Posted by Gosia Mrugala
All photographs: Brian Hamilton
So how was it for you?
The 2013 edition of the Digital Dreams Music Festival is already a couple of weeks in the rearview, but the incredible buzz of those two days at The Flats just lingers on. The folks at Electronic Nation have continued posting a ton of recaps and photos on the DD Facebook page. And if you want to relive the experience, you can buy the official festival soundtrack on iTunes.
I’ve been sifting, these last couple of weeks, through my musical memories of the Canada Day weekend, and the conclusion is inescapable: with an attendance more than double that of last year’s inaugural edition, Digital Dreams 2013 put Canada well and truly on the world festival map. Some 50,000 — I will say that again: 50,000! — music addicts invaded Ontario Place and created an energy that did their country proud.
Thanks to schedule mix-ups, I wasn’t able to make it on Saturday — grrrrr — but below you can read my look back at the day-two performances that made this year’s fest digitally dreamy. (Note: with multiple stages, there was no way I could be everywhere at once, and damn. Makes me wish I could clone myself and be at every stage to experience every set. Dear Santa …)
Don’t forget, by the way, to check out bpm:tv’s super-massive Digital Dreams photo gallery for visual evidence of all the madness. You’ll see samples of photographer Brian Hamilton’s awesome work on this page.
• Dzeko & Torres (on the Dream Stage) — Toronto’s own electro stars brought their A game and made their hometown proud. Not my first time seeing this dynamic duo in action on the decks, yet still they blew me away!
• Umek (on the Echo Beach Stage) – I’ve long been a fan of this guy’s intriguing tech-house sound. The Slovenian musical mastermind has a reputation for never leaving the crowd unsatisfied — and on the basis of his Digital Dreams performance, it’s well earned.
• Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (on the Dream Stage) – Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso named this Belgian duo the breakthrough producers of the year in 2009, and his prediction has been fulfilled many times over. These guys have an incredible energy, and their ability to communicate with the crowd was fully on display at Digital Dreams.
• Mark Knight (on the Echo Beach Stage) – Grammy-nominated veteran house producer Mark Knight has been on the scene for nearly 15 years and shows no signs of slowing down! His energy and passion were evident throughout his oh-so-pleasing-to-the-senses Digital Dreams performance. Score one for the graybeards.
• Dash Berlin (on the Dream Stage) – Away from the decks, this Dutch trancemeister gives off something of a shy boy vibe. But it’s just the calm before the musical storm. Once he hits the stage: THUNDER.
• Dubfire (on Echo Beach Stage) – This American tech-monster closed down the Echo Beach Stage — and, as always, left the crowd begging for more! His musical selection: absolutely orgasmic. I’ve seen Dubfire live several times, and I can’t remember ever feeling less than sated. He absolutely killed it at Digital Dreams, and if you decided to leave early because you were tired or hot or blah blah blah, I can only say: BIG MISTAKE. This is one artist you need to experience live at least once in your life. Bucket list time.
• Datsik (in the House of Boom) – This Canadian dubstep phenom closed the House of Boom stage, and what an ending it was! With incredible artists closing each of the stages, I made it my mission to dash from one to the other to be sure of experiencing a little of everything – but lemme tell you, Datsik’s set made it tough to pull myself away from the House of Boom. How to describe it? Imagine yourself in a Vegas casino at four in the morning, and they’re pumping in pure oxygen to keep everyone on their feet. Now imagine Datsik’s music is the oxygen.
• Tiësto (on the Dream Stage) – Security closed off the stage for Tiësto, and boy did they mean business! But no matter. Once the Dutch legend took the stage, he had the full energy and attention of the crowd. His supreme mastery of the crowd left no doubt about why he commands such lofty status; it simply is mind-boggling. And his musical choices: he dropped some classics from way-back-when that quite literally brought tears to my eyes and made the skin on the nape of my neck stand up. You’ve surely heard people describe Tiësto as having fallen under the commercial spell — and frankly, f**k that noise. He’s a versatile artist who likes to move with the musical waves, but he always holds onto the spirit and essence of his original style. I’ve been a fan from the moment I was introduced to his music, and I’ll stand confidently by every note.
To sum it up, pupils: if you weren’t there, you should be ASHAMED of yourself! I can’t even begin to imagine what 2014 will bring, but until then I’ll be reliving this incredible experience in my dreams.
What are YOUR favourite Digital Dreams memories?