Riverside Festival Review

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By Dominic Wren

Riverside festival has always been a special one ever since its creating in 2013, but this year… Oh man. They took it above and beyond. For a festival to be held on very limited space, DNA Presents find ways to make it one of the most exciting events of the festival season. I’m not just talking about the impeccable view onto the Canadian parliament or the beautiful architecture of the neighboring Canadian museum of history buildings, or the biggest lineup we’ve seen to date. I’m talking the maximum use of such a limited space without feeling like you’re squished into the festival. Not once would you feel suffocated by people, which sometimes happen at the major festivals. This aspect is often forgotten for why we had such a great time at an event. The organizer’s care for the attendees experience and comfortability is something to take note of.

Now to the music. Riverside Festival saw it’s biggest lineup since its birth. Some of the biggest acts in the world came to Gatineau last weekend, such as Matroda, Lost Kings, Borgore, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Steve Aoki, and so many more.

Starting Day 1 of 3 with a solid night of house music was the perfect warm up. With some local acts, such as Ross X Class, Mac, and others showing their talent, Matroda took the stage for dangerously hard set of hard house music. Matroda on his Red Tape Tour came and made a visit and slammed his set. Mixing some of the biggest tracks of the summer and switching to some crazy drops while keeping a house vibe. It’s also cool to note that he didn’t touch the mic once because he was so into his insane mixing.

Day 2 saw a new kind of energy. Starting the day on a more big room house lineup, the festival saw names like Maurice West, 13, Jay Hardway, and the Lost Kings performing some incredible sets and dropping crazy throwbacks, fresh music, and some unreleased tracks. To end the night, Borgore with the sunset time slot played a mixture of intense bass music with some of his classic Borgore originals. Have you heard Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse? If you have, imagine that at one of his shows. Yeah, it went crazy. To headline the night was none other than Montreal’s very own Black Tiger Sex Machine. Three guys with black tiger helmets that light up on a stage overlooking 6000 people and Canada’s Parliament was something unique. Not only did they kill their set with HEAVY bass anthems and a BTSM personal touch, the crowd’s energy was as entertaining as the show itself.

Riot Ten

Riot Ten

The last day of the festival didn’t take a minute to chill. Two of Montreal’s most loved local DJs, Khaos and Domeno, warmed the day up in style. Next to take the stage was Riot Ten who mixed in and out of some of the hardest bass tracks of the night. He almost literally destroyed the crowd but they kept up with him. Tritonal followed to with an emotional and powerful set for Gatineau to enjoy. Zomboy joined to the Riverside party at 7:25 pm for his second time since 2017. He honestly took the definition of the word “intense” to the next level. Dropping tracks that would make your head bang even if you’re not a headbanger, this UK born bass DJ/producer made Riverside look like one of his own. He gave the crowd no breaks with back-to-back drops of pure fire and notably starting a “Wall of the Death” while playing Eptic and Trampa’s remix of Get With The Program. It went absolutely nuts.

Closing the festival was the one and only Steve Aoki. Easily the biggest name Riverside Festival has ever had, Aoki shut the festival down in style. He is no doubt the incredible showman he’s so well known to be. Ranging his set from hard trap to psy-trance to his biggest tracks with a perfect touch of emotional songs, he had something to everyone. Though what made his set special is his way of including the crowd as the show. Bringing cakes to throw (it still fascinates me to see someone throw a cake so well), pouring champagne onto the crowd, and giving giant letters spelling “Gatineau” for photos, Steve Aoki’s art of making a great show is nothing to be underrated.

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This year’s Riverside Festival went to another level. Every year the teams at EDM Canada is impressed by this event’s outcome and we look forward to many more years to come.