1. Richie Hawtin made Canada proud
From the moment Richie Hawtin took over the decks from Maya Jane Coles, he wasted no time to set the mood to a darker tone. Originally set to play an hour earlier, the weather issues that plagued Day 2 of Escapade had pushed his set to 9 pm. Hawtin wore his classic minimalist black attire, but instead of looser fitting sleeveless shirt he wore at a Montreal show 5 years ago, this time it looked like a custom fit.
The whole set was dark and moody as Richie Hawtin made frequent adjustments to the beat, bringing up the tempo and lowering it, adding a loop, a vocal clip, and whatever other sounds contained within the Canadian artists large arsenal. It seemed like there were no tracks played in a traditional sense as his show felt like one stream of consciousness as Richie Hawtin consistently analyzed the crowd and made adjustments based on how he wanted the crowd to react. At one point a fan from the front row caught his eye who was egging him on, in reaction he went to his mixer and within a few seconds the tempo was turned up. He then looked back at the fan and both nodded in approval.
With no graphics on the video screen and only minimal lighting, he let his music create the mood, and he did it to a powerful effect. Richie Hawtin wanted to be in Canada to help celebrate its 150th birthday, and he gave the country a special gift at Escapade.
When the storms were at their worst, Coyu kept the large Pavilion crowd warm with unrelenting techno. The sound system in Pavilion was powerful and this Catalan DJ used it to its full capacity. Coyu showcased some of the best techno this year like Saytek's "Octave Shift", Karotte/Kaiserdisco's "Mauve", and Obscure Shape/SHDW's "Himmel Und Erde".
There are plenty of windows in the Pavilion, and as the storm got to its worst point, Coyu dropped the heaviest beats which made the mood even more intense. Because of the weather Coyu managed to give Escapade an even longer set which he took full advantage of.
3. The bass stage at TD Place was wild
Fans that were frustrated by the mainstage closure and many were ready to let loose as the majority of them made their way to TD Place to rage. Michael Sparks, Barely Alive, Trollphace B2B Trampa, and heRobust were all on-site to embrace their bigger moment and played their hugest bass tracks.
heRobust was particularly memorable as his quick cuts of famous tracks like Jauz/Ephwurd's "Rock The Party" or 4B/Aazar's "Pop Dat" were dropped to huge effect. heRobust produces some of the biggest drops in the bass scene and all were put to good use. His presence behind the decks did not go unnoticed as the crowd fed off his energy. The mood was so intense in the arena that at times during the nastiest drops, you could feel the whole building sway under your feet.
4. The fans (Again)
Everyone who was there knew how challenging the weather was, which became a nightmare for organizers as they did their best to keep the festival going by accommodating Oliver Heldens, Steve Aoki, and Tiesto to other stages. The organizers extended hours from 10 pm to midnight and the party at Escapade kept on going.
Throughout the day fans were the real MVP by keeping their spirits high, finding ways to salvage the situation and embracing the moment at the remaining stages. Many of them were introduced to techno for the first time, and a lot of first time fans were some of the most enthusiastic.
When the news came through that the path to TD Place was shut down, the crowd was calm and civil, and when they were explained the situation fully, most of them either went back to the Pavilion or went home without incident. The fans at Escapade should be applauded.
There are plenty of EDM festivals left on the summer schedule, make sure to check out the 2017 Canadian EDM Summer Festival Guide to plan your next getaway.