2013 Nocturnal Fest canceled

Loss $200,000-plus to Rockdale economy
Reporter Editor

A giant outdoor music festival which has drawn the largest crowds in the history of Milam County—and provided a major economic boost in the post-Alcoa era—won’t return in 2013.

Officials at Apache Pass, the venue northwest of Rockdale which has hosted Nocturnal Wonderland the past three years, confirmed they were advised on Friday by Insomniac Productions the music festival would not return the weekend of April 26-27 as had been anticipated.

In each of the past three years the Nocturnal Wonderland has resulted in approximately $200,000 economic impact to local businesses, according to the City of Rockdale.

Most immediate impact will be felt by the city’s motel industry. Last year all of Rockdale’s 244 rooms were booked, many of them months in advance.

EDC—Rumors that Nocturnal wasn’t going to happen, or wasn’t coming to Rockdale, in 2013 have been swirling for about a month.

On Jan. 3 a fan contacted Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella on Rotella’s twitter page asking “is there going to be a Nocturnal Wonderland in Texas this year?”

Rotella’s answer: “Not yet 100 percent sure.”

Speculation on the future of Nocturnal in Rockdale spiraled in intensity over the past few weeks and included several online “Save Nocturnal” petitions, drawing hundreds of signatures.

In recent years electronic music fans have been increasingly drawn to “Electric Daisy Carnival” (EDC) events and Insomniac has followed that trend.

The outlook for Nocturnal returning to Rockdale dimmed considerably last week when organizers of Dallas’s Meltdown Music Festival announced the 2013 event would be held April 27 in Grand Prairie. That’s the weekend Texas electric music fans usually “reserve” for Rockdale.

Then Insomniac posted a brief statement listing annual EDC events for “Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Orlando and an as yet unnamed city in Texas.”

That appeared to dim chances for Insomniac to hold an event in 2013 at Apache Pass.

The next day Insomniac advised Apache Pass officials there wouldn’t be a Nocturnal Wonderland there in 2013.

However, the company did leave the door open for a show possibly being held at Apache Pass in the spring or fall of 2014.

CROWDS—The 2012 crowds were estimated in excess of 17,000 each, breaking the Milam County gathering record of 15,000 set by Nocturnal in 2011.

In addition to motels, Rockdale restaurants and RV parks reported booming business and some “entrepreneurs” improvised shuttle services, taking music fans to and from the venue.

Milam County instituted a crowd fee statute after the 2010 Nocturnal event and received checks of $22,500 and $25,000 from Insomniac in 2011 and 2012.

With the huge crowds came increased law enforcement activity. Over 170 drug/alcohol arrests were made on Nocturnal weekends during the past three events and the Department of Public Safety sent additional officers to Rockdale to augment the efforts of Rockdale Police and the Milam County Sheriff’s Department.

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2013-02-07 digital edition

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