As I pulled up in my uber to Ontario Place, I felt a mild case of déjà vu. I had pulled up in a similar fashion to the same location a month previously, to attend Dreams festival. This time, however, it was different. This time, I was heading to West Island for the final day of Electric Island.
Electric Island is a summer concert series that is viewed as one of the must-see events for any electronic music lover in Toronto. Thanks to organizers Coda, Embrace, and Platform, the series regularly books spectacular House and Techno talent, with previous years featuring artists such as Green Velvet, Charlotte De Witte, Sven Vath, and the Black Madonna. Typically, Electric Island is hosted at Hanlan’s Point in Toronto Island, but due to flooding, only the May 19th opener could be hosted there. The other four of the five concerts had to be relocated, with the June 19th and August 10th events held at Woodbine Park.
For this Electric Island, it was finally moved back to something similar to its namesake- West Island, one of three man-made islands contained within the sprawling Ontario Place venue. Day One had seen twelve different artists on two different stages, with mask-wearing techno mainstay Boris Brejcha closing out the main stage. Day Two promised to be just as exciting, and as I cleared security, I felt my old déjà vu disappearing as I took in my surroundings.
The multi-level West Island was full of little treasures to discover- a balcony with colored lawn chairs to observe the main stage, a forest clearing lit up with fairy lights at the neighboring Moog Audio Stage, and a rock tunnel lit an eerie, glowing green connecting the two locations. The new location had also solved one of the biggest problems Electric Island faced at its original location- four different bathrooms and bars were spread out throughout the venue, shortening wait times for all happy concert-goers. My friend remarked that the location should be held here permanently. And while my love for the original venue runs deep, I couldn’t deny the benefits of the new.
However, the most stunning venue won’t even matter if the music that fills it is subpar. Thankfully, they Day Two closers did not disappoint. The smaller Moog Audio stage was continuously full throughout the day, closing the night out with local Toronto talent Addy and Greg Gow. The main stage was lit up throughout the night, featuring performances by underground tech duo Pleasurekraft and tech-house legend Joris Voorn. But the night peaked when Claude Vonstroke, Detroit’s darling of deep bass and dirty tracks, took the stage to raucous cheers, launching into a heart-thumping, rump-shaking house set that ruffled the feathers of even the most hardcore Dirtybird fans in the crowd.
As I left the emptying venue, I realized that I wouldn’t have to wait for a slow-moving ferry, like I would have had to at Hanlan’s point. Instead, my friends and I took a shortcut through the Canadian National Exhibition, and as we wandered through the flashing lights, my friend remarked that he could still hear a subtle bass line through the carnival grounds. And I thought that within the scope of Electric Island, a little change could be a great thing.
*Featured image via Kurthoop