Posted by Gosia Mrugala
It’s been a little while since Toronto’s Ontario Place morphed into an electric wonderland but the excitement continues to linger in the air. Thoughts and memories of the harmonious music and good vibes still give goose bumps to my entire body.
This year Electronic Nation made Digital Dreams a “cashless festival”. Attendees were given a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) wristband which became your wallet for the weekend. Scanning your wristband was the only way to pay for drinks, food and merchandise. Festival goers loaded their “digital wallets” online before they left home or at ‘top-up’ stations scattered throughout the festival grounds. At the end of the day, the RFID bracelet was a great idea! Line-ups moved quickly, the stress of wasting time lining up for drinks, food and festival merch was eliminated. The only lineup was the one to pick-up your bracelet at will call, with wait times up to two hours! There’s nothing worse than standing body-to-body in the heat, waiting an ungodly amount of time whilst hearing music from your favorite artists pounding in the other side of the fence. Next year make sure to buy your bracelet ahead of time! Everyone that did this year had their RFID wristband sent to them via snail mail – they just walked right in, with no delay.
The cell phone charging station was convenient but in my opinion unnecessary. Call me old-school but I think ‘technology’ distracts us from enjoying the moment. Ten years ago, looking out across the crowd all we would see was a sea of hands in the air and fans enjoying each note of music to the fullest! These days we see thousands of cellphone screens in the air capturing the moment. Come on people! Reliving the moment later on your computer screen is just not the same as being present in the moment that is playing out in real time.
This year we had four stages to choose from: The Dream Stage, Echo Beach, Bacardi House of Boom and Fantasyland/No.19 Social Experiment, the setup of the venue was perfect! The stages were spaced apart enough so that there was no overlapping sound from stage to stage.
The Dream Stage was the most intense! Lighting and sound unlike anything we have ever experienced in Canada before. The DJ booth hosted international superstars such-as Tiësto, Justice, Eric Prydz, Nervo, Dzeko & Torres, Fedde le Grand and our hometown boy Jelo to name just a few. Carnage’s was unforgettable; his energy and interaction with the crowd was adorable and his track selection was diverse. If you missed it I strongly suggest you keep your eyes open for his set online! Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike sent the crowd into an animalistic frenzy when they played Nirvana’s classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. And one experience I’ll never forget was the moment Mother Nature decided to let the sky dance with rain during Dash Berlin’s set. He played “Till The Sky Falls Down” and the crowd stayed put and danced in the down-pour. Thinking of it still sends a euphoric chill down my spine.
Echo Beach offered a more laid-back and heart thumping vibe, with stunning sets from Sydney Blu, Daniel Dubb, Danny Tenaglia, and many more. The vibe was Ibiza-like, standing in the sand with music dancing through the air, house music and tech music that just blew away all our expectations! Nicole Moudaber delivered a hard hitting techno set; but of course we expected nothing less from the Techno Queen. When Electronic Nation announced Deep Dish, anticipation grew and expectations were high. Boy did this duo deliver! It something I’ll tell my grand kids about. This was the reunion everyone was hoping for.
Before stepping into the Bacardi House of Boom tent you had to brace yourself… take a deep breath of the cool air and enter the hot, packed tent. Heat stifled the air and enveloped your body while the hard, grimy music took control of your soul. It was impossible to be in the House of Boom and just stand still. Sets that are imprinted on my mind are Flux Pavilion, I Am Legion, Keys ‘N Krates, and Excision. Yes, the heat in the tent was unbearable, but if you didn’t suck it up and enter, believe me you missed some hard, primal music.
One of the festival’s hidden gems was the fourth stage – Fantasy Land/No. 19 Social Experiment – a haven for trance enthusiasts. Unless you stumbled upon it or were informed by friends, you may not have ventured to the farthest corner of the festival grounds to find it. If you didn’t go there, let me tell you, you missed out! The music and the atmosphere were psychedelic and mind-altering. At night, the lighting had texture and set a mood of euphoria across the entire area. Alex M.O.R.P.H., Green Velvet and Super8 & Tab delivered sets that just keep replaying in my enchanted dreams.
If you missed this year’s festival, I strongly urge you to mark it with a HIGHLIGHTER in your calendar. It’s something we can dream about and Electronic Nation does a phenomenal job at bringing our dreams to life. I am still dreaming in digital!