IleSoniq 2017 – The Story

By August 16, 2017 No Comments

What a difference a change of venue makes. It was a completely different festival this year, with stages scattered on Ile St-Helene. No more traditional hill spot. Instead, people said they would meet at a common rally point: “I’m beside the big mushroom”, to which their friends replied, “The yellow one with black stripes or the white stripes?”

What a difference a change of venue makes. It was a completely different festival this year, with stages scattered on Ile St-Helene. No more traditional hill spot. Instead, people said they would meet at a common rally point: “I’m beside the big mushroom”, to which their friends replied, “The yellow one with black stripes or the white stripes?”

The island, which traditionally hosts Formula 1 racing, became home to roughly more than 120,000 people for Osheaga, the previous weekend, three days of all sorts of music. Ile Soniq, caters to more of an EDM-based crowd also added (as many other big festivals did this year) a more rap line up, but more on that later. This years festival would host around 70,000 attendees.

With Ile Soniq’s temporary home came a very interesting new stage. Apple Music’s Neon Stage, a floating dock stage, built on one of the channels that cut in and out of Ile St-Helene. It made for an incredible effect as people bounced and hopped all around. Tucked away a small distance from the La Vie Bud Light stage it catered to more of a deep-house crowd. This was not the case for Day Two which featured acts like Ghastly, Lookas, Malaa and Excision to name a few.

The festivals “rap day” was a success with artist like OT Genesis, Desiigner and the superstar trio Migos. Songs like “Coco”, “Bad and Bougie” and “Panda” played threw the massive speakers to a crowd which was quite receptive to Ile Soniq’s new direction to appeal to a wider audience.

The Chicago natives Louis The Child performed a killer set on the Main Stage bringing their distinct style to the forefront. With their close friends Big Gigantic playing on the nearby stage it was unfortunate to not see them jump on to play a few songs together as they have done before at such festivals like Lollapalooza. The duos live style featuring drums and sax as the major components brought a nice “band” feels to the festival which is something you don’t see often at EDM festivals and nice to see not all music is made behind computers nowadays.

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Afrojack performed with a hype man which is quite unusual which leads me to believe he must have lost his voice. With his distinct style he managed to get the crowd exactly where Tiesto needed them to kick off the closing set.

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He managed to do what he does best, that is to bring the crowd to another dimension. A set filled with special effects: From confetti cannons; water cannons; C02; to a waterfall pyro curtain which blew away the crowd. For some this was a special effect they had never seen before. Playing a slew of classic Tiesto hit from “Red Lights” to the all time classic closer “Adagio for Strings,” which he performed as his encore. To finish, fireworks reached the top of the skies making for one beautiful moment as a spectator.

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DAY 2

Repetition is key to many things but when it comes to Main Stage artists it can sometimes be annoying like watching four of the Main Stage dj’s play. I happened to notice that they all played a slew of the same song, from Skrillex’s “Cinema” to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of you”. I don’t know whether or not any other festival goers noticed it or maybe they were too lost in the drops to even know what was going on.

Slushii delivered an electrifying set filled with the acrobatic-gymnastic team silk rope dancers performing on the massive inflated balls that sat on either end of the stage. This was cut short by torrential downpours that forced everyone to seek shelter in the nearest trees.  As soon as the first beam of sunlight reached out from behind the clouds the crowd was ecstatic. This lasted roughly 20-25 minutes. And the festival resumed shortly after. A nice unforeseen intermission if you may.

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In between sets the stage crew made sure to sweep the “Y” that protruded from centre stage. Everyone’s favourite stage hand— “Santa Claus”— as many referred to him was there. “Santa” would get the crowd all amped up twirling his broom in the air throwing up some horns.

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Malaa, one of the top house dj’s billed for the festival, came ready to deliver a powerful house set to the crowds delight. Unfortunately his set was cut short for safety reasons. The Neon stage where he was performing was built as a massive floating dock. Both sides of the river were closed off by fencing but one of the fences happened to fall down.

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People could have easily assumed this would happen during Excisions set when things got a little more rowdy but to everyone’s surprise it happened during a house set. Malaa’s performance was postponed for 20 minutes. This was very unfortunate as Malaa really had the crowd in the palm of his hand at the time. He came back to close out his set with his hit Notorious which samples Biggie.

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If it’s you’re first time at a festival it’s always good to see what kind of variety the festival has. From hip hop, trance, mainstream EDM to dj’s that are a breed of their own. This brings us to Excison. Don’t expect to dance happily here. This is not for the faint of heart. Described as the closest thing to metal in EDM this is some heavy shit!  Expect bass to be in your face from the second he starts.

To close out the festival Ile Soniq offered its attendees three closing sets: Excision at the floating Neon stage, Infected Mushroom at the La Vie Bud Light stage and finally Porter Robinson at the Fido Oasis main stage. We chose the third.

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The other options were very much more on the heavier side while Porter was there to bring people to an emotional high. He brought a very personal feel to the show by not setting himself atop of the massive DJ booth but instead right in front of its massive video wall.

Laptop, synth, drum machine and a table was all he needed. This more striped down version made you feel this was a more intimate set. Sending hearts to an emotional high the crowd was brought together by Porter’s beautiful melodies. The wall was supported with anime visuals and there was plenty of pyrotechnics making it a breathtaking set. If you ever have the chance do yourself the favour and go see him whenever you can.

As the crowds dissipated after all the sets were done we could all feel as one. Festivals do more than just bring music to the masses. It brings people together no matter if it’s Excision that melted your face with bass or Porter Robinson who made you cry because it was so beautiful.

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The fact is that we all felt what music does to us. It’s an escape. It’s a release. It’s a vibe.

Text & Photo: Maurice Veniot

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