By Oli Wycech
Escapade Festival is about to put Canada’s capital city on the map. Together with Live Nation and DNA Live, the Bud Light Escapade Music Festival returns to Ottawa this June for its 10th iteration in extra fine form – the event is set to deliver an entirely new experience through a shining new design and a lineup featuring the glitterati of the dance music industry, many of whom have never played in the area before.
Spread across four stages, the nation’s capital will see several top tier acts that need no introduction like Tiësto (replacing Martin Garrix), DJ Snake, Kayzo, Tchami, KSHMR, Zeds Dead, and the list goes on. But what caught our attention was a lineup that saw as many veteran DJs as number one acts, with entire stages dedicated to trance and so many strong hip-hop influences on others. Since we don’t need to tell you who DJ Snake is, here are five more alternative acts worthy of checking out and why:
Bugatti might have been what catapulted Montreal-born dance music don Tiga into the top of the charts but in fact this music maestro’s career stretches back two decades to just before the heyday of blog house when he bought DNA Records in 1994, founded Turbo Recordings in 1998 and became the de facto king of Montreal’s legendary loft parties. You could even say that Tiga played a pivotal role in the evolution of the city’s unparalleled dance music culture. Today his bio pins him as a techno-evangelist that meets synth pop heartthrob, but you can expect a set of tunes ranging from classics to throwbacks to big room beats when he plays together with Danny Tenaglia, another name that will send shivers down the back of any old DJ dog.
Wobble and bass are the most defining terms for the music that Jack Beats play because no other genre was fitting for when they exploded onto the scene in 2007 with an unforgettable remix of La Roux’s “I’m Not Your Toy.” Soon after, the English-electronic music duo found a home on OWSLA because their grime, dubstep and rave and bass influenced sound sat well with team Skrillex as well as other once upon a time turntablists like A-Trak. Their sets have garnered a rep for being hyperactive and full of bangers with a hard electronic edge. One thing is for sure; their Ottawa debut is long overdue.
KEYS N KRATES
Toronto is a prime breeding ground for Canadian electronic acts and Keys N Krates are further testament to that. Made up of a turntablist, a keyboardist, and a drummer, their sound is this new style of trap that is responsible for opening up Canada’s borders to the future bass sound that has dominated much of the last decade. Also catering to hip-hop fans, the group bridges the gap between a capellas and bass-heavy beats and gotten this fun lovin’ duos productions support from artists like Diplo, Major Lazer, and Flosstradamus. But at the end of the day, it’s their dynamic performances that ups the ante on this booking and makes them not-to-miss on this big stage return to the nation’s capital.
ALY & FILA
Listen, it doesn’t matter what side of the spectrum you fall on when it comes to electronic music, trance is something that everyone needs to love and appreciate and if you’re looking for your first crack at it on a dance floor, then let it be Aly & Fila. This trance duo from Egypt weave cultural elements from years gone by in with the uplifting melodies of contemporary trance, and the output is a one-of-a-kind experience. While anthems and lasers help in creating the euphoric hands-in-the-air moments that define trance parties, only Aly & Fila take you on an unforgettable journey with their spirited take on trance. And if you’re in need of a warm-up, head right to their Future Sound of Trance radio show before you hit the dance floor.
12th Planet is what happens when you mix dubstep with drum n bass (shout out if you remember Infiltrata). The Los Angeles-based DJ and producer was one of the first American ambassadors of dubstep and bass culture, bringing it back to the US with him after a stint in the UK and birthing a scene out of it. He brings with him his arsenal of music to Canada this June where you can expect this shapeshifter to deliver an onslaught of rugged hip-hop, wobbly dubstep and heavy bass with undertones taken from his past as a drum n bass DJ.
Wondering what to expect? Peep the 2018 after movie below.
Escapade takes place in Ottawa on June 22nd and 23rd, which is just a few hours drive from Montreal and Toronto. Tickets for both days are available from the Escapade website here.