The Kay Report
Originally published Aug 12, 2012
It’s been exactly one week after VELD Music Festival and I can’t get the feeling of those two glorious days out of my mind. Nor can’t I stop talking about it with friends, or looking back at pictures, searching hash tags about it on Twitter, or listening to track lists from all the artists that performed on that epic weekend.
If you have a passion for electronic dance music then VELD Fest was the place to be, August 4th and 5th at Downsview Park, Toronto. This city has certainly out done itself this time. It was the highlight of the summer and has placed Toronto on the map for an EDM Festival hot spot. With the successes of this year, there is no doubt that there will be another one next year, bigger, brighter, better.
Despite the 40 degree humidity, the scent of cigarettes and weed that filled my lungs with each breath I took, the manure covered ground in the Bacardi tent, the disgusting porta-potties, the hour long line to re-fill water, and the overpriced booze; it was one of the best experiences of my life.
It all started in April when Ink Entertainment first announced this summer’s hottest EDM festival. By only naming two headliners (Avicii and Deaudmau5) buzz about the event spread like wild fire throughout Toronto and surrounding cities. When the 1st batch of tickets went on sale later that month, they were sold out in less than 10min; causing servers to crash and making customers pay the next fee up. (From 89.99 to 114.99)
During the weeks leading up to the big day, more and more DJ’s were announced, increasing ticket sales and ticket price. Just a few days before the festival, general admission tickets were over $200, while VIP was close to $400.
Z103, a sponsor for the event, had a lot to do with the hype. From since about June they have been giving away tones of free VIP and general admission wrist bands, as well as dedicating much of their air time promoting the event. Up until the day before the festival Z103 was giving out four packs of wristbands to each caller almost every hour.
So was VELD worth four months of hype? It certainly was, living well past its expectations.
Drop after drop each DJ had the crowd begging for more, the sensation it created was too much for words.
Despite the scorching sun on Saturday, day one of VELD was a huge success.
Upon entering the park for the first time it was clear that everyone was here for one thing and one thing only: The music and appreciating the best of what electronic dance had to offer.
The 10 min showers that rolled through soaking the crowd during Steve Angello’s set was a huge relief from the heat. Dancing in the rain never felt so good. Fans were blown away as each performer gave it their all ensuring energy was maintained throughout the crowd.
One successful aspect of VELD was that it contained two stages, the main stage and the Bacardi Tent, located strategically across the park from each other. Each stage hosted top DJ’s from around the world, helping to diverse the estimated 50,000 people expected to attend. It’s important to note that the Bacardi tent was cleverly located on the way to the countless rows of portable toilets and hand sanitizers, so one could not help but dance as they made their way to the washrooms.
The Main stage kicked off with DJ Flipside and Deniz Koyu. It was the first time I have heard of these DJ’s and was surprised by their performance. Although the crowd was minimal at this point they had everyone warmed up and ready for Michal Woods, and Chris Lake.
When Woods took the stage there was no doubt that the ground literally shook. Not one person I could see in the crowd was standing still; the audience responded respectively to each drop and maintained that energy throughout the day.
What followed next can only be described as pure awesomeness, and by far the climax of the day. Steve Aoki, Knife Party, and Steve Angello. One DJ followed by the next DJ followed by the next. Three of the World’s best DJ’s whose beats filled the air with electronic heaven as it made its way through my body, vibrating my bones and moving my soul in a way that music has never done before.
Steve Aoki blew the crowd away as he did his signature stage move by spitting Champaign into the crowd and then crowd surfed on a blowup raft.
Unfortunately I was too mesmerized by the outstanding performances on the main stage to pry myself over to the Bacardi Tent to see the ruckus created there. But from what I read on Twitter and Facebook, each DJ tore the tent apart with insane dubstep beats creating a sensational mosh pit.
When Tommy Trash finished his amazing set in the Bacardi Tent at 9pm, everyone was gearing up in front of the main stage for the headline act, DeadMau5, who was scheduled to close the show from 9:15-11. Throughout the day Deadmau5 head pieces and mouse glow ears were seen by fans, hyping up Toronto’s own hometown EDM hero. Unfortunately his performance was a complete flop leaving fans completely stunned. He was the headline act who got outshined by the other opening acts. At one point the audience started throwing glow sticks at him in hopes that he would pick up the pace. It was like getting blue balls, one spectator commented. “I kept waiting and waiting for him to drop the bass…but he never did”. Apparently he experienced technical difficulties which lead to a disappointing performance.
After the insane first day at VELD, my expectations for day two was minimal…no way could anything or any performance steal the thunder from day one. But boy was I wrong! Day two was unexpectedly a hell of a lot better than the day before (If that was even possible). Although it rained in the morning during the 1st two acts, by 3pm the sun was shining and the weather was sweet. The energy in the crowd topped the first day, as audience members could not stop dancing, weather they were in the crowd, getting food, getting drinks, waiting to use the washroom, or just walking around the park.
The highlight of the day on the main stage was Nicky Romero, who captivated audience members every second he was on.
Over to the Bacardi Tent, while day one was all about dubstep, day two was a state of trance heaven. The most memorable performance by far was trance God, Gareth Emery who in my opinion deserved the main stage. His mesmerizing set had everyone screaming and jumping out of their skins; the foot deep of mud that covered the tent floors seemed to go unnoticed by fans who were engulfed by Emery’s soul thrilling performance. The high of his set however was when he dropped Sandstorm, creating a sensation so high that no amount of MDMA or ecstasy could have ever simulated.
By 8:30 the crowd was anxiously awaiting the headliner of the night, Avicii, who was without a doubt worth the wait and an excellent way to end the weekend. VELD saved the best for last and was exactly what the crowd needed. While listening to Avicii’s set I was reminded as to why he is considered one of the best DJ’s in the world.
Avicii left the crowd wanting more, making us chant in unison the tune of “Zombie Nation” as we sadly had to leave, outing the flame of the greatest weekend of summer 2012.