TIME Festival 2016

TIME Festival has grown into a very unique event in comparison to the majority of festivals in Toronto.  The crowd is a reflection of the lineup, with the most dedicated fans of every artist on the list in attendance.  The historic site of Fort York is now home to countless music festivals, but something was different this time around.  From the early years of TIME at Sunnyside Pavilion, to the insanity last year thanks to Die Antwoord's headlining set there's nothing else quite like it.  And you never really know what to expect.

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Nite Jewel at the Garrison 

One hot Toronto night the Garrison hosted the Los Angeles artist known as Nite Jewel.  She's touring in support of 'Liquid Cool', her latest album.  The title has also been used as a way of describing her style of music, and it seems apparent to us that it's perfectly fitting.  There's an intagible thing that Nite Jewel brings to the stage and her recordings that is inexplicable, and powerfully magnetic.

The music, at times booming, at times beautiful, almost delicate melodies along with Nite Jewel's ethereal, dreamy voice commands your attention.  The captivated audience made up of those following the much deserved buzz, and those who've known and loved her music since the 2008 demo 'My Cd'. 

It's 'Kiss The Screen' that stands out in memories of the show.  It's one that articulates a universal feeling in the context of our at times overwhelming culture of technology.  With a notion like that, new music as Nite-Funk with Dam-Funk and an upcoming European tour, we hope to hear a whole lot from Nite Jewel this summer.

Get 'Liquid Cool' from Nite Jewel or on iTunes


Top 5 Sets At Digital Dreams 2016

We've been thinking back to last weekend at Digital Dreams, looking at the photos and videos online and thinking of our favourite sets.  We have finally narrowed it down to our top 5, and we're going to keep watch for these sets being released online.

5. Danny Tenaglia:

New York's Danny Tenaglia held down the headline spot at Echo Beach like no one else could.  The veteran dj moved the crowd at one of our favourite venues in the city, and made it look easy as only a legend can.  The balance between new, innovative music and classic tracks makes for the unpredictable experience we hoped for, and exceeded expectations. 

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Digital Dreams 2016

From the first to the fifth edition of Digital Dreams we've witnessed the evolution of this festival.  The team behind Digital Dreams has been dedicated to creating a world class event in one of the most beautiful parts of Toronto, and this year saw huge returns on their investments of time and effort.

Digital Dreams took place over the two days between Canada day and the 4th of July, right in the middle of Pride, so the timing was perfect for a massive celebration.  What many may not consider is that this event, right in our own back yard has become a reason for some to travel for miles.  Though the music may not sound always sound like it did in the early days of house and techno in Chicago and Detroit, that unifying factor is still present, and arguably more vital than ever in this day and age.

Where last year the festival faced a shut down on the first day due to a terrifying storm, this year was greeted with beautiful weather.  Days like these make it so clear why Lake Ontario, and Toronto's waterfront make for such an unforgettable place to hold an event of this magnitude.  Looking out over the sea of people, it's hard not to acknowledge that despite every divisive thing in modern society that we do this together.

There's something powerful about getting out there in a crowd of thousands, dancing, cheering, singing along, even if you're not overly familiar with the music.  I don't pretend to understand how it works, but I know it's one of the greatest feelings I've ever felt.  That sense of total elation is one that I cannot properly explain, and I know I'm not the only who experienced that time and time again this weekend.

In the five years since the festival began we've all grown along with it.  What we witnessed this year was the festival coming into it's own in a very big way.  Performers like Above & Beyond, Axwell & Ingrosso, and 3lau clearly have as much fun as anyone in the crowd, reminding us that by showing up and letting go we all contribute to this event being a special one.  Dance music keeps growing as an interntational force, and it's really quite inspiring to see the music bring so many people from our community and the world together.

Following last year was a challenge, and the team that brings you Digital Dreams responded by delivering on the best edition of the festival yet.  We can't help but feel blessed to have shared that experience with the thousands in attendance.  Until we meet again, we'll be dreaming of next year.

Thank you!

-Scott Mitchell (@yahohyah)

Check out the rest of our photos here and on Facebook and watch for our Top 5 sets fromt the festival, coming soon!


NXNE 2016

North By North East has always gone by in a bit of a blur, usually a week full of trips all over Toronto.  For many it felt like a challenge to see and experience as much as possible.  Certain aspects of the festival have been controversial in recent years.  Proximity clauses, artists being met with protests and petitions, and then a mysterious change in the team that put the event together left us with a NXNE that was altogether different from previous years.  That doesn't mean that there wasn't a serious list of performers to get excited about, and some tough decisions on what to do. 

The primary focus seemed to be on a two day event set up on a site near Cherry Beach.  There were also countless club shows, though substantially less than in previous years, events at Yonge and Dundas, and conferences were part of the event as well.  It seems like each element of the NXNE experience has changed recently, or was completely brand new.  The community in Toronto has been vocal in the past that everyone didn't always love what NXNE did here in the city anyway, so why would 2016 be any different? 

It was Ghostface who took to the stage for the first truly memorable moment of our NXNE.  That was one name that stood out when the lineup was announced and the show itself didn't disappoint.  He was joined by Sheek Louch of the Lox, and together they ran down a lengthy set of solo classics, greatest hits from the Lox and the Wu-Tang Clan, with an energetic audience singing the lyrics right back at them.  Highlights of the night were Ghostface and Sheek bringing a fan from the audience who performed Old Dirty Bastard's verse to near perfection.  The lineup put Daniel Caesar in the between the Wu-Tang legend and Top Dawg Entertainment's Schoolboy Q.  That transition made for a truly unique experience and the spirit of the Manifesto Festival to NXNE.

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