Canada: the land to our north, of maple syrup, poutine, Bieber, and Deadmau5. Does their geographical and cultural proximity signify that their rave culture is pretty similar to ours? I asked my friend Amy from Toronto to find out. Tell us about your first encounter with EDM and raving.
My first encounter with EDM and raving outside of your typical top 40 club scene would probably be Veld 2012 in Toronto which was headlined by Deadmau5 and Avicii. That experience still holds a special place in my heart although I have been to a couple of bigger festivals.
Briefly tell us about your raving experience both in the US and Canada.
Canada: As a resident of Toronto, I am a repeat attendee of all the main festivals in the city including Veld, Digital Dreams, Labour of Love, Decadence etc. and was a frequenter of the Guvernment (where most of the EDM acts were hosted before it was closed in Jan 2015)
US: The only major festival that I have been to in the states is EDC LV, but as I am a fan of trance and progressive house I travel to New York from time to time to see artists that I love such as Above and Beyond and Eric Prydz.
What do you think of raving in the US vs. Canada?
I think the best way to sum up my thoughts about raving in the U.S. vs Canada would be to list my top 3 favourite raving experiences as for me, it’s more about the production of the event itself rather than the location.
1.) Veld 2012: while the stage production and artist line-up was nowhere as impressive other events that I have been too, nothing beats your first rave experience– the sense of wonder and amazement cannot be replicated completely.
2.) EDC LV: I would say that this experience ties with my first ever rave experience simply because I was completely blown away upon walking into the motor speedway and witnessing the magnitude and splendor of the event grounds furthermore, there is something magical about being able to party in the middle of the desert from dusk till dawn. It’s not every day that you get to watch the sun rise while raving.
3.) ERIC PRYDZ’S EPIC 3.0: The stage production at this show was out of this world and almost surreal. Pyrdz promised us the biggest holo-show and he really brought his A-game, there wasn’t a moment during the show that I didn’t enjoy. His entire set was simply perfect and I barely noticed the transition between songs which really cements the quality of an artist set for me.
Give us a short overview of the EDM and rave scene in Canada.
While I only starting exploring the electronic music scene in 2012, looking back on my club experiences now I see that EDM was played at afterhour clubs that I went to in 2010 and 2011. While that was my first brush with EDM, I have friends in Canada who have been listening to EDM since 2004. In my opinion, the EDM scene was present and much more prevalent in Montreal (with the prevalence of amazing afterhours venues such as Circus and Stereo) before Toronto where it was more of an underground scene. The scene really blew up in Ontario after the creation of festivals such as Veld in 2012. As I mentioned before, being a fan of trance, progressive and deep house, those are the main events that I attend however I would say that the most popular genre would be progressive house.
Do the Canadians have any special rave “traditions”?
I can’t say that I have encountered anything that I have not observed in the U.S.
How is kandi culture and PLUR perceived in your country?
PLUR isn’t actively practiced in Canada– in the sense where you exchange kandi etc. but it is definitely present
Do people “glove” in Canada or give light shows (i.e. orbit). If so, how is the scene perceived?
Gloving is definitely practiced here in Canada and while I am not clear as to how it is perceived in other countries it is a welcome “attraction” in the sense where ravers will go up to random glovers at events to request light shows. Viewers of these light shows however are often perceived as attendees that are high or rolling rather than an expression of musicality.
Tell us about rave fashion in Canada.
Girls: Rave bras are worn to festivals and events but I would say that the majority of outfits mainly consist of jean shorts and tanks/crop tops. As it does get quite cold here in Canada, during the winter girls will wear leggings and crop tops
Guys: Topless or bro shirt and shorts
What do people in your country think of rave fashion choices in America?
While rave fashion choices are a bit tamer here in Canada as you seldom witness options such as nipple stickers and a smaller percentage of girls wear rave bras/more labor-intensive outfits but I don’t think there is a distinction between the clothing choices made here and in the States. I will say from personal experience that I was more comfortable wearing revealing outfits while at EDC LV as it was, in my opinion the ultimate festival where you are completely free and uninhibited to express yourself.
What EDM festivals, events, or clubs would you recommend to travelers visiting Canada?
I would highly recommend the following events in Toronto:
Club: Used to be Guvernment however they are now renovating Sound Academy which is destined to become the next Guvernment so will be able to provide an update on that once they have completed the renovation :), also Coda, Nest and Red.
Festival: Veld 2012, Electric Island, Bestival
Event: Labour of Love
If you had the chance to go to any festival outside of your country, which one would it be and why?
I have always wanted to check out Ultra down in Miami as the city lends itself well to such a scene but most of my friends have told me that EDC LV is much better
Do you have a favorite local DJ? Are there any EDM sub-genres that originated from Canada that we should check out? (Send us a track!)
I quite enjoy Manzone and Strong– the resident DJs at Uniun nightclub and Cabana Pool Bar (previously guvernment).
Any last words or insider tips for raving in Canada?
Other than dressing for the cold during the winter, nothing else! Come visit Toronto for an amazing time!!
Tendelle has been traveling since 2014 seeking the best EDM experiences on the planet. She currently lives in Amsterdam where she spends on weekends exploring the music scene here! You can follow her dance music adventures on her blog.