This past Halloween weekend found the 401 Mini Indy playing host to a one-of-a-kind event: Forever ’99 Halloween Freakout, a collaborative effort between DESTINY Events, Activate, and X1 Creative. The festival hosted three stages, multiple genres, and seven hours of nonstop dance music. All this was a little bit daunting for one journalist to cover, especially when I was also working at the Fujifilm booth, home of the huge life-size Prozzak inflatable, so I do apologize for not being able to catch every DJ’s performance. I did have a lovely friend / fellow raver named Andy Ho who was also in attendance and kept notes to capture some aspects of the event that I was not able to experience firsthand.
I arrived at the venue at 8PM to set up. There wasn’t too long of a line at the beginning – the doors opened at 9PM and people started to gradually trickle in. The Fujifilm booth I was working at was set up right across the venue entrance, and it was great being able to see everyone walk in with their amazing Halloween costumes. A few great costumes that particularly stood out were Sailor Moon, The Mask, Chucky, Doraemon, two best friends dressed as a gender swap of Prozzak, and this guy (pictured below) dressed as The Hoxton, a club that shut down earlier this year. The back of this costume said “RIP”. Usually, I would plan out my Halloween costume in advance, but this year, I wore my very warm and comfy reindeer onesie because I was working outdoors all night.
Hydee could be heard spinning some happy upbeat drum and bass tunes at the Heavy Meta dragon stage as you walked through the entrance. As a huge DnB fan myself, I was overwhelmed with joy about the fact that I would be working next to the dragon stage all night. I have been listening to drum and bass since I was in middle school, and since Toronto is lacking in DnB events nowadays, you can only imagine my excitement. While I was encouraging attendees to come to the photo booth to take free Polaroid pictures of themselves and their crew, the dragon was breathing fire in the background along with some bumping beats, and I thought to myself: “tonight is going to be a great night”.
Marcus Visionary & Lush came on next, continuing the drum and bass warm up at the dragon stage. Fun fact: The Heavy Meta dragon went to Burning Man festival this year! The stage was outside in the cold, but that did not stop the attendees from dancing hard! There were also heaters set up in front of the dragon stage, and some attendees huddled around them jamming to the music, creating an intimate vibe.
As 10:30PM rolled around, many people headed towards the main stage tent, which was just further down around the corner of the building, to catch the legendary trance DJ – Christopher Lawrence. I personally was not able to leave my booth, so my dear friend and fellow trance fam – Andy Ho, helped out with this set review. Andy was a little worried about how the progression of music would be with his set starting so early, but it was definitely the right choice to get everyone loosened up for the Halloween vibes. A few songs in and the tent was super packed, but you could tell everyone had come to see Christopher Lawrence. When he played Bryan Kearney and Vini Vici‘s We Are the Creators (Vibe Tribe and Spade remix), the crowd when crazy. The tribal vibes were relentless! He dropped Konstatine‘s Space Raven next, and it was mind-melting. In Andy’s opinion, the song is very underrated and never in a million years did he think he would hear it. Then Andrew Rayel‘s Tacadum came on, followed by Magik & Alpha Portal‘s Magic Portal, and he was teleported to another realm. He described the experience as “reminiscent of his trip to Dreamstate“, Andy was in bliss and it set the tone for the rest of the set.
Christopher Lawrence went about 10 to 15 minutes over his assigned set time, and as I made my way into the crowd to capture some golden Polaroid moments, I could sense the crowd eagerly anticipating Prozzak’s entrance. For non-Canadians like myself who are less familiar with this iconic animated Canadian duo, Prozzak was the epitome of Internet culture in 1999, and they’re harkening back to the glory days with their brand-new album and new LP called “Forever 1999“, which came out earlier this March. The big screen on stage lit up, and a mesmerising voice can be heard saying “In a distant time, in a distant place, there was a great war…” Everyone’s focus instantly switched to this bold and strong narration and animated video from The Legend of Simon and Milo, which went on for a bout 3 minutes or so. Prozzak played a handful of favourites like Strange Disease, Omobolasire, and www.nevergetoveryou, and I watched as the crowd started singing along word for word enthusiastically. Groups of friends danced like they were back in the school gym, and damn, nostalgia is sure a powerful drug. The duo remained dynamic throughout the hour, whipping out a few of their big guitar solos, and the female vocalist for Sucks To Be You made sure the show kept up a giddy energy.
When asked which DJs the attendees were most excited to see that night, the majority, including myself, responded with Green Velvet. Around 12:30PM, the main stage tent instantly became packed, and as soon as Green Velvet got the techno beats bumping, the whole crowd went wild. Having just returned from Dirtybird Campout in California a few weeks prior to Halloween Freakout, I can’t help but reminisce about the good times I had at that event, especially when Green Velvet played tracks like Detlef’s JayDee, Hardrive’s Deep Inside (Low Steppa Remix), and the famous Eats Everything remix of Flash. I slowly made my way to the very front of the crowd, carefully balancing my time between taking Polaroid pictures of the attendees having fun, and vibing energetically to the thumping beats. Watching this mad professor of electronica sip on his drink while spinning the decks was one of the most raw and joyful moments I witnessed that night. Towards the end of his set, he dropped more recently released tracks such as Issues by Detlef x Green Velvet, as well as Rub Anotha Dub by Walker & Royce. Green Velvet never fails to deliver powerful and fluid techno that you can just get lost in, and it is so magical to just feel everyone grooving on the same wavelength.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Micky Finn, the old school DnB and jungle techno DJ could not make it to the event, but I did leave halfway through Green Velvet to get my dose of some good ol’ drum and bass from Culture Shock. I just love the feeling of heavy bass and jungle beats rumbling through my body, as he played his songs like City Lights featuring Bryn Christopher, Sigma‘s Nobody To Love (Sigma’s Future Jungle Mix), and Roll On My Level by DJ Hazard featuring Summer Rayne. Props to the pyrotechnicians for cleverly syncing the Heavy Meta dragon’s fire breathing to the upbeat rhythms. I couldn’t help but notice a few people cleverly positioned right under the dragon’s mouth, so they could feel the heat whenever it breathed fire. As Culture Shock’s set came close to an end, he played Wilkinson‘s Afterglow, one of my favourite drum and bass tracks of all time. I was immediately transported back to EDC Las Vegas a few months ago, where I saw Wilkinson live for the very first time after waiting for years. It almost brought tears to my eyes, and I found myself grinning from cheek to cheek. Heavy Meta was on fire all night, and it was great to see such an interesting mix of crowds come out together despite the cold, all because of one thing in common – our love for music.
At 3AM I was done with my Fujifilm Polaroid booth job, and had a whole hour to roam about and enjoy the rest of my night. It was at this point that I realized I never had the time to check out any of the attractions (mini golf, go-kart, and haunted house) or the third room, which was apparently in the building upstairs. This was where local talents Miz Megs & Ticky Ty were spinning. It was unfortunate that I missed them, but I’m sure they threw down a great set as always. The attractions were closed at this point, so I pretty much bounced around between the third room and the Heavy Meta stage for the last hour, getting my fix of house music from Ovi M & Jayforce, and some DnB and jungle music from Mr. Brown.
Overall, Halloween Freakout was an amazing night. It blew away all of my expectations right from the start. Sure, it was a little cold but the vibes and energy from everyone there was more than enough to warm up my soul as I danced the night away alongside all the attendees. The sheer variety of artists and genres was nothing short of remarkable, as well as entertaining, and I felt that the event indeed blended classic and cutting-edge perfectly – no wonder it sold out! A special thank you goes to the Destiny Events team for having Team EDM TOR out to cover the event. I had a lot of fun and will definitely be grabbing my tickets early for next year’s Halloween Freakout!
Bryan Kearney & Vino Vici – We Are the Creators (Vibe Tribe and Spade remix)
Konstatine – Space Raven
Andrew Rayel – Tacadum
Magik & Alpha Portal – Magic Portal
Prozzak – Strange Disease
Prozzak – Omobolasire
Prozzak – www.nevergetoveryou
Prozzak – Sucks To Be You
Detlef – JayDee
Hardrive’s Deep Inside (Low Steppa Remix)
Green Velvet – Flash (Eats Everything remix)
Detlef x Green Velvet – Issues
Walker & Royce ft. Green Velvet – Rub Anotha Dub
Culture Shock ft. Bryn Christopher – City Lights
Sigma – Nobody To Love (Sigma’s Future Jungle Mix)
DJ Hazard ft. Summer Rayne – Roll On My Level
Wilkinson – Afterglow
Forever ’99 Halloween Freakout
Mei Chien Soong – EDM TOR