If you thought it was going to be a cold summer in Toronto, guess again. Following in the footsteps of Canada Day’s Digital Dreams Fest, the city played host to the second annual Veld Music Festival last weekend. A collaborative product between Ink Entertainment (owner of the world-renowned super-club The Guvernment) and the mouse-headed man of mischief, deadmau5, the two-day event saw crowds upwards of 60,000 and resulted in Canada’s largest-ever dance party.
Day 1: Despite a relatively high chance of showers, the sun shone bright in the sky throughout the day, welcoming throngs of people as they arrived at Downsview Park. Two separate stages, the Main Stage and the Bacardi Tent, offered festival-goers a double dash of sound. To say Day 1 was jam-packed would be an understatement. Put it this way: By the time rising trio Krewella finished wowing fans with their infectious brand of vocally driven bass music, it was only 4:30 in the afternoon–we weren’t even halfway through the day.
Hopping over to the Bacardi Tent, I managed to catch LessThan3’s favorite Taco-Cat lover, Dillon Francis, absolutely annihilate the room. Dropping bangers like Without You and his traptrastic Suit & Tie remix, he may have won top act of the night were it not for man who followed him up. Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t seen Seven Lions perform live at a show yet, I highly suggest you start looking up tickets immediately (hint: he’s going on tour with Krewella soon. An eye-melting amount of euphoric dubstep was dropped that day, and we were all the better for it).
The rest of the night was a collective blur of incredible sight and sounds: A pie-in-the-face by Steve Aoki, bone-shaking trap from 12th Planet, Animals by Martin Garrix dropped five or six times, and a chance meeting with deadmau5 and his white Ferrari (he’s exactly what you’d expect). By the time the co-headliners, Kaskade and Above & Beyond played, the crowd was in collective apoplexy. Kaskade’s impressive (and exclusive) live track selection, such as his mashup of Eyes and Julian Jeweil’s Air Conditionne, was a testament to the veteran’s immense talent. Above & Beyond showed the fans a thing called love amid confetti and lights and sent the roaring crowds home to their beds (or to the first round of the official Guvernment afterparty) with smiles on their faces.
Day 2: A word to the wise: This Madeon guy is pretty damn good. Opening things up with his newest release, Technicolor, the 21st-century version of Mozart (yes, I went there) put on a clinic of hard-hitting and colorful electro house. Bananas were everyone’s favorite food as Dada Life followed things up, bringing a host of on-stage antics and big room beats that the crowd ate up–I saw more than a few banana costumes during Day 2.
The Bacardi Tent played house to a more tech-orientated atmosphere, serving up acts like Victor Calderone, John Digweed, and Danny Tenaglia, to a very responsive crowd, serving notice that it wasn’t all about the mainstream. At only 90 minutes of stage time, it was almost a tease to hear so many talented artists in such a short time.
Back on the main stage, former Swedish House Mafioso Steve Angello pulled the infamous “sit down” technique during a Save The World/The Island mashup and (literally) made grown men cry (I saw it). Closing off the night was, you guessed it, Mr. Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5. Equipped with his signature mouse head and giant stage, deadmau5 played to field of 50,000 fans, mesmerizing the audience with a collection of new tracks, such as Turbo CartPig Race, Suckfest9001, and You There?, as well as classics like Raise Your Weapon and the always-popular Ghosts N Stuff, which I will probably never get tired of hearing.
As deadmau5 drew the festival to a close, a collection of multicolored fireworks erupted in the air above the stage. For those of you who managed to make it downtown in time to beat out the rush, deadmau5 returned to the decks at The Guvernment to play a “dirty dark n techy no mau5head set” well into the early hours of the morning. It was epic. In the end, over 30 artists played for nearly 40 collective hours in front of 55,000 fans–a worthy sequel to last year’s madness.