I was reluctant to buy a ticket for WEMF 2012. I wasn’t as impressed by the 2012 line-up in comparison to 2011, not because I was looking forward to acts such as Skrillex and Calvin Harris, but because last year I enjoyed Digitalism, Destructo, and Jack Beats etc. It would have been great to see them there again this year. I was also disappointed with the lack of Trance DJs. I was expecting mostly drum and bass. On the other hand, I had a lot of fun last year and still wanted to go, if anything, just for the experience alone. Fortunately, I won tickets for WEMF through a contest held by Splice Restaurant and Lounge in Peterborough, ON, one of my favorite EDM hangouts. Now I definitely was going to attend.
To my surprise, the music was a mix of all genres. Every set was absolutely amazing and the artists gave their complete best. I was super impressed with everyone I heard play. That having been said, however, I wasn’t impressed with the organization of the festival when compared with previous years. This year, Hard Events sold the festival to Live Nation (Ticketmaster). In my personal opinion, Live Nation kept their organization at a minimum. They stuck to the basics which was artist lineup, stage set-up, and security (security only being half as enforced as last year’s team). Several attendees complained about the rudeness of the staff and invasion of their tents by the security for no particular reason. Last year’s event hosted several vendors, and although all of the attendees had amazing, positive and outgoing energy all weekend, the event was quite unorganized compared to 2011. Since the ticket prices increased this year I expected much more of the festival. Destiny Events and Live Nation failed to produce hardly any vendors, after promising 24/7 breakfast and food vendors on their website. There were two trailers selling burgers and fries, who ran out of food because of the demand. Saturday morning I witnessed a crowd of almost 50 people lined up to get food in a slow moving line with a wait approximately two hours long. There weren’t any of the rides, such as a Ferris Wheel, that were promised on the website, and the lounge area drawn onto the initial map on their Facebook page was nonexistent.
I felt it was unfair to charge us more money for tickets and not deliver on what was promised. I expected an event much like Shambhala, where people come together, participate in planned activities and get to know each other through the magic of music and love for the outdoors. During the day, when the music stopped there was nothing for attendees to do except take the shuttle to the beach and lay on the hill in the entrapped fenced off empty space, which in the day light looked much like a prison yard. Live Nation and Destiny Events have much to learn for next year, and should probably take some advice from the event planners of Shambhala. Shambhala is an annual music festival in BC which hosts almost double the amount of attendees. This year they had over 50 vendors (including craft tents and yoga lessons for people to participate in during the day). Despite the lack of organization at WEMF, when night approached and the people crowded the field and stages, the event came alive. The music was absolutely beautiful, and the stages were set up perfectly. I could not get enough of the Time Stage, which was set up with double the amount of lights and lasers as WEMF 2011.
Although we didn’t arrive until 12:00am, we got to drive right in because there was no line. As soon as we parked, we headed over to the Tower Of Destiny where Torontoian’s Zeds Dead had just hit the stage. It was already really dark and the
Next up at the Time Stage was Wolfgang Gartner. I have already seen him twice this year, and, in my opinion, this was the best set. He played a hard and dark electo set, arguably the best set I of WEMF this year (depending on your taste in music). This electo-house producer and DJ absolutely killed it, dropping tracks from his new album, Casual Encounters of The Third Kind, including Girl and Boy, and they crowd favourites such as Space Junk and Fifth Symphony. If I could go back to this set, I would do it in a heartbeat.
After Gartner ended, I stayed at the Time Stage for Christopher Lawrence, who I had caught live for the first time at last year’s WEMF. He is currently touring with John 00 Fleming who also had a set at WEMF (during day 2). Christopher Lawrence was just as amazing as last year, playing some old school progressive trance, psytrance and electro. I am unfamiliar with any of his tracks, unfortunately, but was able to find one track that I loved entitled Tremor. I would recommend anyone who loves trance to see this guy live. You can’t stop dancing no matter how hard you try to stand still.
Again, I stuck around the Time stage to see Harvard Bass who I had never heard before. This San Diego DJ is currently signed to Green Velvet‘s label and plays a very unique and funky sound. His style is a combination of smooth, sophisticated, minimal mixed with dirty house. It is extremely easy to dance to and chill enough to bob your head to in any situation.
Next, I toured back over to the Tower. This is the one stage I knew I would avoid most the weekend because I’m more of a house fan than a dubstep or drum and bass one. I was surprised to see that Krafty Kuts was more electronic and funky hip hop. By this point in the night, the crowd at the Tower of Destiny was fading. People were not dancing with as much enthusiasm as before. The crowd reminded me of a group of zombies entranced by the trippy graphics and vivid lights projected on the tower. I barely lasted thirty minutes at the stage before I had to leave, giving my eyes a break before having a seizure.
After Krafty Kuts, I headed down to my tent. I could barely sleep as the local tents immersed between the swarm of campers blasted never ending drum and bass and tribal. It was like the same constant beat was playing 24/7. I’m surprised if anyone slept at all, then again, this is something I expected after having no sleep the previous year. As I stated earlier, there wasn’t much to do during the day unless you trekked down to the beach. I was just too exhausted, so, regretfully, I didn’t do this. The campground was scorching hot, and there was nothing to do except sit at the campsite and drink, and drink… and drink.
I finally made it back up the hill to the Tower for Adventure Club. Again… SUPER impressed! The Montreal locals started off my night with a bang. Beginning their set with some slow melodic dubstep, including two tracks by my dubstep favorite, Seven Lions. They also played one of my favorite tracks Do I See Color and their own remix of Metric’s Collect Call. This set was very close to becoming my overall favourite after Gartner. The crowd was absolutely insane. Half of them were dressed up in crazy costumes with everyone, including myself, constantly jumping. I couldn’t tear the smile off of my face!
It soon got extremely cold as the sun went down. I was at the stage with three layers of sweaters! I would be surprised if half the people wearing costumes didn’t have colds after WEMF this year!. After watching Adventure Club, extremely anxious, I headed over to the Time Stage to prepare myself for Felix Cartal. I was overly excited to finally see the Canadian artist from Vancouver. First was Mimosa, and I had expected that I would not enjoy his set. I immediately expected drum and bass. Mimosa is a dubstep, glitch hop and grime DJ and producer from San Francisco. Usually I can’t stand hip-hop DJ’s who rap and sing during their sets, but Mimosa was very entertaining and enjoyable. He dropped hip-hop mixed with electro dubstep beats, while taking long chugs of what looked like whiskey whenever he had the chance. At the end of the set he yelled at everyone to light up a joint if we had them. Everyone who did got theirs out, and when he yelled to throw him one tons of joints went flying towards the stage. He quickly picked one up and stood there lighting up and blowing smoke until his last note. Then he tore off the stage.
Felix Cartal came on shortly after, but, unfortunately, he was having technical issues and looked very frustrated and nervous while communicating to the stage staff and trying to get the issue solved (for 15 minutes or so). He ended up playing a short set, but I was still very impressed. I listen to his podcast Weekend Workout every week, but had yet to see him live. He played two remixes of his new single Tonight. I danced throughout his entire set! It was worth the wait.
Next DubFX took the stage, again, I expected drum and bass, and was quite surprised. I had heard of DubFX before but never went out of my way to listen to him. DubFX is a beat-boxing and reggae/ hip hop vocalist from Melboure, Australia. He creates his music live by beat-boxing and singing. He then transforms his music using live looping and effect pedals. Absolutely nothing is pre-recorded. He plays and tours with his wife Flower Fairy who is a vocalist.
After DubFx I caught Pendulum for a short bit. Then I walked back and forth several times between Pendulum and Moby. I never really enjoyed Moby’s music, but he surprised me. His music was really hard, and had a creepy vibe, but the light show was absolutely amazing! At this point I took a break and went back to my tent where, to my disappointment, I accidently passed out for the rest of the night! I ended up missing the two acts I was looking forward most to see, Toronto locals Torro Torro and Adam K.
Overall, the event was great. I’m really happy Destiny decided to include such a variety of genres, as well as hosting many underground acts. Like last year, my taste of EDM has evolved, and I’m glad to have been exposed to some really great artists who all performed quite incredible live. Every single artist gave their complete best. I would recommend WEMF to you if you love the outdoors, EDM, and are open to new music/ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing which artists will be on the line up next year already, and I am really hoping that Live Nation and Destiny will be more prepared. A festival that is more than just great music at night. I am sure that many attendees would appreciate a festival that is full of good food, fun activities to take part in during the daytime, and incredible music. Who knows, maybe there will be Ferris Wheel next time.
Fan photo sent in by: Jamie Moore
Leanne Feeney – EDM TOR