Toronto remains to be the Canadian wild west of electronic music concerts. While the city is dominated by year round triumphs of fancy footwork, entertaining lighting effects and helms-people of the 1s and 2s, the roster of yearly shows have for the most part gone unmoved. That’s why, when True North Music Festival injected itself into the yearly show calendar for May 21st, heads turned.
Solid Events, the team behind Vancouver’s Doom’s Night, Solid NYE and Insomnia, and Electric Escape, the creators of Canada’s largest trance shows, Escape 138 and Escape Together, are touting True North as Toronto’s largest Victoria Day Long Weekend event. It very well could be! I spoke with Stanley Ho, the moving force behind both of True North’s co-promotive companies, to get the details on what it takes to uproot from the west coast and bring his tried and true festival format to Ontario.
“The subculture is really important to us. We believe in promoting every sound with an open-mind – hence our fusion of genres in our festival,” says Stanley Ho, who indicates that devoting programming to musicians that align with various and highly active electronic music communities is the ace up his sleeve.
Solid Events at Pacific Coliseum ~ Vancouver
Trance, dubstep and hardstyle are surprisingly prominent features at True North, 3 genres of electronic music that have devoted followings, especially within internet message boards. While appealing to these crowds who might not get representation at the majority of big ticket shows, the True North team has found a way to mix all these sentimental sounds together over the course of the evening. “We like to create a good flow of music usually in the main room. You would rarely hear one same sound throughout the evening.”
“Personally, I am excited for more of the Canadian talent that we are bringing into the show. My homeboy Daijo is my biased favourite since he’s also my business partner. I’ve seen his sound evolved over the years and I am excited to introduce him to “The Six”.”
Stanley says that he and his team went through great lengths to bring Dash Berlin and Datsik to the inaugural year of the event. While Dash provides a splendid medium between the hefty number of trance acts at the show as well as the more commercial acts, Datsik injects a wild card element of forceful dubstep. “In terms of uniqueness, I am interested to see how Code Black performs as its quite rare to see a hardstyle act in a GTA festival nowadays.”
A-Borg ~ Vancouver
Throughout the years, Arrow Hall has developed a lineage thanks to events that were too big to hold in the downtown core. Stanley says that True North is importing enormous LED panels and utilizing lasers alongside a hefty sound system. Much like the shows of yesteryear, the indoor festival is hauling in a performer in the vein of Kryoman, A-Borg, a fixture of Solid Events’ west coast parties.
“We enjoy having multiple genres on the main stage as we vision music as a form of art,” says Stanley, who for years has developed a regime of offering a wide range of genres to audiences rather than programming hours of the same tunes to monotony. He indicates that the BPM of each hour will increase throughout the night thanks to this method, evolving from deep house music, to big room bangers, to trance and beyond.
Ummet Ozcan, Firebeatz, Moti, Ben Nicky, Code Black, Datsik, Dash Berlin, and more arrive at Hall 5 (Arrow Hall) in the International Centre on May 21st. Pick up tickets HERE.