Festival Report Card: Skyline 2023

Factory 93, Insomniac’s admired techno brand, has been showcasing fascinating techno acts and paying homage to the underground warehouse scene since 2016. This year, they united with Day Trip, another Insomniac brand dedicated to house music, merging their roster together to put on the second edition of Skyline.

While half of Los Angeles was hiding from the unprecedented winter storm this past weekend, the other half was partying at the festival’s newly implemented location, Exposition Park. Read more on EDM Maniac’s experience at Skyline 2023:

Vibes: C

Although raving in the rain is always a vibe, we feel a bit conflicted about the energy at Skyline and here’s why: the attendees we personally interacted with were nothing short of amazing, but when standing in the crowd, the energy felt was the polar opposite.

People were aggressively pushing and shoving to get to their destination resulting in an unpleasant experience. We heard of many incidents where folks got their phones or wallets stolen.

Additionally, it seemed many attendees may have pushed themselves a little past their limits. The positive to many 21+ festivals is that people can drink and have a good time without it affecting the people around them, but this was not the case at Skyline.

By the end of day two, walkways and seating areas had multitudes of people passed out or vomiting which is never something you want to see walking from stage to stage. Another thing we will add, though, is that house and techno heads serve the best rave fashion. We were blown away by all the creativity surrounding us.

Venue: B

There’s no denying that Exposition is a historic park in Los Angeles, so we were eager to see how Skyline settled into its new home.

It’s a great location with enough space for a house and techno festival to take place, but the way Insomniac set up the festival this year doesn’t support the great potential Expo has.

We’ve been to festivals at this location in the past, so we know it’s possible to throw a great event and utilize the space. Given that a storm warning went out days in advance, we figured the festival would’ve been ready and equipped for the weekend, but it seemed a tad bit far from that.

The weather conditions were 100% out of Insomniac’s control, but properly preparing for the festival wasn’t. There were thick, deep puddles of mud spread out around the festival grounds, making it uncomfortable to get around, or simply dance. If you weren’t standing on plastic floor tiles, you were most likely stuck in the mud or cramped up on the east sides side pavements.

Now, in the west side’s VIP area, there were plenty of plastic tiles, but that doesn’t count for the whole festival. If there was more flooring added to the east side to avoid the heavy cramming we experienced on the pavement or flooring for the bathrooms that were difficult to navigate through, things would’ve been a lot smoother.

On the plus side, on-site parking was a great perk, and not having to worry about Ubers for many attendees was a nice treat for those who wanted to show up early and make a seamless exit.

Additionally, the views of the coliseum and science center made the experience at the park feel very natural within the city. Unfortunately, though, this meant there was easy access for picketers with megaphones to stand close to many festival points and try to hassle attendees.

On day two, some of the fencing covers were missing by the east side stage, so one of these picketers could be seen and heard during the daytime sets, even at the stage itself, which was kind of a bummer. 

Skyline Edmmaniac2023 01

Production: B-

The West and East side stage production was killer! The lit triangles on the west side stage paired with lasers were mesmerizing, and the pyro at the east side stage made drops feel more intense, but the sound wasn’t the best. On day one, the east side stage sounded as if it was down a few levels and the bass wasn’t hard-hitting.

On day two, the sound had a nice carry to it. But, when walking between stages, there was little to no time when at least one of the stages couldn’t be heard.

There was some slight sound bleeding, which was interesting considering the distance between stages. Near the back of the east side, and in VIP on the west side stage, there were multiple moments where you could hear the opposite stage.

This was likely due to the coliseum between them acting as a large amplifier for the sound, but nothing that would ruin the stage experience.

Insomniac also did a great job in nesting various food trucks and options for festival-goers within the venue like gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and more.

Music:  A+

The music was banging! We were in the presence of many big and up-and-coming figures within the house and techno scene like Michael Bibi, Charlotte de Witte, Sara Landry, Ellen Allien, and many more. Both stages had “mainstage” energy with the mind-bending lineups each one had.

We were cut short a couple of sets including Ben Hemsley while they continued to hold off on opening the West side stage on day one until after 7 pm, which was upsetting, but they did extend the festival an hour that same day to allow most of the artists to continue on as scheduled.

The real treat came in the form of some KILLER B2B’s including Shiba San & Solardo, Skream & Dennis Ferrer, and Sara Landry & Ellen Allien. This allowed for a unique set experience multiple times a day apart from most festivals’ single B2B instances.

Screen Shot 2023 03 01 At 12.47.24 Am

Accessibility (ADA): C

ADA had its own entry lane located at the main entrance of the festival and an accessible parking lot. They also did a good job at making the ADA tent noticeable as soon as you went past the entry gates for those who needed to get a dedicated wristband. But, with all the mud surrounding the ADA spaces, we couldn’t help but be concerned about their accessibility areas.

This, paired with the general overcrowding on day one, gave the impression that those with any type of mobility disability would have had an incredibly difficult time moving about whatsoever.

Overall: B-

Overall, Skyline was a unique experience. Some people called it quits after day one, others lost their shoes and other personal items in the mud, and on the other end, many were saying it was a great time from start to finish.

Personally, the food and music truly carried this festival, but it was impossible to turn a blind eye to a lot of the chaos that was existing around each turn.

We understand that the storm was out of Insominac’s control, we all lived it, but possibly rescheduling the festival or better organization would’ve been great. Hopefully, with less extreme weather conditions, Skyline can return next year and show us that this festival is here to stay at Exposition Park.

Featured images provided by Insomniac

Inspired by: edmmaniac.com

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