REVIEW: Digital Dreams Festival in Toronto 06/30/12 and 07/01/12 by Tung Bui


I am so happy I got to be a part of Toronto’s first and biggest outdoor music festival. After hearing friends and watching videos of internationally known events such as UMF, Tomorrowland, EDC, Nocturnal, Sensation White, Electric Forest Festival, etc., I’ve always wanted to travel and experience what others have the fortune of enjoying, unfortunately, I am always unable to attend due to my studies and work. I remember it was some time shortly after Easter long weekend’s Decadence at The Guvernment that I heard about Electronic Nation introducing Torontonians to “Digital Dreams”. I must’ve been one of the first people to hear it because I was the first to hashtag “#DigitalDreamsMusicFestival”! Even my fellow party friends didn’t know what I was talking about — so I spread the word! I told everyone to get tickets and there I was, in front of my computer screen at 11am on a Thursday for the pre-sale.

Digital Dreams was amazing! I made it out on Sunday evening to start my long weekend.. Though I was only there for about half the day, I was thoroughly impressed with the organization and ultimately, the success, of the entire event. The energy was electric at each stage I passed by (though I caught a good amount of the Afrojack set) to get my photos, and it really seemed like everyone was having a blast in the perfect weather!

Here is my overview of the event:

Day 1:
I started with A-trak, A Canadian DJ repping our country. I really love his style of music – it was a mixture of funk and electro, similar to Daft Punk. I was upset because I nearly missed his whole set. But when I arrived he threw it down hard. When he dropped “Heads Will Roll” everybody went crazy! Everybody was grooving and bumping to the beat. Sadly, after couple more songs, he left and it transition to DJ Chuckie. Chuckie is a Dutch DJ and Producer who I truly admire. His beats are hard as they come. I was a little disappointed with Chuckie because he played almost his exact set at EDC Las Vegas. Sure he got the crowd going and pumping, but for EDM lovers who listen to recorded sets from other events, I thought it was a downer. Mind you his EDC set was 45 mins of nonstop energy and at Digital Dreams his set was two hours long, so how are they the same? Chuckie basically dropped the first 25 mins of the EDC recorded set and then dropped a Deadmau5 track because we are in Canada, and when he was done with that, he went back to his EDC set. There are times where he would climb on top of the stage to jam and get the crowd going and I would notice a song has just transitioned, is this some DJ sorcery I did not know about? Did he have telekinetic powers? I was pretty bummed about that, I couldn’t enjoy myself. But the crowd was going nuts for it, I guess in the end it’s all about entertaining the majority and he sure did it. He did a bootleg of “Rapture vs Tetris Theme Song” which got fans jumping.

After Chuckie my friends and I decided to go walk around and scope out the festival. We saw a lot of people dressed in fluorescent colors. We also saw people with feathers on top of their head, big body builders, and girls dressed in neon coloured tights like in the Eric Prydz video, “Call On Me”. The Echo Stage was pretty hectic because it was basically a beach party. Deep house and tech house were the sound for The Echo Stage. I stayed there for a bit trying to catch the acts and some shade. It was boiling outside but well worth it.

After an hour of roaming around the festival I went back to the main stage where R3hab was playing. R3hab was epic, and his chainsaw style of music really got people jumping up and down. My favourite part of the night was when he dropped “We’ll Be Coming Back” by Calvin Harris and Example (R3hab Remix). It was such a beautiful song– the catchy hook and euphoric melody lifted my spirits up after such a long day but soon came the drop for that song, and it was just madness! Dirty chainsaw sounds roaring the stage, and people were raging out of their minds! Bad news came after R3hab’s set; Afrojack’s airplane was broken in Edmonton so he would come the next day, which was a bummer. Duck Sauce was bumped to headline that night, it was fun hearing disco French house though. It was a good night.

Day two:

Our bodies were sore from standing long hours the day before so we decided to go to the venue later when Afrojack played. We caught the last 45 minutes of his set. A set that really surprised me was a DJ group called Designer Drugs. Damn were they good! I was caught off guard by them! I had never heard them before, and they were playing hard electro and dubstep. Oh man, they got that sound right! It was a pleasant surprise for me seeing as I missed a chunk of Afrojack.

At nightfall Alesso came on. The Swedish DJ brought the energy and crowd to another level. This was the party of the century, and if you weren’t here at this moment, you have no idea what you missed. He opened his set with his unreleased track called “Clash” I looked around and saw the biggest crowd forming when he played. I felt as though I was going to battle. Beats were playing, people crowding in, there was literally no room to breathe or move. The light show was oh so violent, with bright flashing lights hitting my face with every beat that played. Alesso brought down the house! One memorable moment was when he dropped One Republic’s song “Apologize”. Everyone was singing along and I can’t help but wonder if Alesso felt very giddy about what he has just done to the crowd. He made thousands of attendees sing along to the words. I know I felt giddy, I felt like a little school girl at a Justin Bieber concert! When the song build up, Ryan Tedder’s voice broke down and stuttered, and glitched. And “Million Voices” dropped by Otto Knows! I did not see that coming! It was such an amazing moment, I felt so good, I felt like I was in euphoria it felt so heavenly, it felt so right. I was sharing this moment with 25k attendants, feeling the same thing, and the drop came in and BOOM! Magic was spitting everywhere– lights were flashing, confetti shot up into the sky, everybody was jumping, screaming, and kissing… it was an experience that I will never forget.

In short, my time at Digital Dreams was amazing! After nearly three long months of waiting, June 30th finally arrived! Anyone who claims these parties are dangerous really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. All you are surrounded by are smiles, friendly, sociable people, bright-coloured clothing, awesome DJs spinning awesome music, and of course, A TON OF LOVE! Its great to see sooo many people — Torontonians, CANADIANS — united in one place to share the love of music. You meet a lot of people at these events… and yes you may not remember them at all or even their name, but your day is simply made by a friendly comment or a share of words. I’m sure I speak on behalf of thousands of people when I say partying in the daytime is INSANE! It’s a totally different experience; we’re all so used to the nightlife because that’s all we’re offered here. But it gets even better as the day goes on and the sun goes down. The music is bumpin’, the party goes harder, the people are more fun, and the lightshow gets better! You get four different stages with four different sounds. Imagine the feeling: you are having the time of your life in your own world then you look around you all you see are your best friends smiling and dancing too. It’s absolutely euphoric! You don’t need anything else in your life at that moment… not even food (as hungry as you may be… even I had only one meal per day)! I slept for 10 hours in two days, and danced for 26. DD allowed me to realize my full party potential!

If you failed to attend this event I highly suggest you mark your calendars for 2013 and keep it free. You run into so many people you know and it just makes you feel good to be united and sharing these moments. And…I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I was partying in my bikini and sunglasses ALL DAY! WHERE AND WHEN ELSE CAN YOU DO THAT? All you need is one day to change your life forever. I may sound like a hippie right now but if you were there, you’d understand. I don’t know of a single soul who didn’t get their mind blown for those two amazing days! And to be honest, you don’t even have to love, not even LIKE house music to have a great time there (but you definitely WILL ONLY be listening to EDM afterwards.) I have made memories that will last me a lifetime and I already can’t wait for the next one. If you haven’t already seen, I say you should YouTube Digital Dreams 2012 and see how crazy and hyped the crowd and show was.

Hope you all had as happy of a Canada Day as I did at Digital Dreams

Tung Bui – EDM TOR


About Author

Adele Desloges

Adele is the owner of Tranceported. She also heads up the social media as well as the photo and video teams, and was a promoter of events across the Toronto area for years. She has been a fan of Trance music since the mid-90s and has been shooting Trance events since 2011..

Leave A Reply