Forget "Happy Birthday" – Ryan Kruger and Jesse Brown, the founders of Destiny Events, will be serenaded by Andy C's quaking track "Haunting" this Friday, as they ring in yet another year of throwing provocative, but celebrated, bass music events in Toronto.
On Friday, August 14, 2015, bassheads from the past, present, and future will congregate at Sound Academy in Toronto for Destiny's 22 Year Anniversary Party.
"I love my job because I sell fun for a living," Kruger states, modestly holding back his obvious excitement. For the past 22 years, he and Brown have been forcefully driving the Toronto bass music scene to the forefront, conceptualizing innovative and buzz-worthy events. Their affluent roster includes the now-defunct World Electronic Music Festival, iDance, and most recently, the massive takeover of the Ontario Place complex known as Digital Dreams.
The anniversary party will be a celebration of a company that has triumphantly rescued a niche musical genre from a tragic death.
"When we started, the dance music scene in Toronto was disappearing very fast," says Kruger. "Almost every promoter in the city basically decided to hang it up and stop doing events. I was considering doing the same thing." Yet, an optimistic proposal from his now business partner, Brown, brought new light to the typically dark bass music scene.
"As the main scene started collapsing, I approached Ryan about potentially doing a party ourselves and kind of carrying the torch," says Brown. "We decided to team up and do a New Year's Eve party together, which ended up being a lot more successful than we could have imagined."
After their initial party a hit, Kruger and Brown continued to throw massive bass and dance music parties across Toronto and its outskirts.
"I never imagined that I would be doing what I'm doing today," says Brown. "I'm proud of the accomplishments we've made; the amount of people we've reached with the music; and the experiences that we've created for people."
While the company should indeed be praised for the many successes that characterize their lifespan of over two decades, these accomplishments were accompanied by many unavoidable hardships.
"The very first WEMF actually got destroyed by a tornado on the first night," Kruger, founder of the first three-day camping electronic music festival in Canada, reminisces. "We were able to not only rebuild a stage using three destroyed stages, but also continue the party right till the end."
Triumph seems to be a reoccurring theme in Destiny's legacy. When they weren't struggling with catastrophic weather conditions, it was unhappy (and unwarranted) authorities who were disrupting Kruger's and Brown's rightfully cherished bass events.
"2001 was the year when the police really started to crack down hard on raves," Brown recalls, referring to the year authorities took drastic measures to shut down WEMF. "You got to the festival and there were helicopters all over the place, but we kept coming up with ways to make the show go on."
Another pivotal moment in Kruger's and Brown's tale of resilience was the historical iDance rally in 2000 and 2001 — which, at the time, they say was the largest protest in the history of Nathan Phillips Square (and probably the only time Andy C and Canadian politician Olivia Chow will ever cross paths).
"Raves in Toronto were starting to get a bad rap, so city council tried to bring in an anti-rave law," says Kruger. "Obviously, we had to try and send the message that this is about music — this is not about violence, this is not about drugs, this is not about anything negative."
Fortunately, the duo's message was well-received.
"It wasn't tense at all, it was a party," Kruger reflects. "We brought a massive crane and hung disco balls right over Nathan Phillips Square. I think it really showcased the positivity of the scene and changed a lot of minds on the political side."
With the days of ill-tempered police officers behind them, the Destiny founders predict that their involvement with bass music will continue well into the future.
"The one thing about bass is that it's very resilient," says Kruger. "It doesn't really go up a lot, and it doesn't really go down a lot, so I think in five or 10 years, it's going be in the exact same place it is today. It's going to be a comfortable niche within the electronic music community, neither at the top nor the bottom."
For a musical that roots itself in chaotic sonic elements, Kruger and Brown say the bass community's devotion to the genre is unswerving.
"Bass music is very powerful when it's done right," says Kruger. "It's strong, it's powerful, it reaches right down into your soul and grabs you and forces you to either like it or hate it. If you like it, you're locked for life."
The Andy C-headlined fiesta Kruger and Brown have planned for Friday night will undoubtedly showcase the uncontrollable—and sometimes unruly—passion that is natural to the genre.
"This is always the best event of the year for people who have never experienced an Andy C show," says Brown. "We always convert a few more bass fans every time he plays."
With supporting performances from both local and touring acts such as Brillz, Bensley, Damn Kids, and Pusher, Destiny's dedicated fans are guaranteed to ooze unadulterated delight at Friday's 22-year anniversary show.
"I think you can just expect a really good time."
The 22 year anniversary will be on Friday, August 15, 2015 at the Sound Academy with performances by Andy C, Brillz, Bensley, Pusher and many more. Note: The event has been moved from Muzik. Tickets can be purchased here.
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