Electronic Dance Music Festival Rocks Canadian Wilderness

Woodstock may be a thing of the near-past, but that spirit of musical camaraderie among the wonder of nature is alive and well in Canada. For three days in late July, a 42-acre span of gorgeous land overlooking the Ottawa River in Bryson, Quebec played host to Electronic Paradise is Alweezgrooven.

The underground electronic dance music festival was organized to celebrate the fifth anniversary of two separate music events, Electronic Paradise (EP) and Alweezgrooven (AG). EP is committed to bringing attendees “a weekend of music and oneness under the country skies” while AG wants participants “to have fun, to stare at the stars, to dance all night long with no judgment, attitude or hierarchy…and to express themselves in a safe and bias-free zone.”

Such similarity in entertainment goals led to a massive event with three stages of music from over 40 DJs, and an event site featuring artists, vendors, workshops, and a slacklining park. Organizers even included what they call “The Healing Garden”: an area with yoga, reiki, Thai massage, meditation and spiritual guidance.

Musical artists included Colin Hargreaves, Tadellos, Kurt Yates, Sonic Steve, Hashek, Monkey Machine, Sarah Fairy and DJ Majikal.

Colin Hargreaves’ love of music began as a child, under the influence of his musician father. Hargreaves learned to play recorder, piano and clarinet, and was soon competing in local festivals and performing at school talent shows and church functions.

When Hargreaves’ family moved from small Deep River, Ontario to Ottawa, the teenager became a devotee of house and techno music. In four years he had his first club gig, and has gone on to play many notable festivals and clubs around the world, and been named the official DJ of Eco-Fashion Week Vancouver.

Berlin-based duo Tadellos has a sound that’s been described as “a dopamine rush with a deep and dark soulful pulse.” Canadian native Elena Bales and German Tino Schwarz consider theirs “a deep and distinct Berlin sound” with grooving bass lines, melodically tinged overtones and occasional drifting vocals. They perform at festivals and in clubs in Berlin and across Canada.

Peter Stromer, an event organizer also known as DJ Hashek and Spaceship Manager, says they promoted through Facebook, word of mouth and their Web sites, and notes that the highlights for him were “seeing 280 people smiling, getting great reviews by all and having the weather hold up for the weekend.”

His advice for music festival planners? “Stick to your initial budget no matter what, keep costs down and work hard to get the attendance that you need” to make the festival profitable.