Digital Dreams [Festival Review]

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Jul 5, 2015

It’s officially summertime, and the beautiful weather makes attending massive festivals such as Digital Dreams that much more magical. This year, the two-day festival saw a change of plans, which turned it into a one-day outdoor festival for many festival-goers in the city.

Day 1

The week prior to the event, the forecast was predicting rain – city-wide, ponchos were selling out at many Dollaramas, in preparation for partying in the rain.

My bag is packed, and I’m fully dressed as Tai from Digimon, to fit the ‘Digital’ theme – the breeze from my window indicates that it’s cold outside, but I’m as fired up as I can be to go and dance in the downpour.

As I’m about to tighten my wristband and head out to experience Digital Dreams the first time, my cellphone goes off, indicating that I received a new alert from the Digital Dreams App. I’m staring at my screen incredulously, re-reading the words “Day 1 is cancelled”. The cancellation was not from the fact that it was raining, especially since Digital Dreams stated that it would operate during rain or shine, but rather from the high winds which caused the temperature to plummet, as well as for the safety of those on the park grounds. I accept the loss and call it a day.

Across the city, many different reactions arose, especially frustration – more so from those in the vicinity, as compared to those who came from across the border. Attendees, promoters and venues all scramble to make up for it in whatever way possible.

In the end, the afterparties that were supposed to take place after the event end up becoming the main event(s) for the day.

Of all the afterparties going on, the Monstercat label takes the cake – its afterparty takes place at Tattoo, and partnered with, it livestreams the event for those who are unable to attend, due to venues selling out or lack of funds to spend outside the festival.

On top of receiving a 50% refund on our wristbands, Day 1 doesn’t feel like a total loss, overall.

Day 2

The morning starts out the same way the previous morning did – grey, cool and drizzling. Instead of asking who we’re most excited to see, people across the city are instead asking if Day 2 is just as likely to be cancelled.

The Digi Dreams app informs us that Day 2 is up and running, but will be starting at 4:00 instead of 2:00, giving attendees a couple more hours to prepare accordingly for the weather.

Upon arrival, the lines were empty – we instantly make it into the grounds. I’m taken over by both a sense of novel wonder and familiarity, seeing Ontario place and all of the (fully operational) rides from my childhood, transformed into the fabled festival I’ve heard so much about these past few years.

I start by heading over to the Bacardi Untameable stage. It easily lives up to its name, seeing as how it’s packed with the most bass and energy on the grounds.

Datsik is on stage, and, without building up the hype for one, has a continuous mosh pit going on for the entire duration of his set. Unfortunately due to a mix-up between security and the rest of our staff our photographers couldn’t access the pit area of the Bacardi Stage for photographs.

It starts raining, but most of us agree that it feels much nicer to dance without ponchos on, and feel the cool rain on our skin. Meanwhile our editor is over at Adventure Club where the stage area is jam-packed with thousands of fans cheering on the local Canadian favourites snapping away. “Adventure Club was great, the crowd was really feeding off of their energy and it definitely set the tone for Garrix and Zedd heading forward” – his words not mine.

Adventure Club perfectly paved the way for the main two headliners of the night. [Photo courtesy of Erockk Exo]

After some time, we head over to the main stage, to finish the night with Martin Garrix and Zedd’s sets. While I may have missed out on Martin’s set my editor was around to catch most of it. “Martin made his name as a producer not a DJ and while it certainly showed even as recently as six or seven months ago he’s definitely improved in that regard. He played a lot of festival staples in what could be summed up as a decent set, all in all definitely better than I had expected heading into it but still no performance to write home about.”

Martin Garrix brings the fuego! [Photo courtesy of Erockk Exo]

At this point, the sun has started going down, and the lights from the CN Tower has been turned on. It’s a multitude of colours, which resembles the rainbow that graced both Digital Dreams and World Pride last year.

The lights on all the other attractions start coming on as well, bringing the entire festival to life at night, with spinning and flashing lights everywhere you turn.

The Dreams Stage in all its glory. [Photo courtesy of Erockk Exo]

As Zedd takes to the stage, the crowd erupts in celebration, as he opens with one of the tracks from his new album, True Colours.

To be honest, I’m not taken aback by Zedd’s set like everybody else. He played new tracks that I’ve never heard before, and he knows how to get the crowd moving, but it feels like he played a lot of the same songs that he played at last year’s VELD Music festivals, including His Remix of the Zelda Theme, the big songs on his album Clarity, and ending with his remix of Empire of the Sun’s ‘Alive.’

However, the visuals that go with his show, including the fireworks, pyrotechnics and masses of seemingly endless confetti really liven up the atmosphere, making him as the headliner a wonderful spectacle to be a part of.

Despite my first Digital Dreams turning out to be a one-day wonder, it still has me very intrigued to want to attend next year, and live it up to the fullest!

Zedd’s visuals in full swing. [Photo courtesy of Erockk Exo]


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