Another year of FVDED In The Park has come and gone. Although we were unfortunately only able to attend day one of this year's event there were still plenty of dance music highlights. The main difference at this year's addition was the massive overhaul to the Northwest stage: with literally double the production & a brand new tent structure. As almost every other major festival in the lower mainland has collapsed over the last few years FVDED continues to expand and at this point very little stands in its way as it strengthens its hold on Vancouver's festival market.
Although day one tended towards the rap side of FVDED's overall lineup attendees were treated a world class stretch of uninterrupted dance music. Four and a half straight hours of fantastic music by true dance music artists—Ookay, Duke Dumont, Kaskade, AC Slater, & Rezz. By the last drop I could safety say that the day's offerings more than justified the ticket price.
Keeping it a step above the rest, here are our day one highlights:
With one of the few sets running for eighty minutes AC Slater kept the people dancing from start to finish. Headlining a packed FVDED Lab—the audience was literally overflowing—with his unique blend of bass laden UK infused house music Slater kept the night's theme of all things house alive and well. In the past every stage at FVDED has drawn a different audience, however, this year was a unique experience. As the day progressed I slowly began to notice the same crowd gravitating from stage to stage following quality music. Everywhere I went the crowd travelled with me: there was the guy with a giant inflatable plastic straw, a girl and her boyfriend who had seen Kaskade six times, the crew with the full sized Night Bass flag, and a handful of others. Spending the time to create a truly immersive experience AC Slater's set started relatively calm and picked up speed and playfulness as the night progressed. It was by far the most cohesive set of day one
Lets start off by saying Kaskade was the real headliner of day one—Future may have been billed higher, but the night's energy reached its fever pitch during Kaskade's absolutely packed main stage set. It wasn't the most tight-knit Kaskade set I had ever seen, but the decision to play it fast and loose and just have fun seemed to be very conscious. Rolling through his melodic hits stitched together with dancing music anthems like Reload while working in a few pop mega hits like The Killer's Mr. Brightside insured that everyone left Kaskade's set with a big smile on their face. There was even a section near the end of his set, which he embarked on by playing his 2008 hit with Deadmau5 I Remember, where he took the tempo down and skirted around some redux vibes. Twenty thousand people singing and jumping in unison; forgetting their problems awash in a sea of euphoric energy. Isn't that what main stage festival dance music is all about? As always Kaskade was the gold standard.
Without a shadow of a doubt no audience was more hyped for an act than the thousands of FVDED attendees who crammed themselves in to the Northwest tent to see Rezz. Having seen Rezz play BC Place I was worried this would seem small and anticlimactic by comparison, but each and every person in attendance at FVDED was a die hard Rezz fan. Every twist and every turn elicited a thunderous roar of approval from the audience. Cellphones high, everyone was ravenous to capture even a few seconds of new material. With Contact having taken place just over six months ago there was also the risk that Rezz' set would be too similar to her previous offering—that wasn't the case. With new productions from her upcoming album, Witching Hour & Hex, along with countless ID's Rezz somehow managed to sounds entirely fresh and surprising all over again. I am not sure how she does it but she continues to get better with every live set. Unequivocally Vancouver agreed.
Aside: Where Rap & Dance Meet
It is absolutely worth mentioning that Noodles early DJ set at the FVDED Lab represented the perfect blend of what FVDED In The Park is attempting to achieve as a festival. Rolling through Rap and R&B hits both old and new combined with heavier festival oriented bass heavy beats Noodles managed to meet everyone right in the middle. She drew in both sides of the festivals overall audience, and for that she deserves major credit.