The Flats at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre (A.K.A. Ontario Place) were awash with electronic music fans at the third annual Bud Light Digital Dreams Music Festival last weekend. The two-day event took place on June 28 and 29, and even with the displaced Canada Day long-weekend, the Sunday date drew a huger crowd than Saturday. The thought of Monday morning was far away as festival-goers trekked their way to the, dare we say, Fantasyland by the waterfront.
Compared to previous years, the 2014 edition of Digital Dreams was a jump in the right direction. This year, the organizers made the wise choice and expanded the colourful playground, placing the main Dreams stage into the parking lot and adding a bridge across the water from Echo Beach. More space meant more room for grooving and not having to push your way through the crowd. They also implemented the use of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) bracelets and cashless payment, something that they tested out in the first year, but put into full force this year.
With the rise of the popularity of food trucks, we were happy to see homegrown companies Beavertails, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Penny Lou Lou Sweets, and more serving up great customer service and great food at the festival. Veggie food truck Karma ChaMEALeon were also on-site, providing good eats to vegans and vegetarians who are often left with little options in the meat-centric food truck community.
The first day of Digital Dreams was met with sunshine and a cool breeze – perfect outdoor festival weather! There’s nothing like the welcome feeling of a refreshing breeze while you dance up a sweat surrounded by 50, 000 other lively souls. There were five stages in total, the main stage Dreams, Echo Beach, Bacardi House of Boom, and Fantasyland and No. 19 Social Experiment which shared a stage on two separate days at the far corner of the grounds.
First things first, the Dreams stage was colossal! Bravo to whoever was doing the light shows because it was tantalizing in all the right ways; not to mention, the visuals at nighttime were especially phenomenal. Saturday was a great day for Echo Beach, as Nicole Moudaber kept the beat going until sundown. Danny Tenaglia swiftly took over after the techno goddess, keeping the groove real until headliners and legendary duo Deep Dish united on stage in Toronto for the first time in years. Justice played a solid set to close out the festival on the first day at the main stage, with a mix filled with old school favourites and originals.
The second day started out a little cloudy, but nonetheless, the music was great and the turnout seemed to have doubled. While we were enjoying Green Velvet‘s otherworldly set at the No. 19 Social Experiment stage, the sky darkened and droplets started to fall. Uh oh. The closest shelter was under the Bacardi House of Boom, and festival-goers from all other stages booked it under the roof like it was the apocalypse. Excuse the John Green reference, but the downpour started slowly, and then all at once. Good thing for drum & bass duo Loadstar and Dirtyphonics who played to a full house of attendees who maintained a happy disposition throughout the weather.
The heavy rainfall eventually subsided and we were greeted with a double rainbow all the way across the sky, ending with the pot of gold at the Dreams stage. Dash Berlin‘s set was extended due to the rain, but he managed to quickly warm the crowd up again. Anticipation was in the air for Sweden’s Eric Prydz and for good reason – you can not only hear, but feel the difference of a seasoned veteran like Prydz. He controls the decks with confidence and seamlessly creates an unforgettable experience. Second-time headliner Tiesto did not disappoint with his energetic set as he wrapped up the 2014 edition of Digital Dreams with fireworks.
(All photos by Ashley Emma Ng)