[Event Review] Escapade Music Festival 2024

Last weekend marked the 14th edition of one of the largest music festivals in all of Canada, Escapade Music Festival. The 3 day festival took place at Lansdowne Park on June 21-23, in the capital of Canada, Ottawa. Known for its thorough organization and stacked lineups, this year was no different with some major heavy hitters gracing the capital. Spread across three different stages, some of the industry’s biggest names performed that weekend such as Steve Angello, Zedd, Knock2, Mau P, ISOXO, Diesel, Seven Lions, Illenium, Steve Aoki, ACRAZE, and many more. When it comes to festivals, they are rain or shine up until severe weather comes into play which can have an adverse effect for the safety of attendees and festival staff. Unfortunately for those in attendance, day 3 had to be cancelled after opening the gates for a few hours due to unsafe site conditions from 24 hours of heavy rain and damage to the site. The organizers made the right call to protect everyone’s safety and made a quick decision to refund attendees that did purchase a Sunday ticket which was highly commendable.

Stages and Layout

Escapade featured a total of three stages which catered towards a variety of different genres. Aberdeen Stage which was an indoor stage had a mixture of house and techno acts. Bet99 Stage which was located in a massive stadium and had a floor as well as bleachers for attendees to enjoy their favorite DJs. This was where the bassheads and headbangers joined together where top acts such as Ganja White Knight, Tape B, Levity, ISOXO, and Diesel performed. And for the third stage, centered across a great stretch of grass was the Great Lawn Stage where acts such as Zedd, Steve Aoki, Two Friends, and more played. Each stage in their own right were large and had adequate production to be considered as main stages which was very impressive. Another thing to point out was that the festival was 100% sold out. Despite this fact, I never felt over crowded with the other attendees and still felt the massive main stage energy that we look for at festivals. Major props for the Escapade organizers on this as in today’s festival market, many end up overselling which lowers the fans enjoyments by chasing profits.

Upon entering the festival, the entrance was well organized with one GA line and one VIP line. It was a quick and efficient entry with adequate security ensuring a steady flow of people entering at once. I often notice heavy lines at other festivals which often lowers the overall experience for many attendees so this was a key highlight of the organization. When exploring the festival grounds, I liked how there were food vendors conveniently scattered across the grounds. Food options were great too, and I treated myself to poutine being an American and not having access to that in the states. Water stations were also positioned in great spots and lines to refill water were never more than a few minutes even during peak hours.

Day 1 started off strong with tasteful house dons KREAM and Mau P takin over the Great Lawn Stage. Ravers from Ottawa must love house music because the stage was packed with ravers brimming with excitement and energy as they grooved to house bangers. Immediately after, Knock2 took the stage and has been the talk of the scene lately for his meteoric rise. Known for his energetic and bass-heavy tracks, he seamlessly blends house, bass house, and trap influences to create party-starting anthems. He kept the crowd jumping with a string of his high profile tracks such as ‘dashstar*’, ‘SMACK TALK’, and ‘Rock Ur World’. Simultaneously at the stadium stage, Crankdat was goin b2b with Riot Ten, putting on one of the hardest sets of the weekend. With no shortage of pyro, the set was a demolition of bass, having the whole stadium arena crowd headbanging in unison. Diesel would play shortly after and another rising young gun ISOXO to close out the stage. He even brought out Knock2 during his closing set which fans of ISOKNOCK were definitely ecstatic about. Meanwhile at the Aberdeen stage, latin house trailblazer Hugel, AC Slater, and Tchami X Malaa were ripping it hard with their house tunes bouncing all over throughout the stage. I personally ended my night at the Great Lawn Stage singing along to Zedd’s crowd favorites such as ‘Clarity’ and ‘Beautiful Now’. To my surprise, he ended the night with an epic display of fireworks.

Credit: BigLaurPhotographie

On day 2, I wanted to arrive early to get the full swing of the festival before it got too crowded. I started off at the Bet99 stage with Draeden who is a Montreal-based producer that isn’t afraid to push boundaries, blending cinematic soundscapes with face-melting bass drops with a knack for metal/rock roots. He got the crowd riled up by bringing Micah Martin on stage to belt out a new track on the mic. At this point in the afternoon, the rain was drizzling which was honestly a good thing because of how humid it was at the venue. From there, rising star Tape B blasted the crowd with nostalgia with his unique blend of classic dubstep and genre-bending flips. Over at the Aberdeen Stage, Maddix put on a hard hitting techno set which had everyone riled up with the faster bpm drops. Trance fans were in delight right after as Ilan Bluestone performed a special uplifting trance set right after. Those attendance at the Great Lawn Stage were in for a treat with huge names such as ILLENIUM, Two Friends, and Steve Aoki playing in succession. Aoki played out his classic hits such as ‘Turbulence’, ‘Pursuit of Happiness’, and new music from his Paragon album. He would also close out the night throwing his famous cakes into the crowd which is always a fun sight to see as he hurls them across dozens of feet.

Escapade Music Festival 2024 faced some challenges this year, with unexpected weather forcing the cancellation of Day 3. However, the festival showcased the resilience of the EDM community. Organizers, performers, and attendees all adapted and kept the positive vibes flowing. The event organizers and artists were able to scramble together some last minute afterparties to make up for the rain. The Chainsmokers played at a venue, and Subtronics went B2B with Tape B at a free pop up at a different one. And lastly, Slander showed up at the Kayzo afterparty to go B2B.

Stay tuned to the official EMF socials for next year’s edition!

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