O Canada! Such a massive chunk of land on which you can stomp your feet! With the Rocky Mountains, the tundra and arctic, the deep forests, two oceans, the St-Lawrence River and gulf, countless lakes and rivers; the endless stretches of wilderness make it a special ground onto which trance has grown to the decent size scene it now has.
Inquiring about the origins of the scene will get you a different answer depending on who you ask. It’s safe to say that there has been a psy/goa scene in Canada for at least the last 20 years.
The bulk of the scene resides in Montreal and Vancouver and their surroundings. Both have regular events with headliners of various statuses from the newcomers to the big honchos. With an easy average of a party every two weeks hosting an international guest, both cities hold their events indoors during the cold winter nights. They also have their fair share of outdoor festivals as soon as the snow melts.
Techsafari Productions is responsible for the major events in the province of Quebec. They hold the biggest festival in the province, the Eclipse Summer Festival every two years, as well as the yearly Halloween (Amazone) and New Year’s Eve parties (Orion in collaboration with the Psychonaut store) in Montreal. With many production crews (Oui-R1, Prism Code, 24/7 Records, Transparence Production, Studio Sundari, Relaxation Lounge, Shamanic Garden Productions, Open Mind, Aioaska Productions and many more) chipping in, you can easily expect to find a psy party happening any weekend. Depending on the night, you can expect to hear anything from chill out to hitech with a good measure of prog and full on. Techno also holds a solid spot (or even stage/room) on most nights.
Not to be outdone, Vancouver has a long-standing community with organizers both new and old, with veteran partiers, as well as fresher faces enjoying club events and outdoor parties. Organix and Goa Trance Missions seem to have the lion’s share of the scene. They hold great events featuring international guests on a regular basis. There too you can find an event on almost any given weekend hosted by these two or the newer Spectral Kitties Collective, Liquid Sun Productions or Full Moon Medicine Gatherings.
Other areas in the country also have a scene of various sizes. The Nation’s capital, Ottawa has a scene which will get you a Ritual Night event every 2 weeks by the Alweezgrooven gang from fall to spring with a festival to top it all, as well as the extra party thrown in by Psyllabus or the FAK crew. Toronto holds its own with regular parties since the days of Why Not Wednesdays by Black Light Activists. They were taken over by Shakti Collective toward the end. These nights had a huge influence on helping the Toronto scene evolve with an extra boost from big headlining events by Shakti. Neuromantix, Organic Family, the Zodiac crew as well as the One Love Movement and Timewave Productions have their excellent respective events and Prog Monkey are bringing headliners from all over the world. Quebec City has a small scene kept alive by the troopers at Synergia and Team 140. Alberta has various events in Edmonton and Calgary and the ever excellent Astral Harvest Festival. Eastern Canada has a small scene, around Nova Scotia mostly.
Festival wise, you have plenty of choices. The biggest are on par with the smaller Europe festivals. Motion Notion, is a four day festival which used to be in Alberta but moved to British Columbia. An 8hr drive from Vancouver but with a stunning location once you make it. There you’ll find everything that tickles your fancy.
Shambhala is worth mentioning in BC but, unfortunately, they killed their trance stage. Eclipse Summer Electronic Festival happening in the Province of Quebec every 2 years on even years. This is a classic for the region that attracts people from all the spectrum of electronic music. Breathtaking deco and a sound to hear everything perfectly. Astral Harvest Music & Arts Festival in Alberta is, as they put it so nicely, “a feast for the senses.” Though these are the biggest ones, they are not, by any stretch, the only ones. Smaller festivals and outdoor events happen throughout late spring to early fall.
So come and check out Canada’ own brand of dancing freaks! The nicest and friendliest people you’ll ever meet, some of the most beautiful scenery, and just a great surprise to the world that’s just waiting to be discovered.
Text: Nathaniel Boulay aka Dj Symbolium (Full on Dj) Radio show host: Vibromassacre and Dj for United Beats Records https://www.facebook.com/djsymbolium
MOTION NOTION 2015 (www.motionnotion.com)
St-Jean Basstiste, Musique & Art Festival 2015
ALL STARS Festival 2015 (https://www.facebook.com/events/616724081788245/)
Astral Harvest Music & Arts Festival (http://www.astralharvest.com/)
Festival OpenMind 2015 (www.openmindfestival.com/en/)
WILD SUMMER FESTIVAL (https://www.facebook.com/events/416856175139509/)
TimeLess Festival 2015 (https://www.facebook.com/events/876184449060154/)
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