6 questions about the Escapade Music Festival answered

Source: Escapade FB page

Source: Escapade FB page

Escapade is a little more than a month away and EDM Canada cannot be more excited about this year’s lineup. As we prepare for the festival in the Nation’s Capital, we had the opportunity to ask Alex Primeau, the festival’s talent booker, a few questions about Escapade. From the history of the festival, to the current festival landscape, and why those sitting on the fence should buy a ticket a right now - we get into all sorts of topics. Check it out:

1) Since it’s beginning, 9 years ago, did you feel the festival steadily rise in popularity or did it suddenly become a major festival? 

Alex Primeau: There have definitely been a few jumps and milestones throughout the years, considering 10 years ago we started in a downtown Ottawa parking lot with a few hundred people and little to no production whatsoever. However, we think that the fact that we have steadily risen in popularity shows that our fans really do enjoy coming to our festival and keep coming back with new people and friends who have never experienced Escapade. Here we are, at our 10 year anniversary, about to be SOLD OUT for the first time and ready to give our EMF Family an experience they will never forget.


2) With Escapade being almost a decade old, there must have been some unforgettable moments. Could you name us your top 3 best moments and why are they so special? 

· When we realized that Escapade could become something amazing. In 2011, year 2, when Tiesto was playing in that same downtown Ottawa parking lot, but this time SOLD OUT with 5000 people and a lineup down the street. That was the first time we got feedback from people saying that it was amazing and could be something big for Ottawa.

·  It was one of the coldest June 25th on record, Armin van Buuren was closing out EMF 2015, in the pouring rain; Lasers were going off, music was thumping and thousands of people were still just raging, loving life, not phased at all by the weather. That was special

Source: Escapade FB page

Source: Escapade FB page

·  Bringing Tysen Lefebvre, who has Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 2, on the Escapade Main stage in 2014 and presenting him with a cheque for $10,000$ towards his mission to a million. This mission was to raise money for the Make-a-Wish foundation, which makes wishes come true for children with life threatening illnesses. To put it in perspective, that making over 100 wishes come true, which Tysen has achieved! It was really an incredible feeling to be able to be a part of his mission and watching him accomplish it was even better

 

3) How does Escapade continue thrive while 5 EDM related festivals in Canada have either decided to stop their 2019 plans or cancel their festival altogether? How do you feel about the festival business as a whole? 

Over the past few years the festival business has changed dramatically. Not only have there been many new festivals that have started which has made the space more competitive but festival expenses like: the weakening of the Canadian Dollar vs the US Dollar and Artist fees significantly increasing have made it much harder to have a financially viable festival.   These factors have forced festivals to think outside the box when it comes to the product they are offering to attendees. Over the last 10 years Escapade has tried to stay true to its vision of providing not only world class talent but also not just being a 2 day concert but rather a 2 day experience.  We want people to walk into our event and feel that there are multiple layers of interaction .  From our chill zones, to our games, to the brand partner activations,  there should always be something for an attendee to do outside of listening to their favourite DJ on stage.   We know we will never be the biggest festival, or have the production similar to leaders like ULTRA or EDC, but we truly feel that when attending escapade you feel a part of our family.  It’s the relationship and memories you create over that weekend that will last a lifetime and makes Escapade special to all our attendees.   I think the proof is in the pudding as this year is going to be the biggest Escapade to date,  so no one is going to convince me that the festival market is weakening, as we think its just getting started!

 
4) Escapade attracts many fans outside of the city - can you tell us more on how many fans come from out of town and where they come from?

Our tourism numbers are actually pretty astounding when you really look at them; 45% of our total festival attendees are from out of town. Most of these out of town attendees are from the Quebec & GTA regions, but we have been seeing an increasing numbers of attendees from the US as well as Eastern Canada


5) With some major festivals choosing to blend hip hop acts with EDM, Escapade has reaffirmed their commitment to an EDM only lineup. How difficult was this decision? 

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As a music festival, our commitment to music is one that allow us to curate the best possible lineup for our fans and for the festival itself. In 2018, we incorporated a few hip hop acts, which went over really well. We chose specific acts with enough commercial appeal as well as crossover ability with their EDM collaborations. For our 2019 edition, we just had access to such a large number of high caliber electronic artists that we were able to curate a powerful 10 year anniversary without needing to add hip hop elements. Escapade is a music festival that will always try and present the best lineup possible, while balancing commercial appeal and also listening to what our loyal EMF Fam wants to see and hear as well!


6) Make your best pitch - why should fans come to the 2019 edition of Escapade? 

Fans should come to Bud Light Escapade 2019 if they want to get away from the stress of everyday life and want to come experience a weekend that they will never forget with all their best friends! Escapade is like one big family; not only will you be with you friends but we guarantee that you will leave having made new friends that will most likely last a lifetime. Oh and you could also come for the lineup stacked with the top international talent, the incredible vibe or the top notch production elements :) 

Scream your heart out (DNA Presents: Scream, event review)

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By Dominic Wren

Ottawa has brought in many world class DJs/Producers for the highly anticipated Halloween weekend. Headlining the DNA Presents Scream event at the EY Center were NGHTMRE, W&W, and Lost Kings. This year was arguably the biggest and meanest line up Ottawa has seen for a single night. Originally, Laidback Luke was supposed to close out the night but unfortunately he wasn’t able to show up to the event due to some complications. Lost Kings were quickly booked to fill in the gap and it undoubtedly wasn’t a step down.

After some talented openers making up of Mac at 9 pm then Khaøs b2b Mers at 9:40pm, NGHTMRE took to the stage opening with some heavy and deadly dubstep. The crowd quickly pushed to the front gates to get a glimpse of the solo DJ. The front gates were wobbling back and forth due to the crazy amount of energy the super fans were producing. Switching back and forth from hard trap to hardstep to hip-hop, this LA based producer made these transitions in the highest of quality and in the smoothest fashion. During the middle of his set, he dropped his latest release “Save Yourself” featuring The Chainsmokers. The moment the crowd heard the intro to this track all the NGHTMRE/Chainsmokers fans started screaming in excitement. This is where the temperature in the room got extra heated. I’m almost sweating through my shirt and the crowd’s costumes were getting more and more destroyed. The artist ended up closing his set to his collab with Slander “Gud Vibrations.”

The crowd just started cooling down from the killer set by NGHTMRE when W&W stormed to the stage opening with a crazy trance vibe. This type of genre is mostly rare to see in the bigger events of the nation’s capital. It was great to see the “WHOOO’s” and “AAAHH’s” of the crowd. W&W quickly transition back their original big room house sound by dropping older singles like “Live the Night” with Hardwell and “Bigfoot” just to name a few. Surprisingly, they didn’t mix in any famous hip-hip or rock songs like most DJs do. They kept straight to an EDM vibe. Over all, it was a great show and they pulled off some great mixes and transitions even non-DJs could appreciate.

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To close out a fantastic Halloween weekend, Lost Kings appeared in front of the crowd to give them one final party before the night was over. I was expecting the crowd to be tired and starting to leave by this time of the night but these EDM fans stayed and raged one last time. It was great to see. They gave one final push and it felt like this was the first show of the night. Lost Kings opened with SAYMYNAME’s new single “Turn Up Da Bass” and played back to back hard tracks for about 15 minutes before slowing the beat down to play their hit single “Phone Down” featuring Emily Warren. Their set was comparative to The Chainsmokers set at Ile Soniq or Ultra Music Festival in Miami. The crowd was sticking with them and that shows a lot of talent from these two DJ/Producers to keep such an exhausted crowd raging. From connecting to the crowd with cell phone lights in the sky during the emotional parts of the set to making them sit down before a hard drop, this set was definitely a highlight of the night. They really made up for Ottawa to miss out on a talent like LaidBack Luke.

The Halloween weekend in Ottawa is one destination to look out for when in the coming years as it’s only getting better. Hope to see more and more fans come out to these events soon!