deadmau5, Flume, DVBBS and Steve Aoki at VELD Festival Day 1

Photo by Joshua Chia

In the final days of July, the luscious green fields of Downsview Park transforms into one of Toronto’s largest festival grounds as they host the 8th annual Veld Music Festival. With a showcase of some of this year’s most popular acts like The Chainsmokers, Galantis, Kygo and Flume, it comes as no surprise that an overwhelming number of EDM fans were packed between two visually stunning stages.

The hordes of fans practically shut down Sheppard Ave making the migration towards Veld’s overwhelmed front gates. After a lengthy wait for a quick security search, it was finally time to bask in the beauty that was the Veld grounds. On opposite ends of the festival were two simplistically unique stages. On the first day, the main staged hosted the high energy, big room sounds that are familiar to many festival’s main stage where the second and slightly smaller Terra stage focused on the more unique and vibey sounds. Vendors were sprawled along the perimeter as well as providing something of a spacious divider between the two stages. There was also a good amount of fun activities; including an inflatable water slide and Ferris Wheel located closer to the Terra stage.

Starting the day off at the main stage, Swedish duo Galantis started their set off with the upbeat sounds of their uplifting track “Firebird”. Galantis’ poster character, the Seafox made an appearance on stage during their breakout hit “You”. The second drop for you was replaced for hard tribal sounds that transitioned into the forever iconic “Are You Ready for This” from the Space Jam soundtrack. The drum beats of Galantis’ set had hit harder than any other because of their incorporation of real drums. Ending with their most recent hit “No Money” the crowd went bananas and sang along to every word as the confetti cannons exploded for the grand finale.

To capitalise on the high energy of the preceding set, Yellow Claw raised the bar of how crazy the crowd can get with their patented blend of trap, dubstep and hardstyle. To compliment their hard hitting beats, the Amsterdam duo wanted to try to shake the ground by getting everyone to jump in unison to the drop of their Pusha T feature “Nightmare”. With tracks like “DJ Turn it Up”, “Catch Me”, and “In My Room”, it was hard for every one not to be either shaking their hips or pumping their fist to arguably the hardest hitting tracks of the evening.

After the bass pounding sounds of Yellow Claw, DJ legend Steve Aoki took to the stage with his infamous brand of unmissable big room house music. It was incredible to experience the atmosphere that only Aoki could provide.

After being danced out from the high energy of the main stage, I took to the Terra stage to catch my breath and vibe out to the deep sounds of Duke Dumont. The English DJ was at helm of a sea of shufflers as his selection of deep house tracks kept the crowd flowing.

After loosing myself in the shuffle, I made my way back to the main stage to check out local party boys DVBBS crank the energy up to 9000. The duo of Chris Chronicles and Alex Andre had no trouble of keeping the crowd hype for their set. With bangers like 24K, Pyramids, and We Were Young, there was no room to relax when the Orangeville duo took the stage. At one point, DVBBS slowed it down with Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” only to let down a hammer of a drop with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s “Stampede.” DVBBS light up the night when they dropped their festival banger “Tsunami” as fire erupted from the stage.

To contrast DVBBS heard beats, the futuristic sounds of Flume could be heard just across the way. Sporting his own glowing set full of his production toys, the dazzling array of lights and live production was a beautiful captivating experience. Flume’s melodic and orchestrated performance provided an incredible atmosphere for the first evening of Veld. For half an hour, Flume was the only act to be showcased causing the crowd of the Terra stage overflow through half the festival grounds. Flume’s transitions from song to song were delicate and elegant giving the drums more emphasis when they were re-introduced in each song. Watching the Flume’s set from the Ferris Wheel line allowed me to catch the wonderful sights and sounds of the stage production with anticipation that I would be able to add a tangible dimension not only to Flume’s uniquely captivating music but a memorable and lasting experience to Veld as well.

Unfortunately, Flume’s set had ended before I had gotten on the Ferris Wheel, but luckily enough I was able to experience the epitome of Veld with one of my closest friends when Deadmau5 had taken to the main stage and played “The Veldt” while we had taken to the sky. After the memorable ride, I rushed to the stage to see the iconic mouse man close out the first day of Veld. With an unmatchable production value, the simplistic design of the main stage came to full fruition when paired with Deadmau5’ second iteration of his legendary cube set, which transformed a few times throughout the night. With the Mau5’ brand of progressive house, the crowd went insane for the local legend’s iconic sights and sounds. Deadmau5 had thrown a comedic tantrum before he went into his most famous track “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” and showing off that Deadmau5 charm that the world knows and loves.

The first day of Veld was hard, heavy and didn’t let up with the energy. With all the acts brining the energy to the grounds of Downsview Park, I was overly excited for what was in store for day two!