The Escapades of Escapade Music Festival Day Two
This past weekend, the Canadian city of Ottawa played host to the year’s biggest electronic music event in the region, Escapade Music Festival. The first day left an electrifying feel across festival attendees, and the second day had fans showing early in large numbers to catch fantastic acts billed mid-afternoon, something of which has become a sort of tendency of Escapade Music Festival. The field was alive through the end of the night with an exciting finish to a massive weekend.
An “escapade” is defined, by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, as an exciting, foolish, or dangerous experience or adventure – and Escapade Music Festival unquestionably encompassed the best of each one of these qualities. We were there on site to get the Escapade experience first hand for those that weren’t able to make it out to Rideau Carleton Raceway. Dancing Astronaut gives you The Escapades of Escapade Music Festival.
The Exciting: Thugli’s hometown party at the Temple of Bass
With the news of Grandtheft falling off the bill early over at the deep house stage-turned Temple of Bass overnight, Thugli’s set was extended – and no one seemed to mind a bit. While Grandtheft’s signature sound was missed, the Ottawa-native Duo of Thugli threw down an impeccable set that got their hometown going as early as 2pm and set a tone that acts reached to follow for the rest of the day. In their management-mate’s honor, the duo played out a number of Grandtheft’s productions including his recent rendition of Drake’s “0 to 100” and a collaboration between the two acts, but the turntablists stole the show with their impressive work by skipping the CDJs and remaining in the DJs truest form. Featuring their remix of Diplo & GTA’s “Boy oh Boy” that will be featured on Diplo’s forthcoming album and an offering of never-before heard material, the duo shattered all expectations with their set, and show massive promise to represent the Ottawa scene in the trap game. It should come as no surprise that these back-to-back skilled mixers have already received awards from the highly-held MMVAs. Remarkable sets from Griz and Zomboy held onto the stage’s electric crowd, and made a good case for the recognition of the best stage of the weekend.
The Foolish: Nervo starts the party ridiculously early
When a name like the Nervo twins appears on a festival lineup, individuals automatically assume that such fame would warrant a later set time. Well, the girls had their own plans. Having a show later that day in Ibiza, the duo took to stage after a grabbing whatever sleep they could to tear the Rideau Carleton Raceway down as they graced the stage at 1:45pm. Yes, just an hour and a half after the festival doors swung open, the “Reason” globetrotting superstars hosted a big room bananza that drew an unbelievably large crowd at the early time. Sporting the Hook N Sling collaboration to close out the early afternoon set, Nervo’s timeslot was borderline foolish, but wildly fun.
The Dangerous Experience: MAKJ, Carnage, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike
When MAKJ took control of the mainstage on day two of Escapade Music Festival, the people got exactly what they had waited for: a big room set filled with popular and forthcoming hits from the ever popular genre. MAKJ’s synth-stab straddled set had the crowd jumping with arms held high for the entirety of his set. When Carnage took the stage, Escapade’s mainstage warriors thought they had found a trap-filled rocking oasis and break from hard dancing with the Chipotle Gang leader’s set, but they could not be more wrong; fresh off a special EDC Vegas hardstyle set, Carnage brought the pounding sound of the European dance movement that he has recently dabbled with to Rideau Carleton Raceway. Of course, a Carnage set would not be complete without a wild mix of genres throughout the show, so the DJ threw all types of surprises from festival trap remixes to straight hip-hop into his set, relentlessly tiring the audience as the sun began to set. The electronic workout came to a close with Tomorrowland stars Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike as they brought the inescapable “Mammoth” and “Ocarina,” and even closed the set with a new collaboration with W&W. With that amount of dance talent packed into one stage consecutively, mainstage fans were as excited as ever to be sprayed by the water-toting security guards in the front row.
The Adventure: Mark Knight’s intimate go at the Tech-Fusion Stage
The Tech-Fusion stage, put simply, had a historic lineup during the second day of Escapade Music Festival. Ranging from the legendary Danny Tenaglia to the crafty Pleasurekraft, the stage supplied steady tech-house beats throughout the day for those with a deep and refined taste to enjoy. While the lineup remained strong, the attendance to the stage was low to start the day. Mark Knight, gracing the stage with a late afternoon performance, gathered quite a solidified crowd for his mid-day performance, but the Toolroom Knights head-honcho treated every second of his set as if he was playing directly to you. Following his run on the decks, the legend even stepped down and took the time to take pictures (and even the occasional selfie) with fans in the crowd at the highly-respected stage. Like any strong Mark Knight set, the collected DJ brought his fans on a musical trip through genres and transported the people to the darkest night at his favorite club. As per usual, Mark did not disappoint, and treated the Escapade Tech-Fusion Stage like the most important stage in the world.
The Escapade: Kaskade’s emotional finish to an energized festival
There is no denying the power of Kaskade’s music and taste, and the “Atmosphere” mastermind proved once again why his record is so strong. Jumping on stage in a calm and professional matter, Ryan took a mature approach to the set, holding back from the microphone and telling a story with music alone. Playing an intro edit to his adored “Something Something Champs” mash-up with Moguai’s hit to open the night, Kaskade hand crafted a set from the ground up based on crowd reaction alone — the sign of a true DJ. For the second night in a row, the mainstage’s visuals for the day’s headliner were stunning, featuring a perfectly mapped classic Kaskade setup, absolutely burying many visual shows from the rest of the weekend. Kicking into a big room set for the time being, the American producer pulled in crowd through dance-filled engagement to the Beatport chart-topping sound. Gliding back to the progressive with tracks like Galantis’ “You” and “Room for Happiness,” Kaskade gave a taste of everything from Oliver Heldens’ “Gecko” to “Fire in your New Shoes.” After a closing that came a few minutes early, the lights went down before Kaskade asked the crowd if they wanted to keep partying. With a massive roar from the crowd, Kaskade gave Canada a bit of a favor in form of a lesson: the crowd was so excited, they would dance to anything. Kaskade, in his cleverest form, dropped a more progressive tune to the tone of his Redux project, letting the Ottawa scene know that it’s ok to take a step away from the big room and dig a bit deeper.
As Kaskade put a magical finishing touch on the festival’s mainstage and DNA Presents let every act surpass Escapade’s official ending time, Zeds Dead and Danny Tenaglia rocked the outer banks of Rideau Carleton Raceway until they had nothing left. Escapade Music Festival came to a close late Sunday night in the same way it started: with a bang. While fans made their way to the exit, they knew the celebration of Canada’s history had just begun, and with another two days of electronic music presented by DNA Presents on the horizon, attendees anticipated the forthcoming club series and official Canada Day celebration. Most importantly, though, attendees left with a memory of an incredible electronic experience that shows hope for the Ottawa scene’s future at the hand of those that organized Escapade Music Festival.
Photo Credit: Matt from ThirdEye