Hosted by INK Entertainment, VELD is one of the biggest annual attractions for electronic music lovers here in Toronto and with a marquee lineup featuring many internationally reknowned DJs this was most definitely one of the most anticipated events of the year. Unfortunately, like many of the other GTA’s summer festivals this year VELD 2015 would go on to be marred by weather concerns disappointing 30,000 fans who had travelled in from all over North America for the festival. While Day 2 may have been cancelled there was still plenty of festival to enjoy through the weekend.
VELD which holds the distinction of being Toronto’s biggest music festival takes place at Downsview Park about an hour subway ride from the heart of downtown where I’m located so eagerly I head on the subway around one PM so I can catch some of AC Slater at the Bacardi Stage. Unfortunately, I am too late but I head on over to the Main Stage and check out The Chainsmokers.Known for their infectiously catchy tunes “Selfie” and “Kanye” being the biggest examples The Chainsmokers play a great progressive house set which really gets the crowd going. As energetic as the sets they play the duo Alex Pall and Drew Taggert whip out their two newest tunes “Roses” and “Waterbed” which have the both the crowd and themselves dancing like there’s no tomorrow. After the set they head on to backstage and are more than happy to mingle with some of the media members present and take a lot of selfies. Unfortunately, the weather starts to turn with winds picking up so VELD is temporarily suspended for about two hours and the gates outside are closed. Meanwhile The Chainsmokers, as excited as they are, hop onto their trailers and keep the crowds outside entertained as they wait for the gates to reopen, meanwhile the rest of us mill around in the media tent waiting around for word. Time passes and eventually we’re given the go-ahead. Due to scheduling conflicts we’ve had to skip over Markus Schulz and head onto Nicky Romero. Nicky actually opens with his remix of “Heartbeat” and also plays quite a few other tracks from his Protocol Records Label in what I would consider one of the best sets of the day. He also made the best use of the visuals with heavy emphasis on pyro and smoke machines which added plenty of flair to his set. Playing plenty of festival staples such as his joint hit with Avicii ‘I Could Be The One (Nicktim)’ to go along with other tracks from Protocol, Nicky most definitely played a strong set start to finish. I skip out on Steve Aoki who is up next and head into the tent to prep for an interview with Loud Luxury but I’m most definitely going to make it back in time for the headliners, Kaskade & deadmau5. Throughout Kaskade’s set he consistently reminds the crowd how much loves performing in this city which has the majority of the festivalgoers applauding and cheering in response. Through his set he mixes it up with both the old and new reminding us just how long he’s been around for but with the rendition of his two newest singles “Disarm You” and “Never Sleep Alone” come the best crowd response of the night. While Kaskade wraps his set the crowd starts to buzz in anticipation anticipation for deadmau5’s closing set. Those who need to go to the bathroom start to make way so they can be back in time, even with the half an hour wait as we wait for deadmau5’s stage to be set up I can see hordes of people pushing their way to the front. With deadmau5’s needing a special stage pit access was going to be closed so we make our way to the elevated VIP section where the photographers jostle with each other for position in ancipation of the biggest act of the night – who did not disappoint one bit. Whether it was “Some Chords”, “The Veldt”, “Ghosts n Stuff” deadmau5 has crowd moving to the beat while he performs in his iconic mouse head. Even after he finishes his set the excitement is still palapable in the air as everybody heads to the exits eagerly waiting for tomorrow to come.
With Hardwell, Above & Beyond, and a whole host of UK based talent slated to perform throughout the day at the Bacardi Untameable tent you could have been forgiven for thinking that Day 2 was going to be a much better day. INK also announced that for the second day all of Downsview Park’s rides would be free to ride which was another exciting development for those interested.Learning my lesson from yesterday I leave earlier and get there just in time to see Loud Luxury, the local boys who I had the pleasure of interviewing the day before play a nice long set early in the day while the weather was still looking good. Known as ‘the next big Deep House thing’ from Toronto Loud Luxury are no strangers to the local scene having opened for some absolutely huge names but still VELD marked their festival debut and they did not let their hometown faithful down with a set to remember. I linger around the Bacardi stag for a bit longer before heading off to to catch Dzeko & Torres who I would be interviewing later in the day as well. Another local duo, Dzeko & Torres play a set that not only consists of festival staples and their own big hits “Alarm” and “Imaginate” but also mainstream classics such as “Wonderwall” which really has the crowd into it. Even at a relatively early scheduled time (from 2 to 3PM) there’s already a large crowd of people both at the main stage area and gathered in VIP dancing their hearts away. After the set I head back into the tent to relax for a bit but unfortunately the weather starts to turn and another delay takes place on the main stage as Mat Zo (who plays right after Dzeko & Torres) has to cut his set short due to safety concerns.
The show crew start to slowly dismantle some higher parts of the stage due to wind concerns which means the pit will no longer be open access. Glumly we head out into the field to check out Oliver Heldens who has just come on.The young Dutch future house producer seems intent on putting on a show regardless of weather, rallying the crowd with some of his hits such as “Shades of Grey” and “Gecko” he succeeds in getting the crowd back into it. In the distance storm clouds seem to roll in but for now all is good. I watch Heldens for a bit before deciding to head on back over to the Bacardi Stage to catch Gorgon City when we get the news that VELD is cancelled. Confused the crowd seems to take their time walking out the exits making sure to heckle the police and event organizers on their way out. Fortunately VELD closes just at the right time as less than an hour later a thunderstorm breaks out but by then most people have made it home.
While VELD 2015 might have been a disappointment due to the weather concerns it was nevertheless fun while it lasted. Hopefully next summer’s festivals may turn out better weather permitting!
Disclaimer from VELD organizers INK Entertainment.