The hits keep rolling in for Toronto dance music fans. I wouldn't go so far as to say that we are spoiled as a city, but let's face it: life is good here in the Big Smoke. Last month, we danced for two days at Digital Dreams; in less than two weeks, we might go even harder at VELD Music Festival. Just when you thought you were out, the people at INK Entertainment pull you right back in.
For the third year in a row, VELD will pack tens of thousands of avid dance music fans into the open fields of Downsview Park. To give you an idea of the general excitement level, on the first day of ticket sales over 25,000 people logged in to grab their piece of the party. Why? Because of 35 artists, two stages, and bevy of musical genres including electro, trance, big room, trap, future bass, and hip-hop. Although a certain Mau5 is conspicuously absent from the festivities, there are a ton of big-time performers coming to play. Still not convinced? Fine. Check out our list down below for seven artists that make VELD Day one rage worthy. Your legs and remaining brain cells may hate you, but your heart will love you forever.
1. Armin Van Buuren
Bono. Madonna. Cher. Armin. If you don't know who he is, or if you do and aren't excited, then you're at the wrong damn festival. The five-time winner of DJ Mag's Top 100 poll is not only a living trance legend, he also happens to host the biggest dance music podcast in the world, A State of Trance, which broadcasts to over 20 million weekly listeners in over 25 countries. If you haven't seen Armin perform before, make sure you don't miss your chance this year-his unbridled enthusiasm and expertise is unmatched, and his track selection and mixing skills are otherworldly. When it comes to big-name producer/DJs, it really doesn't get much bigger than this.
2. Sebastian Ingrosso
While he's best known for being one third of the biggest EDM group to ever grace the planet, the former Swedish House Mafioso is no slouch on his own, either. Expect nothing less than an uplifting, euphoric party that features a good balance of old classics and new progressive anthems, including his recent collaborations with Axwell. Don't you worry child, it's going to be a blast.
3. Oliver Heldens
What happens when you combine the funky grooves of deep house with the hard-hitting rhythms of electro house? Why, you get future house of course! Dutch producer Oliver Heldens has been tearing up dance floors worldwide with his infectious and refreshing of dance music, and we'd be lying if we told you that we weren't huge fans of "Gecko," "Animals," or his new single, "Koala." If this is the kind of music they are playing in the future, then somebody had better grab Doc Brown and the DeLorean, because that's where we want to be.
4. Mark Oliver
I was standing in line at a Shopper's Drug Mart the other night and overheard a pair of young 20 year-olds talking about VELD. Just when I was about to inject myself into their conversation, they started shit-talking a few local artists, most notably legendary Toronto DJ Mark Oliver. Ah, to be young and ignorant again! Not only is Mark a fantastic technical DJ, but he also knows exactly what to play in front of any crowd and at any venue. I guess that's what nearly three decades in the industry does for you. Seriously though, don't disrespect homegrown talent in favor of the big names; you'll thank me in a year or two when you grow up.
While the big room sounds of the main stage are all well and good, sometimes, you just need to wild out and go hard in the paint. Brillz knows this, and the bass beast is primed to annihilate the inside of the tent on day one with a slew of slamming trap tracks. We could wax poetic all day on his extraordinary talents, but his recent remixes speak for themselves: go check out his SoundCloud page and prepare to lose your mind.
6. Milo & Otis
This dastardly duo first caught my attention two years ago with their ferocious trap anthem "Goin Down," and since then they've been nothing short of spectacular. With recent remixes for Skrillex, Kill The Noise, Bro Safari, and Steve Aoki, the Los Angeles-based producers are one of the hottest groups in the game. Don't miss a second of their set.
London, Ontario's own Edmund Huszar might not be as bass-heavy as some of his other Bacardi Tent counterparts, but the complextro wizard's unique style of sound is upbeat, energetic, and explosive. Falling somewhere between Mord Fustand and Deadmau5 on the video game/cinematic spectrum, his set should be a great way to get going during the first hours of the festival.
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