

Okay. I did. We maintained. 4 minutes passed, her asking, me answering. I stayed on target.

“Ok. I answered your three questions. And you still haven’t answered my question. Answer.”

(she speaks as she moves her face closer to mine) “I don’t know, I’m not saying no.”

That was really all I needed. “Well, lets find out.”

I move in for the kiss. Her lips are there. We find eachother. Her lips are not rigid, nor are they soft & inviting. Her mouth is only slightly open. All in all, I rate it a 4/10 for that “magic.” Not enough. Glad we figured that out. There is no need for another kiss, or any more escalation. Sexy and sassy and smart as she is, she is most certainly not my girl. But we’re not all done. Not before she hits me with a truth bomb.

“Check this out.” she says, and pulls a pair of sunglasses out of her ladybag. I wonder what will happen here. Some sort of magic trick? I am paying attention.

“These glasses are magic.” Well, I’m on the right track. “They let you see the truth of the world.” Now, I’m intrigued. I’m tripping. Perfectly tripping. The kind of trip where your eyes are open… your minds eye is open… everything is both beautiful, and correct, and crystal clear. Everything makes perfect sense. Every person, every action.

And now, my benefactor and playmate puts the glasses on, and looks right at me. They light up. I see her truth. No more words are necessary.

brunette tattooed girl at rave with dollarsign money LED sunglasses

I am, actually, repelled. Shocked. It seems utterly counter to the entire professed spirit of rave culture: PLUR — Peace, Love, Unity, Respect. Its simple. Money. Money Money Money. That’s her truth, her ground truth, and she is telling me that explicitly and clearly, without words.

Without words, I get up from the couch, turn and walk away.

I will never see her again. Or so I think.





  1. ticket entry
  2. security
  3. seeing Nik
  4. hopping the fence
  5. “be humble”
  6. performing (dance on platform)
  7. exit
  8. hopping the fence again
  9. security confrontation
  10. “No, it’s cool. I’m a performer”


  1. Sydney: “Come spin for me. I’m rolling”
  2. Partner poi dance with poi girl (promo video)
  3. Teaching n00bs how to spin (me one, them one)
  4. Intense situational awareness (spin hard and don’t hit anyone with a bunch of ravers trippin balls around you and navigating through their own worldspaces)
  5. Morgan @missMoJangles borrowing my poi and humbling me
  6. Poi seduction of the Mexican Queen


“Do you smoke? Take a toke on this.”

“No thank you.”

“You don’t smoke?”

“I’m on probation. I get tested on the regular.”
“Oh, got it. Well then:

Mushrooms and Cocaine are your best friends.”

My general intent with entheogens is to have a profound spiritual experience

Many “normal” people’s intent is to “get fucked up.”

For men, this can be annihilation. More than a few were throwing up or passing out.

For women, this might be getting fucked. I dunno.


As is my par for the course, at sunset a beautiful tattooed brunette came right up to me and said “dance with me” and then handed me a fistful of mushrooms and said: “eat them all right now or walk away”. and so the adventure began…

Dude, it was total insanity. My soul needed it. It wasn’t easy, and it was intense, and it was fun, and it was awesome. It rocked my world.

daytrip festival high tide stage


Shelby — [Seraph, Sydney, Semiah, Sarah]

“Do you want to kiss me?”

She deflects: “you answer my question first”

(Etc etc)

me: “okay, now back to my question”

her: “I didn’t say no.”

me: “lets find out”

KISS: (meh-ugh… but at least that happened)


Me: (to the prettiest girl): “that hat? I think I’ve seen it before…”

(She winks at me, conspirationally)

I turn around and ignore her

30 seconds pass.

I feel the rub of two perfect breasts on my bicep

I turn to look. She is walking away, and throws a beautiful smile and a peace sign at me as she departs

DANCE Etiquette part 2

The “get in close next to you (left, right, front back) and rub her body parts on you (ass, breasts, thigh, arm). You pretend like everything is normal. You don’t look at her. You hold your ground and let her press and grind but you do not press into her space. You absolutely don’t use hands. It’s like low-key contact improv. No hand holding, no grabbing. Just hold ground and let them rub. IF you even react at all, look at them and smile, or press into their space, it’s immediately over. They are repelled and walk away without hesitation.

What is this about? Some kind of mutual unspoken bodily validation. She is saying : “I am blessing you with sexualized body contact, I am validating you as a high-value sexy male. People are watching us. I am also receiving validation because you are, in a way, dancing with me, even tho it is not overt. We are giving eachother proximity validation. We are the sexy people. Everybody else can watch, wonder, and wish they were us. Even tho we don’t even know each others names, have never said a single verbal word to eachother. There’s the rave dance game right there.


  1. “Mexico fucking ROCKS, bitches!” (Back of shirt) (sequin cowboy hat)

Follow her into the bathroom: “what the hell are you DOING with that loser?”

All the other girls in the bathroom are cheering me on

The room is silent. This is the moment.

I chicken out.

I turn and leave.

That, right there, is THE END.

I never see her again

Mere minutes later,

The music crescendos, the lights come on, and in a sudden movement,

Everyone stops dancing and aims for the “exit”

Neg Backfire: TRAGEDY:

Me : “so, that’s some wicked ass glow and bling you got.”

“Thank you, I like it myself.”

“Okay, and beyond the glow and bling, what else are you?”

“Ooh, that’s it. That’s really all I have.” (Puppy dog eyes)

Me (oh , shit, I wish I hadn’t called that bluff. That was tragic)



Ravers have fans. As in, folding bamboo fans. They do it like the Japanese geisha. They wave their fan at / on you if you are doing something good, if you are hot, if your vibe is positive. Fan = affection = validation = energy direction. Ride that vibe as long as you can. Reflect it back on the beautiful people around you. Stay positive.


#rave #raveoutfit #festival #festivalfashion #edc #edm #daytrip #musicfestival #sanbernardino #insomniac #ravegirls #angeldustrave #hardsummer #projectz #housemusic #escapehalloween #beyondwonderland


My immediate impression was that:

a) all the girls are beautiful

b) all the girls are dressed in hyper-sexual stripper / prostitute / fetish / BDSM outfits

c) the visual sexual vibe is overwhelming

d) this event is something like 70/30 female : male ratio

Like I said man. The sexuality was absolutely over the top. It took me way off guard. I told Tara: “I thought I was going to a dance, not a stripper & prostitute convention!”

I’m studying the photos and trying to reconcile them with my impressions. I realize: a little bit of fishnet, a little bit of g-string, BOOTS and the male brain just snaps. Suddenly everybody’s a stripper.

It’s kind of like seeing a few naked people at burning man. The first year, I got back home, and in my brain I thought: “everybody’s naked all the time!”

It is also completely incongruous, both before and after the rave, to see dozens of scantily dressed women in boots and g-strings and holographic disco hats just walking down the normal city sidewalks. You’re not used to that. It messes up the brain. You think: “this is not normal. What’s going on here?” At least I know there is a festival nearby. I can only imagine what “normal normal” people are thinking, just trying to take their kids out to TGI Fridays on a Saturday afternoon!!!

“I’m not a Raver, I’m a Burner”

“Woah, dude. Look, we’re not into orgies everywhere like y’all burners. We’re not just one big sex party. It’s all about the PLUR here. [Peace Love Unity Respect].”

(That appears to be the impression of ravers about Burning Man. That its just one massive orgie, everybody fucking everybody. This has not been my experience. Am I missing something?)


Good god, I thought it was all just “techno”, aka EDM (Electronic Dance Music). Little did I know…

“I used to be all about dubstep… for like 10 years, but he finally brought me around to House. And now that’s what I love: House.”


  • EDM Vegas
  • DayTrip
  • Electric Forest
  • Wonderland
  • Raves
  • Festivals


  • MDMA — 35%
  • MJ — 25%
  • K — 15%
  • LSD — 10%
  • Coke — 10 %
  • GHB — 10%
  • Meth — 5%

Predator vs Predator: Learning to Navigate Hypersexualized Youth Culture

Rainbow Bridge Long Beach Harbor - the long walk home


I got driven home last night by a good christian brother in a massive 2023 Cadillac Escalade, with all the trimmings. Honestly, I felt like I had time travelled, and was in a spaceship. There were screens and LED lighting everywhere.

I told him: “WTF is this thing? Dude, I drive a 1955 Dodge. This is a fucking spaceship.” He said “I had this all ready for your party, brother. But it looks like you’re flying solo tonight. No problem, I’m gonna get you home safe.” Praise the Lord, he did!

2023 Cadillac Escalade the ride home