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 :) 

Who Reigns Supreme in the Canadian Dance Festival Circuit

Which festival reigns supreme?

By Ryan Hayes

The ever changing landscape of dance music continues to shape billings throughout the festival circuit, and 2019 has been no exception for the stable of Canadian electronic festivals. Over the past few years the Canadian festival market has taken a substantial hit—booking costs combined with a suffering Canadian dollar has resulted in the collapse of more than one juggernaut festival. While every 2019 Canadian festival has accomplished something simply by surviving to live another year the are undoubtedly standouts for the upcoming summer season.  

The Cultural Mainstay:

 Shambhala

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 Starting off on the West Coast, Shambhala remains a pinnacle of what a boutique festival can offer. From its humble beginnings to 2019's unparalleled offering it has managed to stay faithful to it's core intentions of authenticity within the world of corporate dance music. Standouts include Diplo & Mark Ronson's collaborative project Silk City, a rare set by Chris Lake & Chris Lorenzo as Anti Up, and what is sure to be a unique set from Kaskade—but the heart of the festival remains with the Shambhala Favourites lineup; which, as always, is stacked with popular fan legacy artists. To this day the festival continues to be a truly singular experience curated for dance music purists, and those looking for a bucket list experience.

 While Shambhala continues its reign as the preeminent celebration of dance culture within the Canadian (and global?) scene, those who can't make it out to Salmo BC, have Ever After. Over the past five years Ever After has been making a play for Shambhala vibes and offers heavy hitting headliners Excision, Illenium, and Kill The Snails (Kill the Noise & Snails).

 The Hybrid:

 Veld

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 Over the past few years Toronto's Veld Festival has vied for the top spot in the hybrid category and for its 2019 edition it has successfully stepped up to the plate. Perhaps the most important factor here; although Veld has evolved in order to stay modern it has also remained as true as possible to its history as a purely dance music festival. Making his second Canadian appearance in year's Skrillex stands tall, and the undeniable draw of dance music juggernauts Tiesto and Kygo solidifies Veld's unbeatable stable of headliners. Add Cardi B, Kodak Black, Boogie, and a handful of other rappers to the mix and Veld's fusion of dance music and rap is perfect representation of what a hybrid festival can be.

 While Veld has provided dance music festival-goers with a varied slate offering them a taste of the rap world this years FVDED lineup has veered heavily towards rap/r&b. For West Coast festival lovers unable to attend Veld, FVDED still provides dance music favourites like Zedd and RL Grime; but four of its top five billings herald from the rap/r&b world, of which over fifty percent of their lineup is comprised. View this year's iteration as a hip-hop festival for fans looking for a little dance with their rap.

The New King:

Escapade

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Although Veld's lineup is so strong that it almost challenged Escapade for this year's Canadian dance music crown, it is impossible to ignore the power and diversity of Escapade's lineup—easily the closest a Canadian dance music event can come to achieving those Ultra/EDC feels. Bolstering four curated stages, including; Deadbeats from Canadian bass legends Zeds Dead, The House Party headlined by Danny Tenaglia-b2b-Tiga, and Ferry Corsten presents Unity...offering the best trance lineup of the year. From here you have two of the most sought after back-to-back collaborations currently booking festivals—the now fabled No Redemption from Tchami X Malaa, and the far more rare (but...oh,so-good) Zeds Dead-b2b-Jauz. With Martin Garrix and DJ Snake headlining the festival it truly offers festival-goers with an open mind a world class smattering of ever genre of dance music. House and trance legends, through bass maestros, and main stage titans—come prepared to be surprised; the talent across the board is world class. 

Regardless of your personal taste this summer has something to offer dance music fans of all genres, it is just a matter of finding the festival that fits your personal tendencies.