By Sinejan Ozaydemir (Toronto Correspondent)
Dreams Music Festival is one of the biggest EDM festivals to happen in the city of Toronto each summer and 2018’s festival was great fun! Although the weather was at times a bit wet and fairly gloomy during the two-day festival, but the fans did not shy away from enjoying some great music and partying with fellow electronic music fans. Real proof that if there is a party, especially on the beach - Toronto fans will be there! This year’s festival featured 3 stages fun-filled with great artists, each of whom brought with them their own energy to the city of Toronto.
Here are a few of our favourite sets from the festival:
I don’t know who danced more during this set, Andrew Bayer or the crowd. The crowd by the waterfront stage had enjoyed a couple of good sets and was filling up the floor and the hill by the time Bayer got on stage. From start to finish, he brought a great energy-there was a lot of fist pumping and a lot of jumping. The fans at the front of the crowd near the stage had even more fun as Bayer interacted with them, at one point Bayer signaled to a fan that he liked what I believe was a stuffed toy they won from one of the attractions at the festival- and the fan threw it up at him. He then proceeded to dance with the toy before throwing it back to the fan in the crowd. Another impressive part of Bayer’s set was how prepared he seemed to be. He knew the transitions and the tunes he was playing extremely well, almost playing along to them with his hands (which I call:air-guitaring for DJs). Sometimes a set can feel like it blends into one big song if we aren’t in tune to the changes and because Bayer was so in tune and was guiding us through the subtle changes, we enjoyed them even more. Although it wasn’t dark yet, Bayer’s set was pretty hype and his Toronto fans really seemed to enjoy it!
The perfect way to describe Ookay's performance at Dreams Music Festival would be: the most "live-ly" and entertaining. Having an artist that breaks up the whole DJ after DJ schedule was really quite refreshing and just what the crowd needed on the Saturday evening. It is wonderful to see an artist at a festival like this who is clearly in the moment and active on stage, giving the crowd an experience that is different than many other DJ sets. He also balanced controlling his instruments and interacting with the audience very well. The set was mostly full of Ookay’s own songs that got the crowd active and ready for the remainder of the night. Overall, Ookay helped us experience some serious happy beach vibes by the main stage as the crowd danced, sang along and threw around beach balls.
Tchami x Malaa
Following the fantastic live set by Ookay, Tchami and Malaa took to the main stage and the crowd was immediately re-energized after a long first half day at the festival. The "No Redemption" set was full of songs that we couldn’t help but dance along to, with no dull moments. It felt like the set was a bit of a greatest-hits album feel between Tchami and Malaa and they, in my opinion, were so great at giving the crowd what they wanted. Their mixes were smooth and they were focused on and flawlessly delivering an enjoyable experience the whole time they were up on stage. Their performance style really seemed to vibe well with the audience as it was quite clear that the two DJs were really well known and liked by their Toronto fans: lots of Malaa masks and prayer hands up in the crowd throughout the set!
What a great performance to end day one of Dreams Music festival. Many people we spoke with on on day one were big Kaskade fans and were really looking forward to the set... And man did Kaskade deliver. From the effortless transitions to the throwback moments, it was a true celebration with Kaskade playing his melodic hits and easily capturing the audience’s attention. One of my favourite moments were the singalong's to his popular tracks, its always impressive to see thousands sing at the the top of their lungs and show an artist love on stage. It was a great vibe with bright beautiful visuals and FXs followed by fireworks-one of those typical, energetic, feel-good sets that you would imagine in your mind’s eye when thinking of an EDM festival.
Wondering what happens when the bros hit the beach? : Lots of dancing in the sand. The crowd was building up on day two of the festival as the trio Brohug took main stage. The three guys were all smiles clapping with the Toronto crowd during their set. The crowd didn’t seem to need much encouragement to dance however because the tracks Brohug had lined up were enough to start some shuffling and get hands up in the air. Their bright visuals were active and fun really setting the vibe for the early evening dance party. They had a lovely tribute to Avicii which got us all emotional and singing along, sending our gratitude and love to Tim.
Toronto has some serious Galantis fans. The main stage was packed by the time they came on and everyone seemed to be very entertained. This doesn’t come as a surprise because Galantis’s performance was definitely high energy. They have a great performance style incorporating live drumming and really moving around the stage. The pros of being a duo are really having more connection with the crowd and these guys really know how to do that well. I mean, you try not moving along to their infectious tracks while seeing them have that much fun on stage. It was impossible for the Dreams Festival Crowd not to dance.
Armin Van Buuren
Everyone from the front to the back was jumping with Armin and having a great time! He really knows how to build the crowd up and even after two full days of raving, the Toronto crowd did not stop being in the moment with Armin until the set was over. AVB’s light show never disappoints and I think was easily the best of the festival. This caliber of visuals and excitement is an experience that EDM fans know and love and it was great to see it end off the festival with a bang. Toronto was proud to also have Loud Luxury make an appearance during Armin’s set to say hello to their hometown fans. Armin excitedly played their hit single Body while the three jumped on stage and celebrated by waving the Canadian flag around. The main highlight for me was his love for the audience. EDM concert goers are usually well versed with DJs guiding them to jump and dance along to the music but Armin seemed to have this genuine connection with individuals in the crowd. Even though there were thousands there, he spent his set pointing out individuals near and far who were dancing and trying to get their attention to dance and clap along with them: show them he was connected with them. This connectedness is always so wonderful to see from DJs (especially even more impressive from big names like AVB) and a fantastic heart warming experience as a viewer/fan.
We really enjoyed watching Toronto fans have a great time on the beach at Dreams Music Festival. Check out our slideshow of photos here and watch more more highlights from the festival our Instagram Dreams music fest featured story and feed.