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After witnessing two huge festivals in Toronto this summer (Digital Dreams and ID Fest), I thought I was fully prepared to take on the Veld Music Festival. Two days of the biggest and best EDM acts in the world at the largest electronic festival in Canada’s history sounds like a walk in the park right? I consider myself a seasoned veteran of EDM shows, but Veld was arguably the craziest party I have ever seen or been a part of. 20,000+ people packed the huge fields at Downsview Park this past weekend to rage and dance their faces off, and they weren’t disappointed. Let no one say Canadians don’t know how to party–we bring it.
Saturday started things off with beautiful weather, a great opening to the festivities. The venue was already packed when I arrived, a melting pot of people of all ages, races, and musical tastes. Two different stages were set up, with the main stage hosting the biggest attractions, and the Bacardi Tent offering a different style of music each day (dubstep for the majority of Day 1, and trance for Day 2). The first performer I saw was Michael Woods, who put on a blistering big room performance. After his set, when asked what he enjoyed the most about playing in Canada, he stated, “the crowd here loves the music. They have so much energy–it reminds me of the shows I play in the States.”
Next up was Chris Lake, who played hits such as Sundown and his remix of Speak Up by Laidback Luke. Halfway through his set I danced my way over to the Bacardi Tent and managed to catch the opening of vocal dubstep trio Krewella, and boy am I glad I did. The group put on an incredibly energetic performance, dropping hits such as Play Hard and their awesome vocal remix of Skrillex’s Summit. Live electro group Savoy continued the same blistering pace, melting faces left right and center, especially with their remix of When The Night Falls by Chromeo. With so many awesome producers performing at the same time it was tough to choose one over another, but ultimately it was fun to switch back and forth and hear different people at the same time. I juggled watching party-boy Steve Aoki and Swedish stars Cazzette before settling in for a filthy party. A Knife Party, that is. The ex-Pendulum duo thew everything but the kitchen sink at the crowd, blending blistering seizure-step with trap and moombahton.
One of the most incredible moments of the festival was during the opening of Kill The Noise’s set. As people began to head over to the Bacardi Tent, the rain began to fall. The familiar sounds of Language by Porter Robinson hit the air and caused hundreds of people to scream in joy and start stampeding to get to the dancefloor. KTN put on a super-heavy show, and the crowd returned the favor by going absolutely bonkers. Tommy Trash followed up after, and while I tried to hop between him and Steve Angello, I really didn’t want to miss a minute of the mad Aussie. Tommy dropped a collection of his biggest hits, including his massive remix of The Veldt by Deadmau5. He kept the party rocking until the very end, when the tent was finally closed down to bring everyone to the headliner, the mau5 himself.
Although heavy rain eventually shorted out some of his equipment and his mousehead, it didn’t stop Mr. Zimmerman from hypnotizing the crowd with long buildups and big, progressive drops. His newest song, There Might Be Coffee (click for free download), was a beautiful penultimate track, a melodic masterpiece that ended so masterfully, people assumed the show was over. The people who stayed a few more minutes were treated to Strobe, an awesome way to send people home. The festival was already everything attendees could have asked for, and it was only the first day!
The second day started out overcast and full of scattered showers. While this didn’t bode well for the festivities, it did nothing to stop the wave of fans from appearing in droves–like I said, Canadians know how to party. Complextro whizzes Darth & Vader and “Russian House Mafia” group Swanky Tunes kept the party at a high level before Mord Fustang hit the decks. Everyone’s favorite Estonian dropped songs that perfectly suited for the summer, such as his hit We Are Now Connected and old favorite Super Meat Freeze. After this I took a short break at the delicious food trucks they had available, scarfing down some quesadillas and pizza. I have to give props to the organizers for such a well-run festival; food and beverages were easy to come by and they were also giving out free water refills.
After recharging my batteries I decided to hit up the Bacardi Tent for some good old fashioned trance. Aly & Fila brought back memories of the main room at The Guvernment, no easy feat considering people were literally dancing on top of a farmer’s field (manure included)! Nicky Romero was next for the main stage. Growling electro bass and beautiful vocal buildups had the crowd right in the palm of his hand. He dropped huge songs like Avicii collaboration Nicktim, current Beatport chart-topper Sparks with Fedde le Grand, and a WTF!? Promises mashup.
Second-to-last to come on was dubstep icon Bassnectar, someone I have never been lucky enough to see. Let me tell you, he did not disappoint! He put on one of the craziest and most enjoyable sets I have ever seen, and I guarantee you that the rest of the crowd would agree with me. Jaw-dropping tracks from his latest album Vava Voom such as Butterfly, Ping Pong and Ugly had the crowd in collective apoplexy. The man is an amBASSador for the EDM world–a definite must-see when he comes to town again.
Finally, the last performer was set to play: hands-in-the-air super-duper-star Avicii. I had originally heard mixed reactions about his live performances, but I am happy to say that he blew the metaphorical roof off the festivities. Standing up on the hill and watching the waves of people all celebrate his music was an image I will never forget. By this time night had fallen, and thousands of people waved glowsticks and finger lights in time with the incredible light show that was happening on stage (see picture above). He played all of his well-known hits such as Silhouettes, Fade Into Darkness, and of course, Levels. Everyone sang along to every song. It was a really great moment of unity, and really what EDM is all about–having a great time with friends and strangers alike.
With another Veld Festival already in the works for next year, I can only eagerly count down the days until then. After such a show, how can they really top this? I guess we can only wait and see.