Two days, 35 scheduled artists and 85,000 like-minded ravers ready to battle the elements and dance the Civic long weekend away, aka Veld 2014. For the third consecutive year, INK Entertainment chose Downsview Park as the location for their largest event, running August 2 and 3 in Toronto, Canada. Pair the rain, mud, sun and humidity with elaborate costumes, amazing bartenders and security and police who danced harder than some attendees, you have a weekend criss-crossing the grounds, positive vibes and more (good) surprises than headaches.
On a tragic note, RIP to Willard, Annie and to the young woman who was hit by a vehicle outside the venue day 1. We are sending your loved ones positive vibes and your family and friends are in our prayers. We hope you continue dancing while you watch over us.
Top sets day 1: Oliver Heldens, Nero, Armin*
*Note: artists in order of appearance
Special mention to locals MC Flipside, Hatiras, and Mark Oliver for throwing down amazing opening sets day 1!
We arrived as Oliver Heldens was on the main stage. Disclosure – Latch (one of the most played songs along with Armin‘s Ping Pong and Flashlight by Deorro and R3hab) then Calabria 2007 could be heard pumping through the speakers. As we found our bearings, the heavens opened up and it poured. Many people went scouring to find shelter while many others, not made of sugar, braved the rain and continued to dance. Welcome to Veld 2014. Mud pits started forming throughout the grounds but most people made the best of the weather and continued dancing.
We headed over to the Bacardi Stage where OVERWERK continued the vibe MC Flipside and Hatiras had set forth. From the beginning of the festival, the Bacardi Stage was our home base: the artists, the people and the vibes were the best at the festival. No attitudes, little pushing, and room to dance no matter where you were in the crowd. The definite highlight were the security guards: not only did they hand out water or ear plugs to those who wanted/needed it they also took hundreds of photos while making sure everyone was safe. They definitely rocked out harder than some people against the barriers. To the police officers and security guards sporting kandi, it definitely lifts your spirits when you see those working the festival having just as an amazing time as well.
DJ Sliink was up next. Playing a mix of club, hip hop and rap favourites, he kept the crowd entertained and on their feet. Crowd CTRL and Bubble Butt, Ass Shake and The Real Slim Shady were highlights from his set. The remainder of day 1 was spent between the two stages for Dannic, W&W, Bingo Players , Milo & Otis, until Nero. All festival attendees had in/out privileges and we took a moment to rest our ears. It was a short walk to the plazas at Keele and Sheppard where you could grab a bite to eat or a frozen treat from Dairy Queen. We started to walk back and heard The Streets – Blinded by the Light (Nero Remix) blasting. Needless to say, we high-tailed it back.
We were walking back to the venue as Crush on You (Nero Remix) could be heard blasting from the main stage. We had seen Nero before on their numerous stops to Toronto previously, and this was who we were most excited to see. Hands down, Nero had the best set of day 1. Their set list included majority of singles from “Welcome Reality,” Into the Past from The Great Gatsby film, their newly released hit Satisfy, Nero and Skrillex’s Remix of Monsta‘s Holdin’ On, Icky Thump by The White Stripes. Alana Watson sang Promises (Original Mix) live, which was mixed into the Nero & Skrillex Remix.
Their set was a welcome breath of fresh air from the other main stage acts. Not only did they play a lot of their own music, but they strayed from big room bangers and many singles that were played earlier on. Nero definitely deserved their main stage slot and we cannot wait for their return to Toronto!
As Nero finished to a thundering applause we high tailed it back to the Bacardi Stage for Brillz. We walked up to the stage to Type of Way by Rich Homie Quan. As soon as the song ended, Brillz said “let’s have a house party” to cheers from the crowd. From that moment on it was about dancing and feeling the vibes while we heard Three 6 Mafia‘s Stay Fly, RL Grime‘s Satisfaction Remix, Noisia‘s Smack My B**** Up Remix, Nero’s Me & You and Yung Joc‘s It’s Going Down.
Headlining day 1 was Armin van Buuren. This man is no stranger to us, as we have seen him four times since ASOT 450 including his Toronto stop for Armin Only: Intense in April 2014, and knew we were not going to be disappointed. He played an amazing set which included tracks like In and Out of Love, Ping Pong, Don’t You Worry Child, Concrete Angel, and Back To You. We left just a little short of the end of Armin’s set to attempt to beat the chaos of exiting and to go get rest for day 2, which we were looking forward to. From the parking lot across from the venue you could still hear the music, the cheers from the crowd, and even see the visuals, although backwards, from the main stage. We had a mini dance party by the car and said goodnight to day 1.
For anyone in VIP who was wondering why security was not letting people on the elevated deck, we were told it was because there is a capacity of 800. Though there seemed to be roughly 150-200 people at most each time the stairs were blocked… hmm.
Top sets day 2: the Bacardi Stage artists, Calvin Harris*
*Note: artists in order of appearance
Special mention to locals The Sour DJ and Manzone & Strong for throwing down amazing opening sets day 2!
Walking in for day 2, Michael Brun was on the main stage and Fade into Darkness was heard from the speakers. We dance-walked our way to the Bacardi Stage where DJ Green Lantern was halfway through his set. His tracklist was an homage to hip hop. Type of Way by Rich Homie Quan, Rich as F**k by Lil Wayne featuring 2 Chainz, and finally he told everyone to go to your friend, your homie that you came with, this song is for your homie: My Ni**a by YG. The crowd went nuts as groups, duos and trios scrambled to find each other to dance the song away.
What So Not was up next. Emoh represented the duo during their first time playing in Canada. Tennis Court by Lorde kicked off things off. I can be a Freak versus Zombie Nation‘s Lernkraft 400, Kayne‘s BLKKK SKKKN Head, their track How High Are You and Get Free by Major Lazer were some other tracks played. The highlight of the set was Put ‘Em Up mixed into Tell Me. Emoh set closed out with Outkast‘s Ms. Jackson.
Savoy was up next. They were one of five artists on the original Veld 2012 lineup including Manzone & Strong, Mark Oliver, Knife Party and Tommy Trash. The crowd thinned out and everyone who left missed one of the top sets of day 2. It was like being back at an intimate club, those who were present were there for the music. Playing tracks from “Three Against Nature,” “Self Predator,” “Personal Legend” and “Supertrail” EPs, Savoy lead the crowd on a journey. The production crew behind the stage even got up to boogie during their set.
Adventure Club was up next. Amrit stayed while Natalia headed back to the Bacardi Tent to see the remaining Savoy set and to wait, patiently, for Feed Me. Adventure Club’s setlist included: I love It by Icona Pop, I Can’t Stop by Flux Pavillon, Get Low by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan, Say My Name Destiny’s Child, Youth by Foxes (Adventure Club Remix), Thinking About You by Calvin Harris featuring Ayah Marar, Revolution, Hideaway by Kiesza, Wonder Adventure Club, #SELFIE by The Chainsmokers (Botnic Remix), and Birdie’s Skinny Love (Adventure Club Remix).
Feed Me, hands down, had the best set of day 2 and were the reason why I (Natalia) wanted to attend Veld in the first place. We ended up running into one half of ID-X who never listened to Feed Me before. As soon as his set started, Azam described his sound as techy, electro-dubstep and danced his entire set away. The crowd was the largest I had seen all weekend and it was no surprise as it has been a while since Feed Me was last in Toronto. Although he was on his Psychedelic Journey Tour, his “With Teeth” stage set up did not come with him. Highlight was when he played Alarm Clock as a sort of ode to deadmau5 and his absence from the bill.
Maybe it’s because we are jaded and have been to many events and seen all the sights and sounds, but, you often forget that your friends and many others haven’t had the experiences we have. We ran into, Glendon, a classmate who was attending their first Veld and second dance music show, the first being Avicii. He wanted to get as close to center stage as possible during Zedd‘s set. We sucked it up and began our journey from VIP to the very front. Traversing the sea of people and receiving more well wishes of traveling to the front versus angry stares and pushes was comforting. We made it roughly 4 people deep from the front gate, and yet with numerous people at the front, we still had enough room to dance. The heat from the flames was intense each time a burst went off. Once we were settled, Zedd’s set was like a sing-a-long where Clarity, Fall Into the Sky featuring Ellie Goulding, Find You, Bulletproof, Titanium and Spectrum were played. Highlights of his set include Zedd’s remix of MAGIC!‘s Rude and I Am Legion – Choosing For You (Nightwatch Remix).
The sun was setting as Knife Party took to the main stage. The crowd was bathed in red lights as more and more attendees made their way to the stage. We found a not-so-crowded space just in front of the VIP section. Playing a selection of their hits Antidote, Internet Friends, Fire Hive and Centipede, as well as a few others we haven’t heard in a while, including LAXX – Brainbug (MUST DIE! Remix) and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By The Way.
Halfway through their set I (Natalia) ducked to the Bacardi Stage where Gramatik was throwing down. Much to my surprise the GRiZ/Gramatik collaboration GRiZmatik was behind the decks. It was dishartening to see so much space during their set but I was happy for the more than ample dance room. GRiZmatik needs to return to Toronto and play a night dedicated to their sound, as their 55 minute set was not enough. To a chorus of cheers, GRiZmatik said good night and thank-you and I made my way back to the main stage for Calvin Harris.
Not sure if Mr. Harris intended for his set’s theme to indirectly relate to love but it did. Thinking About You featuring Ayah Marr, his remix of You’ve Got the Love by Florence & The Machine, I Need You featuring Ellie Goulding, Sweet Nothing featuring Florence Welch, Love Me Again by John Newman and his recent hit Summer. I was ecstatic as the opening chords to We Found Love were coming through the speakers. From that moment on I was on cloud 9 and I danced the remainder of his set away.
The house lights came on right at 11 p.m. which cued thousands of ravers heading for the exits. Despite dancing the rain and ruining a pair of sneakers, Veld 2014 was a blast. The elaborate costumes, three and four person shoulder rides and the new friends we made were all a highlight to summer 2014. The only recommendation we would make for next year is to add more water stations and possibly personnel to man them. Veld 2015 is now less than one year away, and we cannot wait to see who will be on that line-up.
Amrit Sandhu and Natalia Toussaint – EDM TOR