3 stages, Rap and a venue that keeps going strong

By August 9, 2017 No Comments

What's next for Veld? Every year its growth is exponential in spite of some bad luck early on, but the question continues to be asked: how will Veld continue to grow? Perhaps, Veld’s organizers saw the future in the growing mainstream of hip hop culture and so brought it this year to Toronto's largest EDM festival.

DAY 1

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The day started with many festival goers questioning what the weather would be when they’d finally get there. With a massive downpour in the downtown area, people wondered if this would continue and even possibly rain out Toronto’s multiple festivals— Veld, Caribana, OVO Fest—going on that weekend. The rain did stop after soaking the grounds and got everything ready for the mud show that would be later on. Considering it was already getting muddy at 1 o’clock when I arrived I easily imagined how it was going look when over 70,000 passed through those gates. With a more then gentle breeze sweeping over Downsview Park for the start of the event it almost made it feel like you needed a sweater in Toronto weather. Which is a very strange feeling thing when the previous day was 34°C.

Transportation to Downsview Park, Veld’s venue site in Toronto’s north end, was a nightmare. Fans were faced with choices of a mix of Uber, taxi, private transport or even TTC’s subway to bus to the venue was a hassle. A new subway line should be completed in time for next year’s festival.

Once they got over that hassle, fans saw right away that Veld is getting bigger and better with the presence of a new stage hosted by Sony Xperia, one of the major sponsors for the event. It was a large festival tent slotted right beside the main stage and entrance surrounded by shipping containers with the DJ playing from on top of a double stacked container!

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Among those 70,000 attendees were eight lucky winners of a New Amsterdam Vodka,, VIP package contest. This included flights to Toronto, lodging for the weekend at the Thompson Hotel, exclusive meet and greet with some surprise artist, VIP bottle service for the after parties and plenty of swag for them to take back home.  For these lucky winners from Montreal, Calgary, Kelowna and Ottawa, this would definitely be a weekend to remember.

In spite a short technical problem, Grey continued with their set as music played only from the monitors. Without any bass some of the crowd started to slowly dissipate. This didn’t last too long and they came back on top of things.

As Rémy Martin sponsored the secondary stage for the event it catered more to a  hip-hop / trap driven audience with artists like A$ap Ferg, Migos, Slushii and Borgore.

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A$ap brought the energy of that stage to another level right off the jump. Playing his opening song on the speaker he then immediately jumped down into the photo pit and stood on the railing greeting fans and holding on top them for support as he went through his catalogue of hits. A$ap is a true performer getting the crowd exactly where he wants. Making his DJ cut the track so he could spit his bars almost accapella you can see he has no problem being one of the hottest  lyricist in the rap game right now.

Borgore followed right after Ferg bringing a whole different vibe to the crowd. From Trap rap to Trap drops with mosh pits he was in control of the crowd. Dropping his massive hits like Forbes and 100’s fans didn’t stop jumping from the second he set foot on stage.

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Now to close out this stage Veld organizers knew they needed someone who is at the top of the industry right now. That have one of the hottest songs of the summer.

It was the one, the only trio from Atlanta… Migos. The crowd was jumping with anticipation. The trios dj spun a few tracks to get the crowd going before they hit the stage. He made sure the energy was there before the “Bad and Boogie”  hit makers would perform. Delivering a show that only they can do. The energy was what people had been waiting all day for.  Going through their catalogue and finishing with their hit single. This prepped the crowd for the main stage closing act of Day 1: Future.

Many people were quite curious on Veld’s change to appeal to a wider audience than just the EDM demographic. This for sure isn’t a bad thing just a weird one. Only so many artists can close out festivals and to have Future for Day 1 seemed to be a poor choice. Only playing the chorus to one of your dozen songs that you are featured on did not give the energy needed to bring the crowd to another level after Zedd just sent their emotions to the moon. With a minimal crowd reaction every time he said anything, most spectators would have been way happier with Zedd closing it out.

DAY 2

Day 2 started with some heavy hitters at the main stage. Loud Luxury, 3lau,W&W, Tchami,Tiesto and Major Lazer to close out the festival. With a line up like that at the main stage it wasn’t surprising to see how many attendees didn’t even move from the big DJ stage.

However, for those curious to see what else was going on they were in for a treat when they visited the Rémy Martin stage.  Getter, Ookay made sure to build up the energy and set the tone for the day. Getter’s “Head Splitter” rang out into the sky as mosh pits collided. For some spectators mosh pits seem like a vicious circle where you go to be punched and hit by other people but as Ookay said, “If anyone falls down you pick them up. We are all here as one big family.” So for as much respect you can have for ramming into other people at full force make sure to be kind to them when you do it, i guess.

For those who were excited to see Lil Uzi Vert their dreams were cut short as he was unable to attend the festival due to some border issues.  With that being said Veld made sure to find someone who would be a worthy replacement. Who other then French Montana of course. French also managed to stay in town an extra day to do a surprise appearance at Drakes OVO Fest.

Tory Lanez brought the 2nd stage to a crazy other level. Jumping in the crowd and making his way to the sound booth to then climb it and rap from there. No one expected that one.

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Tiesto managed to set the tone for the main stage. The reigning EDM vet has a slew of hits he could have played all night and done a set solely out of that. However he managed to stay in touch with the times and play an incredible set. You could really see how Tiesto is one of the greatest dj’s of all time. Touring non-stop all over the world he made sure to make Toronto feel like they were something special. As the sun set the energy sky rocketed to another level. Pyro, CO2 cannons, flames, fireworks the whole shebang! This was all to prepare you for the next act who would be anything less then.

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Welcome to the Major Lazer workout show. Full of jumping jacks, shirt waving and drop lows. The energy is something like no other show can produce. The trio really were —-and are— true showmen.  Playing a wide variety of music that ranged from every cultural background. They certainly were aware that it was Caribana weekend here in Toronto, shouting out Jamaica, Trinidad and Dominican as they performed their various hits.  To my disappointment the show didn’t finish with fireworks or lasers which is surprising for a group of this caliber and title. I feel like that would somehow be a festival tradition to end on these major high notes but they simply seemed to play the last song and walk off.

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For those who were yet to be satisfied there was still an after party to be had. Rebel presents the official Veld after party with 3lau, Diplo and Deadmau5. Deadmau5 was nowhere to be found on the bill this year which left people feeling quite odd. For so long he was the festival’s flag bearer and now there was no sign of him, until news of the after party hit social media and sent everyone into a frenzy.  Rebel located near the docks adjacent to the notorious Cabana Pool Bar was the perfect venue to close out the weekend. This nightclub with the massive video walls and the “rings of Saturn ” overhead is like nothing else in Toronto. Taking over from Sound Academy this venue made you feel like you were in Vegas. Which by chance is where they got the idea for

For those who were yet to be satisfied there was still an after party to be had. Rebel presents the official Veld after party with 3lau, Diplo and Deadmau5. Deadmau5 was nowhere to be found on the bill this year which left people feeling quite odd. For so long he was the festival’s flag bearer and now there was no sign of him, until news of the after party hit social media and sent everyone into a frenzy.  Rebel located near the docks adjacent to the notorious Cabana Pool Bar was the perfect venue to close out the weekend. This nightclub with the massive video walls and the “rings of Saturn ” overhead is like nothing else in Toronto. Taking over from Sound Academy this venue made you feel like you were in Vegas. Which by chance is where they got the idea for the motorized ring lighting fixture.

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Photos & Story by: Maurice Veniot

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