One of the best parts about summer music festivals is just that – they’re in the summer. Blue skies, sunshine and warmth can do an awful lot to enhance the atmosphere at a concert/festival, and go a long way in putting smiles on the faces of those in attendance. So, the fact that Montreal’s first annual Île Soniq music festival was amongst the highlights of my summer, despite some absolutely treacherous weather, is a testament to just what a great show it was.
Spread over two days in the city’s Parc Jean-Drapeau, festival organizer Evenko gave 35,000 EDM fans (about 17,500 per day) an eclectic mix of music, boasting a whole handful of huge artists, from dance favorites like Tiësto, Adventure Club and Laidback Luke, to more hip-hop/rap oriented performers, like Juicy J and Iggy Azalea. It was an excellent and impressive line-up and one that did not disappoint in the slightest.
Divided into three stages, the festival offered up something for everyone. Personally, I spent most of my time running between the main stage, dubbed Oasis, and the secondary stage, which was known as Superheroes Anonymous on the first day and Mirage on the second. A smaller, third stage called Neon was sandwiched between the two bigger ones, but unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to spend there.
Day one brought with it a ton of great DJs, but that also presented several scheduling conflicts. After a raging set from Botnek and a somewhat disappointing performance from Iggy Azalea, I headed over to Superheroes Anonymous to catch the always electrifying 3LAU, who once again impressed with some fantastic mixes, a couple originals (How You Love Me never gets old) and an unparalleled level of energy that ensured the crowd had their minds “3LAU’d.”
Following that, we had Bingo Players getting the crowd riled up over at Oasis (with surefire classics like Rattle, Cry (Just a Little) and new track Knock You Down), while The Chainsmokers did their thing over at Superheroes Anonymous, taking Selfies with the crowd and giving the fans exactly what they wanted. Both sets were excellent, and the only disappointment was that I had to split my time between the two stages, as I would have liked to of seen both acts in full. I was faced with the same dilemma shortly after as well, when Dillon Francis stepped onto Oasis at the same time Adventure Club were beginning their homecoming set over at Superheroes Anonymous.
I decided to spend most of my time with the Montreal native DJs and watched as the crowd embraced Christian and Leighton with open arms and energy levels that were off the charts. Once again, Adventure Club put on another truly special show, playing for nearly two hours and accompanied by a dazzling display of lights and effects. Watching them perform in their hometown was really a memorable experience and made for one of the best sets that I’ve ever seen from them.
I did catch the last 20 minutes or so of Mr. Francis as well, and given that I’ve never seen him before, I was quite impressed. The crowd went particularly wild for his new song, When We Were Young, and the production and visuals during his set on Oasis were excellent.
Finally, the King himself, Tiesto, came onto the main stage to close out the night. Running through most of his new album (Written In Reverse, Set Yourself Free, Wasted, etc.), as well as a bunch of the classics, the Dutch DJ delivered a flawless set of music. Going into it, I was a bit worried that the set would run the risk of being too mainstream for my liking, but that wasn’t the case. The king played to all of his fans (both hardcore and casual) and delivered a very memorable close to day one.
Oh, and when he put on a Montreal Canadiens jersey, the crowd freaking lost it.