Festival Review: Electric Island, May 18th – Highlights and Lowlights

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By Into The Crowd Staff

Highlight: Short lines once on the Island
Security and will-call lines were reasonable and once you arrived at the venue.  I waited no longer than 10 minutes to get in through the gates.  The washroom and water fill-up situation was also under control, as I never waited more than a minute or two for either.  Bar and food lines were also reasonable although they both offered limited options.  – Erin Holdbeck

Lowlight: Ferry line to get to the Island
I had anticipated a long line for the ferry but nothing like I actually ended up encountering.  I waited in line for an hour (at 4pm) to just get into the ferry waiting area and then waited another 10 minutes.  Getting a pre-paid ferry ticket was a huge mistake – those who had not bought one were in line-ups a quarter of the length long.  Either skip the pre-paid ferry ticket or grab some friends and take the much faster water taxi ride to the island (10$ per person, which is only 3$ more than the a ferry ticket).  – Erin Holdbeck

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Highlight: SPIN Toronto providing festival-goers some ping-pong action
SPIN Toronto had set up a couple ping-pong tables near the festival lounging area. You couldn’t play beer pong, but you could have a couple real games of ping-pong with friends. Ping-pong matches. At a music festival. That was a first for me, and given that the tables were almost always occupied, it’s pretty safe to say this was definitely a crowd pleaser all around.   – Tiffany Lam

Highlight: A welcoming set by Simon Jain
Local Toronto DJ Simon Jain put on an upbeat house set which created a perfect mood to start off the island, just as expected. Given the weather, the set was well-appropriate and got everyone in a mood of excitement as they entered the island, accompanied by some good bouncy vibrations.   – Kaivan Adjedani

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Highlight: Seth Troxler showed up
After being a no-show at last year’s event, it was a relief to see Seth Troxler make several appearances on stage throughout the day.  When he finally got his chance behind the decks, headlining with The Martinez Brothers as TUSKEGEE, he seemed determined to redeem his previous absence.  Their set was the unique brand of energetic house that you can expect from both artists and provided the perfect soundtrack as the sun went down.  – Erin Holdbeck

Lowlight: Lee Burridge didn’t show up
One of the most anticipated acts of the day, Lee Burridge, never made it to the island due to flight delays in New York.  While this was a huge disappointment for many attendees, myself included, it did allow for Tom Trago to play an extended set, who proved that he was nearly able to make up Burridge’s absence.  Here’s hoping that he will get the chance to redeem himself at one of the future events.  – Erin Holdbeck

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Highlight: Pan-Pot’s set
The German techno duo brought the perfect amount of energy and darkness to the island in what could easily be considered the best set of the day.  Their set was consistently amazing from beginning to end quenching Toronto’s thirst for a darker and heavier sound.  Throughout the rest of the day I found myself wishing that Pan-Pot could have played an extended timeslot as both Steve Lawler and TUSKEGEE struggled with consistency throughout their sets.  The combination of bright and sunny weather, heavy bass, and Berlin techno was exactly what was needed to warm up the crowd and keep them moving through the afternoon.  – Erin Holdbeck

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Lowlight: Steve Lawler’s Set
It would have been difficult for anyone to follow Pan-Pot’s set but the legendary house and techno DJ, Steve Lawler, also proved unable to rise to the occasion.  Many attendees I spoke to were most excited for Lawler’s set and were just as disappointed as I was.  While he started with a spicy blend of house he set quickly tapered off into typical and repetitive tech house by the end.  The most memorable part of his set was when he dropped Lazer Beams by Green Velvet and Harvard Bass – while a fan favourite last year it was only received as stale and boring this time around.  – Erin Holdbeck

Highlight: Crowd and atmosphere well-read by DJs
With so much strong tech house talent in the lineup, I was expecting a lot of dark, grimy techno right from the get-go. To my surprise, what was played was actually much lighter, which matched a lot better with the laidback daytime outdoor setting. In the earlier sets, the artists played lighter music to match the beautiful sunny weather. When the sun set and darkness took over the island, that familiar dirty techno took over the stage, making for an impressive end of Electric Island.  – Boris Boitsov

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Highlight: Seeing the DJs having just as much fun as everyone
Towards the end of Tom Trago’s set, I was well into the vibes of the festival. I have no idea which song he dropped, but its kick drum kicked my ass into gear and sent me on an endorphin-filled dance off with the techno gods. For a brief second, I locked eyes with Trago, enthusiastically nodding in appreciation – he noticed, and gave me a masterful nod in return, humbly acknowledging his skills as a maestro.  – Boris Boitsov

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Highlight: The change in crowd energy during the climax of the Pan-Pot set
Pan-Pot absolutely killed it. They transitioned the crowd from a ping-pong playing, Sapporo drinking, head-bobbing bunch into a dance crazed mob. The people flooded towards the stage as Pan-Pot started pumping out tracks that you couldn’t help but get your butt moving to. It was an impeccable transition into the dance-filled evening to come.   – Boris Boitsov

Photos by Tiffany Lam

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