VELD Music Festival 2014

Rhythmic beats reverberated continuously across the acres of massive fields at Downsview Park over the course of two days at the mega music festival known as VELD. INK Entertainment delivered it’s third stellar production of sound, lights, and pyrotechnics headlined by some of the hottest names in EDM today.
Curious about the meaning of “Veld” a quick search lead me to: Veld, or veldt, is a type of wide open rural landscape in Southern Africa. Particularly, it is a flatter area covered in grass or low scrub. Although this massive festival isn’t located in southern Africa, this definition accurately describes Downsview Park.

Walking into Veld was an experience in itself. From tank tops to females doing their best to cover up in bikinis, there was no shortage of brazen creative outfits at this years VELD. There was one man dressed as “jesus” holding a sign with the newly infamous phrase “fuck her right in the pussy” was definitely a contradiction of sorts. There was plenty of room for parking on the massive Downsview park grounds, however the closer you parked meant the longer it would take for you to leave that night.

Navigating through the festival was easy, the addition of a VELD mobile app which was available on all mobile platforms was nice to have for looking up set times and artist info and even their soundcloud links. The layout of the festival was carefully thought out and logistics were done relatively well. The TTC provided express shuttle service to and from Downsview station. The direction and signage at the festival itself were clearly communicated. VELD boasted two stages: The Bacardi Stage and the main Veld Stage. Both stages were positioned to prevent acoustical interference, which you might think would be a challenge considering the openness of the park.

Headliners for the 2014 Festival included: 

Grammy Award winning DJ Calvin Harris, whose hit single “Summer” debuted at No. 1 in the UK; Grammy nominated and five-time No. 1 DJ on DJ Magazine’s top 100 poll, Armin Van Buuren; one third of EDM trifecta Swedish House Mafia, Sebastian Ingrosso ; Dutch DJ Martin Garrix performing his chart topping single “Animals”, Australian EDM duo Knife Party on the eve of their 4th album release; international hip-hop superstar Iggy Azalea, celebrating five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart with her summer hit “Fancy”; and was supposed to feature Atlanta hip-hop artist Waka Flocka Flamehowever he didn’t make it to the stage.

My view from the pit:

Martin Garrix at VELD 2014
Walking to the photo pit, you could feel the excitement: the crowd roared; 80,000 festival goers jumped and danced to the sound of vibrating speakers, each person whole heartedly encompassed in the excitement of VELD, creating a relentless pulsing vibration from the earth felt with each passing step.  A step I had to watch as moments before an impromptu rain fall turned some areas into a mud pit, sucking shoes and sandals into its vortex, festival goers too enthralled in the festival to even care. Surprisingly (or not) the rain created even more excitement as energy levels rose.
The monstrous stage and extravagant lighting displays would humble even Kanye West. The stage was a massive 200 feet wide and 80 feet up in the air in the shape of a giant Boombox! a boombox that shoots out flames of course. Veld organizers wanted to go as big as any festival worldwide using Tomorrowland and Ultra as muses, which would explain why they were using the same staging company that Ultra used, Mountain Productions out of Pennsylvania. This made for a great viewing experience for the 80 Thousand person crowd from any vantage point on the grounds. If music was what you came for you were in for an experience like no other, as each beat would build, the crowd would brim with anticipation, then pow! As the beat dropped fireballs would explode from beneath the stage, I could feel the heat from the flames on my face, which interestingly enough just increased the wow factor; for me at least.
There were two stages at this year’s VELD. The VELD main stage and the Bacardi stage.

The full line up of VELD Music Festival 2014:

Saturday, August 2

Veld Stage: Armin Van Buuren, Ingrosso, Nero, Bingo Players, W&W, Dannic,
Oliver Heldens, Num de Strip, Mark Oliver
Bacardi Stage: Waka Flocka Flame, Brillz, CAKED UP, Milo & Otis, Sliink,
OVERWERK, Hatras, MC Flipside

Sunday, August 3

Veld Stage: Calvin Harris, Knife Party & ZEDD, Martin Garrix, Tommy Trash,
Adventure Club, DVBBS, Blau, Micheal Brun , Manzone Strong
Bacardi Stage: Iggy Azalea, Gramatik, Feed Me, Gritz, Savoy, What So Not, DJ
Green Lantern, The Sour DJ
To close the night on day 1, Armin played an amazing set. Seemingly as soon as the first beat dropped from the set, the crowd was engaged chanting “Eat, Sleep, Rave..Repeat!”. Armin had complete control over the crowd, the music rhythmically commanding them to sway to the beat, tempo speeding up until the beat dropped! It was amazing to see Armin ask 80 thousand people to kneel and crouch to the ground all at once, just to have them all simultaneously jump up as the beat drops.
The only no show of the entire festival was Waka flocka, and it was a shame because he had a lot of fans ready to show him some Toronto love, 80 thousand strong. He did however attend a Caribana after party event, take that how you may.
It was interesting to see a hip hop DJ at Veld in DJ Green Lantern, watching him mix hip hop and dance tracks seamlessly to the pleasure of the crowd was incredible. I think this element of dj’ing is missing from most urban clubs in Toronto where you hear 3/4 of a track and they hit the next button for the next track. DJ GRiZ from Detroit whom performed on the Barcardi stage was also a pleasant surprise, never before have I seen a dj play the saxophone while delivering a crowd pleasing set. His music is more old school and future funk, electro soul mixed with r&b with a splash of hip-hop. Which had the crowd jumping for the entire hour long set.
GRiZ on the Bacardi stage
To open Day 2 Martin Garrix ignited the early crowd. Those who woke up early enough to continue the 24 hour Festival were met with a jolt of lightening by the name of Martin Garrix. His energy was contagious and the crowd matched every bit of energy he displayed during the set. Watch this clip below.
Martin Garrix killing it!
DVBBS (pronounced “dubs”) This Canadian electronic music duo formed in 2012, composed of brothers Chris Andre (born Christopher van den Hoef, January 1, 1990) and Alex Andre (born Alexandre van den Hoef, October 17, 1991). They are most famous for their joint international hit with Borgeous titled “Tsunami”. The vocal remix of “Tsunami” entitled “Tsunami (Jump)”, featuring Tinie Tempah, reached number 1 on the United Kingdom and Scotland charts. The hometown DVBBS stormed onto the stage with fury, definitely representing Toronto to the fullest on the VELD main stage. You can check out their latest single Gold Skies here:
DVBBS on Stage!
The festival went from 11am to 11pm however festival goers lost all sense of time as the day went by so quickly. I would have to say the same, those two days flew by like no other. I also have never experienced a music festival of this magnitude ever! I came into VELD not knowing what to expect and left with a great appreciation for EDM music and the culture that embraces it. As they say “Eat, Sleep, Rave …Repeat” can’t wait until next year. A&R Report signing off.
Written by: Jeff Smith | Photos by: Jeff Smith
End of VELD 2014, View from VIP