Canada Day weekend has always been one packed with partying in Ottawa but since Escapade Music Festival began 4 years ago - the scene has never been the same.
2013 once again proved that Escapade has the capacity to improve upon it's successes. The first two days we're held on the RA Center grounds; a brilliant choice of venue for convenient transportation and the ability to host production that ranged from massive LED robots to fireworks, to a wide array of lights, confetti, and C02 cannons. The festival processed the lines quickly, and they're were lots of capable staff on hand to make sure the entire festival ran smoothly.
The Earmilk team arrived on Day 1 just in time to catch one of the more anticipated sets of the weekend - Anjunabeats chiefs Above & Beyond. The boys did not disappoint taking us through some true Group Therapy. A friend of the Earmilk team even got the chance to be selected to participate in the tradition of the button press during the epic Sun & Moon.
We were then lured to the tent by the promise of a Mark Knight extended set. The tent was popping when we got there; the covered top allowed for light production to be effective during the day and there was no holding back on other production factors. Mark Knight took us on a journey through house and tech sounds drawing on the extensive catalogue of his premier label Toolroom Records. He opened with his recent smash hit "Your Love" and "You've Got the Love" was matched with C02 blasts and confetti which brought the tent to a full climax.
Wolfgang Gartner was the standout set of the day for us. Even though I've personally seen him many times without a doubt his set as Escapade was my favourite. His signature mix of funky and epic electro was perfectly set against the setting sun. His new song "Anaconda" perfectly captures the funky vibe while still crushing the crowd with bass. The highlight however was easily "Love & War" the epic electro bomb that had a tour named after it.
Ferry Corsten was tapped to close out day 1 and with epic fireworks blasting off while "Brute" rattled the festival grounds it was quite the appropriate ending set for an incredible day.
Day 2 began with the news that Rusko had to cancel due to sickness. Although disappointing news this allowed one of the unpredicably best sets of the day to be extended by an hour.
Kindergarten records' most promising young star and Wolfgang Gartner's protege Charlie Darker was given almost two hours in the bass tent to showcase his skills. With unique edits and tracks including "Black Skinhead" by Kanye and an amazing edit of "War What is it Good for?" combined with the Botnek remix of "Easy" Charlie's set stood out as one of the best of the day. His unreleased catalogue is large and he was able to debut his new remix of Clockwork much to the delight of the packed tent. He closed out with his wildly popular and supported remix of "The Alarm" a song that brought the crowd to a frenzy.
We headed over to the main stage to hang out with our friends Deniz Koyu, Arty and Markus Schulz who all played smashing sets. It was great to see all the artists hanging out backstage and old friends like Markus and Benny reuniting. One of the bigger tracks of the day had to be Deniz Koyu dropping "Rage".
Soon enough it was time for the master to take the stage. Steve Angello, the mafioso and head of Size, lit up Escapade with a spirited set. Including traditional Size cuts, Steve also strayed and played some of his new label X's music including a new track from Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. It was great to see Steve take some chances at Escapade.
On Canada Day, Escapade organizers made an amazing choice to move the festival downtown in the middle of the party. With Tiesto headlining and his label mates Quintino and Alvaro joining him it was a true Dutch house takeover. The entire crowd was dressed in red and white and there were Canadian flags in abundance. In a packed parking lot on George St. the festival came to life. Each DJ took his turn waving a massive Canadian flag to appreciative roars from the crowd. As the day closed out with the biggest DJ in the world holding the crowd in his palm you had to look around and appreciate the beauty of Canada and Electronic Music.
Check out the after movie teaser that just dropped yesterday! See you in 2014.