You know it was a great Festival when you have tears in your eyes while leaving the festival land, that is exactly what happened with me while heading out from the WILD Summer Festival. It felt like leaving home, a home that had embraced me just a couple of evenings back had me in tears as it made me realize that the ride back to the concrete jungle out of the WILD will make me miss this home even more.
Wild Summer Festival was a good reminder as to why festivals are conducted in the first place, for getting a like minded community together to share time and space while the soundtrack of their lives plays in the background. I do not find it surprising that the newer the festival the more homely is the environment and this being the first year of WILD it overflowed with an honest and raw effort which showed at every corner and moment throughout the festival.
The bus organized by the festival left from Toronto at 11 a.m. on 21st August from Nathan Phillips Square and reached the festival lands at 3.30p.m. By 5p.m. we were all tented up and took a stroll around the festival land. The location had a beautiful landscape surrounding it and the joy of not seeing a single electrical wire running through at a height was sheer pleasure, we surely were in the wild. On account of the remoteness of the location all the electric power used at the festival was through mobile power generators. As cellular phones lost all service well before we had reached this magical place, it added to the excitement of being disconnected from the ‘outside world’ and made us more ready to dive head first into our ‘inside worlds’.
We were camped closest to the Savannah (psytrance) stage for which I’m very thankful to Leo and Flor, one of the lovely couples that toiled for weeks to make this gathering such a special one. As Cosmous played some Progressive psytrance, my feet had already started moving while we chilled besides our tent trying to decide which stage would we be starting at. My girlfriend opted out of the discussion as she heard faint uplifting sounds with a groovy beat traveling from behind a cluster of trees where the Bouncy Forest (Techno) stage was set up and she convinced all five of us that it was the sound to start the festival with. We reached the Techno stage where Da Silva was playing some sick uplifting Techno tunes to a relatively empty dance floor. A few tracks into the set and my eyes were closed as I was mesmerized by the sound while we danced together surrounded by the wild life breathing and dancing with us. Upon opening my eyes the dance floor had filled up with everyone getting ready to let their hair loose and mind open for journey of a lifetime.
After warming up at the Bouncy Forest we made our way back to the Savannah stage where Animalium was blasting full-on psytrance and the dance floor was buzzing with energized dancing souls as he smoothly transitioned from one killer track to another playing the contemporary remixes of classics like ‘Juice’ by GMS and ‘I wish’ by Infected Mushroom’s remix by Skazi. The sun had gone away and the stars were coming out as the twilight got darker and so did the sound on the Savannah stage as Machine Elf played a set transitioning from full on sounds to the darker full on night as next up was one of favorite darkpsy artist Atheria who has always put out a set that makes me lose sense of my physical position on this planet which also happened at the WILD in Palmer Rapids when I felt like I was in the valleys of Kasol, India with all the lush greenery that surrounded us and the tropical weather to complement that.
I was brought back to my senses when someone offered me a watermelon to recharge my energy and I decided that my mind needed some rest but the body still wanted to dance and hence I made my way back to the Bouncy Forest. The walk to the Bouncy Forest stage was a short walk but the muddy ditches and the make shift wooden plank bridge made it seem quite long while providing adventure at the same time. The dark of the night just added to the fun of that walk as the flashlight led the way. That being said this is definitely something that needs to be fixed for the next edition as I personally met two Festival goers who suffered a sprain in the ankle on account of this walk.
The Bouncy Forest at this moment was bouncing to the sweet tunes broadcasted by Moosick, who is Mustafa Ismael, a DJ and music producer from Toronto whose selection of uplifting Techno sounds filled with soothing baselines were the exact thing I needed at that point in the middle of night under the sea of stars. It must’ve been around 4 a.m. when we made our way back to the tent to grab food and beer.
When we got to tent the psytrance stage had been taken over by Aio, a darkpsy DJane from Montreal who in her signature style kept the haunting soundscapes going all through her set while the tired crowd that had been dancing for the past few hours kept pushing through as it was really hard to leave the dancefloor to this amazing set if one was a fan of darkpsy. As Aio was finishing her set we started walking to the tent to catch up on some rest and before she had finished her set I passed out to high bpm sounds in my tent.
After the joyful and hectic Day ONE we were all geared up for Day Two as we were woken up by the thumping groovy sound from the Savannah stage at around 11AM when MagicMushroom was pumping the morning with a powerful progressive psytrance set. The sun was bright and how! The weather was as tropical as it could get but surrounded by the lush fields of green helped with cooling down now and then. We decided to start the day with a healthy breakfast as granola bars were passed around while we had a breakfast with MagicMushroom inviting us for more psychedelia. I had myself a great morning workout at the Savannah stage as the breakfast had started to digest and I felt the urge to go and find a cool spot to rest and recharge my batteries.
I walked over to the Techno stage to see if I could find the peace I was looking for. On my way I noticed that some people were setting up a small stage close to the camping area, I was hopeful for some ‘chill’ but kept walking to the Bouncy Forest. All Natural a DJ from Toronto was in the climax of his set and while the dance floor was buzzing with smiling faces bouncing to the sweet sound of techno. That was followed by a smooth transitioning set by another Toronto upcoming DJ Paul Da Silva. He played a set with a lot of variation and yet kept the momentum going through. As much I was loving the set I was excited to the check out the DJ Rikam’s set at the Savannah stage.
On my walk to the Savannah stage I saw a bunch of guys setting up a small canopy with a table under it, which I presumed was for the chill stage as it was pretty close to the main camping area. At the Savannah Stage DJ Rikam had already got into top gear churning out one mind numbing track after another without letting anyone heave a sigh of relief as the most of the psyfamily at the festival was on the dance floor letting it out and taking it all in at the same time to this epic set.
Now, as it tends to happen with events that boast of multiple stages, one is bound to miss out on many of the performances, although the organizers of Wild Summer Festival; the good people at Labyrinth Productions, tried having some artists play at two different times so that the probability of catching a said set was higher. The lack of information regarding the set times at the festival was one of the few complains that I have as I ended up missing out on a few sets that I wanted to catch.That being said, that’s surely something any festival organizer should look into, to see to it that the schedule is easily accessible to all pilgrims at the festival.
It was late in the afternoon and DJ Rikam had drained me off all my energy, I decided to take a walk to the food stall to refill on water which was provided for free by the organizers. We are very thankful to the event organizers for providing free drinking water considering the heat during the day and all the dancing that was happening all around. On the walk there I noticed that the chill zone stage was up and running and someone was playing some really melodic and chill house music there, I found out later that set was by Gabriel Belmudes. I had to go to the Bouncy Forest to catch Fresque’s set and so we kept walking. This was the first time I was checking out Fresque play live, and I must say that he made my love for tech-house grow by leaps and bounds by that amazing set. The crowd was grooving and smiling throughout the set as Fresque transitioned from a beauty of a track to another as he took everyone in the Bouncy Forest on a beautiful journey.
We headed back to the chill zone where at the tiny tent Audi Etoffe was playing. And he was playing some of the best chillout music I’ve heard in a long time. Audi always tends to introduce me to a new world of music and DJ’ing by his smooth flowing and careful storytelling. I was up next to play on the chill stage and was nervous as I was following up to Audi.
I started my set with midtempo progressive Psy-Trance at 120BPM and moved on to the high tempo Progressive psychedelic sound at 135BPM playing tracks by Vibrasphere, Solar Fields, Ben Rama, Metronome and many of my other favorite artists. The few people that were passing by decided to stay back and soon there were a bunch of people in front of the chill stage grooving in the setting sun. I had a great time playing my warm up set but I had to head to Savannah stage to check out one of my favorite DJs from Toronto, Mythrophan.
Mitchell (Mythrophan) started his set with a thumping progressive sound, which is his signature style and kept the tempo going throughout the set with. Mitchell who is also one half of the Toronto based techno project Myda brought the crowd to sway incessantly to the melodies he kept churning out. During the climax of his set he diverted towards the more full on sound as next up was the power charged DJane Akibel from Montreal.
Akibel played a very psychedelic dark full on set which was followed by a dark psy goa set by the toronto veteran DJ Plan B. The line up for the night was as psychedelic as it can get and the crowd was all charged up as the next headliner Moondoggy was taking control of the decks. Moondoggy played a set full of twisted spacey and industrial sounds sending the forest into a frenzy. This 3hr long set by Moondoggy was one of the highlights for me at the festival. The flow of the set was impeccable and a dark night was made even darker.
As twilight approached, PlayDifferent, a DJ and producer project of Toronto resident Roberto Foti took to stage and slammed the crowd with a set of dark and twisted hi-tech as the BPM was raised over at 160 BPM at one point. PlayDifferent has a tendency to play a set full of dancing grooves and stomach churning basslines. After this set I headed back to my tent around 6 am in the morning.
We were tented not too far away from the Savannah stage so it was a short walk to the tent. Although once in the tent it was getting really hard to sleep as the music was still playing and it was playing hi-tech. This was one of the common complaint that hi-tech should’ve probably stopped once the sun was starting to come up, but it’s one of the things to improve on for the next version of the festival.
The next day I woke up fresh and the rest of the day was spent with the most amazing people I had met during the festival. Wild Festival was a very memorable and a special experience for me where I made some amazing connections which have become a part of my family. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers of the festival for pulling off a debut festival with so much heart and dedication. As with anything, there is a lot of scope of improvement and improvisation for the next edition of the festival, but there were a lot of things they got right in their first attempt, most important of all the music was on point and the the variety of music on offer was astonishing with all the 3 stages curating a very different mood of music which gave the patrons a chance to choose and experience the music they wanted. I know I appreciated the variety in music a lot and would expect Wild Festival to continue their journey with more underground acts along with the popular ones.