I found this article on the DJ Mag Canada website that introduces you to the men responsible for the upcoming 2 day Canada Day party, Digital Dreams. Its a pretty good article giving you background on who exactly these guys are and how they’ve brought some top notch talent to Toronto to celebrate our national holiday. Unfortunately the article exposes little about the actual event itself, but an interesting read none the less.
**Update: We’ve had a festival focused article from DJ Mag passed our way that focuses on the actual event, CLICK HERE to check it out!
DREAMING IN DIGITAL – via www.djmag.ca
June 6, 2012
It probably isn’t a coincidence that some of Toronto’s infamous party throwers have come together to finally bring an electronic dance music festival to the big smoke.
Digital Dreams goes down on Canada Day weekend at the former Ontario Place grounds, but before we get to the who, what, why or when, it’s important to know the how.
Toronto has always been a mecca for electronic music in North America, starting in the early 90s when a boom of underground rave culture swept over the city. Warehouses, bingo halls, abandoned buildings, anywhere people could assemble with like-minded friends and listen to all these new genres of music; house, techno, trance, jungle, drum and bass, breaks, happy hardcore, Rotterdam. They all would experience their own parties and cliques of DJs, promoters and supporters that would soon give birth to an industry of its own.
It is this industry that has been responsible for a plethora of producers and DJs coming out of the 416 and enjoying worldwide success. Names like Deadmau5, Art Department, Azari & iii, Carlo Lio, MSTRKRFT, M1, Adam K, Hatiras, Jelo, D-unity, Daniel Dubb, Flipside, James Teej, The Junkies (the list goes on and on) would NEVER have the international recognition they enjoy, without the foundation of the industry that still holds strong today. It’s almost funny to say now, but the industry really was built on PLUR. That Peace Love Unity Respect thing really did go a long way, and the countless raves and afterhours events in the early 90′s really did form a network of people that had a mutual respect for one another, friendships were formed and enabled Toronto to have world class DJs in town on a weekly basis.
Towards the end of Toronto’s rave era, the city was ever more present, and a crackdown on raves on city property began. A full out media blitz lasted sporadically for a couple years, culminating in the Idance protests at City Hall in August of 2001. Much negative press continued and focused a police and political presence, that would eventually, push the culture into the nightclub world. The one remaining constant from this time would be Destiny.
Though started in 1993, Destiny, (headed by Ryan Kruger and Jesse Brown), would hold the first WEMF (World Electronic Music festival) in 1995, and traditionally is a 3-day rave inspired event usually held somewhere a few hours outside of Toronto’s city limits, and continues to this day. While being a festival, geographically it is not one really Toronto could ever call its own. That said, Destiny and WEMF continued to grow year after year after year, and many Torontonians and people from all surrounding areas continue to look forward WEMF every summer, as well as Destiny’s one off events throughout the year.
Ryan and Jesse always with their ears to the ground, would later startup CEMF, (Cutting Edge Music Festival) which they ran parallel to WEMF until 2008, feeling WEMF was losing steam, and needed some retooling,CEMF would last one more summer, and in 2009 Ryan and Jesse would go on to take jobs in the corporate world. Their love for wanting to throw big events, and bringing a world class festival INTO the city of Toronto, never waned. They added a new partner, Embrace, and in 2011 WEMF was re-born, and has continued be as successful as ever. It will always be known as the first electronic music festival in Ontario.
While there were a few clubs before and after that would be talked about on an equal level in some circles, THE nightclub in Toronto and the formula for most underground focused clubs in the city, since, was Industry.
Founded by Gavin Bryan, Mario Jukica, Daniel Bellavance and Matt Casselman, Industry was the first to bring the big name djs to a sweaty, hot bodied filled dancefloor till all hours of the morning, and they did so in the summer of 1996. Names like Tenaglia, Mills, Carter, Cox, Bangalter, Sneak, would play LEGENDARY all night sets that are still talked about to this day, and some of which are responsible for the reputations that these djs still hold in the hearts of Torontonians. Many past clubs like System Soundbar, Turbo, Boa, Sonic, Element, Roxy Blu, and Footwork today, were and are run with the same ingredients. Good people, that love music, that want to make a good party for their guests first and foremost.
Industry would eventually close its doors in the summer of 2000 with one of Toronto’s more legendary parties, with none other than Mr. Danny Tenaglia.
The owners went on to do different things, but it was Gavin, (who amongst other things is a key component of the Global Marijuana March, and Canada Day Picnic held every year in the city), that would team up with Dave Marichone, (a former promoter of Gavin’s at Industry) to form Balance Inc in 2010. Balance would be a big part of the recent throwback Carnivale Warehouse parties at the end of 2011, and would become a key broker in getting the festival started.
When Industry closed, in the years following, nightclub after nightclub would open in the entertainment district downtown. Many previously mentioned clubs would go on to garnish their own amount of success, and as the electronic music culture grew, so did the crowd numbers.
Many a promotion company was born, but none as successful as ZRF. (Zark, Ralf and friends) ZRF was founded by Zark Fatah and Ralf Madi and started on a Sunday night at the legendary Fluid, and would come to focus their promoting attentions on many of Toronto’s hottest venues through the first part of the decade. ZRF quickly became the biggest promoters in town, and their success through the years would lead both men into various ventures,the most notable of which, teaming up with Vito Tomasicchio to form ©apture, The parent company of venues like the highly popular, and always filled to capacity nightclubs Century Room and Maison Mercer, and popular restaurants Blowfish and KiWe as well, and last but certainly not least, have a part in the world famous BPM festival in Mexico.
Not to be outshone, Uniq Lifestyle, and its portfolio of venues, continues to be a leader in Toronto nightlife. Founded by the Tsoumaris family (John, Nitsa, and Matty) Uniq’s brand caters to the more sophisticated club goer, with bars on the famous King Street west,(Brant house, Cobra, Cheval etc) and swanky liberty village, (Maro) They are also the owners and operators of venues such as Jacob’s Steakhouse, and Ballroom bowl bar bistro. Of late, Uniq has expanded globally, producing the Exodus Festival in Las Vegas, and Carnivale Royale in Montreal.
People with a lot less to do with the industry, for years have been talking about getting an EDM driven music festival to Toronto, so why, one has to wonder, did it take so long?
Well, the answer HAS to be that it had to be organic. A lot has changed in the industry in the last 20 years. What was once taboo, is now mainstream. Sneaking off to an abandoned warehouse at 2 in the morning, and having to worry about the party being shutdown is no longer necessary. The success of many DJs and producers from the 416, and the very business of electronic music today has shined a light on Toronto. This has enabled people to be more open-minded, and in turn has allowed big business to become involved. Big business that wanted to hire people that have done this before.This was highlighted earlier in the year, when Live Nation, (the world’s biggest concert producers), hired, Destiny’s Ryan Kruger to head up Electronic Nation, as managing director.
Ryan’s appointment led him to turn to what he knows best. Throwing big parties, with people that not only know what they are doing, but doing it for the right reasons. So, Ryan turned to the likes of Gavin, and Andrew Christoforou (Uniq’s director of Marketing).They then went to Vito, Ralf and Zark at Capture, and finally Ryan’s Destiny partner Jesse Brown to form the Digital Dream team so to speak. It is this combination of professional, experienced party throwers, their willingness to work TOGETHER on a dream and the resumes to get shit done, that the festival was born.
The wait has been long, and many thought it would never happen, but what better day for this to happen than the birthday of this wonderful nation of ours, Canada Day: sick beats, beautiful people, the best DJs in the world, complete with fireworks and the planet’s best looking skyline. Somebody pinch us are we dreaming?!
Yep. in Digital.
Absent on picture day: Gavin Bryan and Dave Marichone (Balance) and Zark Fatah, Ralf Madi, and Vito Tomasicchio (Capture).
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