Escapade Festival 2023 Review

Amplifying Beats, Embracing Diversity, and Igniting Spirits.

Mason Moeller

6/26/20233 min read

At the heart of every music festival is its lineup, a well-curated blend of talent that sets the tone and drives the energy of the entire event. At Escapade 2023, this selection was masterfully executed, as it offered a staggering array of some of the finest names in the electronic music industry. The eclectic mix of performers, ranging from seasoned maestros to rising stars, delivered an auditory experience that transcended genre boundaries and expectations.

The inclusion of titans like Afrojack, Tiesto, and Deadmau5 provided a sense of nostalgia, reminding attendees of the power and timeless appeal of these pioneers. Afrojack's set was particularly memorable, his adept manipulation of rhythm and melody resulting in an exhilarating fusion of energetic beats. Similarly, Tiesto's performance was a vibrant medley of his classic anthems and newer hits, each track a testament to his enduring influence on the genre.

Among the new wave of performers, Elephante and Whipped Cream made remarkable impressions. Elephante's set was a melodic journey, interweaving elements of pop, rock, and electronic music into a compelling tapestry of sound. On the other hand, Whipped Cream enthralled the audience with her fierce, bass-heavy set, demonstrating why she is quickly becoming one of the most exciting figures in the trap and bass scene.

The festival also made space for artists who push the boundaries of electronic music. Infected Mushroom brought their signature psytrance sound, melding complex, layered melodies with thumping basslines in a set that was both musically innovative and dance-inducing. Meanwhile, Rezz brought her unique brand of hypnotic, spacey electronic beats, captivating the crowd with her brooding, immersive soundscapes.

The house genre was well represented with the likes of Nora En Pure, Will Sparks, Chris Lake, and Oliver Heldens. Nora En Pure's set was a testament to the more soulful, deep house genre. Her melodic compositions, paired with an ethereal presence on stage, provided a refreshing mid-festival breather. Oliver Heldens and Chris Lake injected the festival with bursts of high-energy future house and tech-house respectively, their infectious rhythms compelling even the most tired feet to dance.

The festival's extensive roster also encompassed heavier genres. Excision's high-octane performance delivered the kind of headbanging dubstep that festival-goers crave, while Subtronics and Marauda stirred up the crowd with their bass-heavy sets.

A delightful surprise came in the form of Zedd, whose vibrant mix of electro-house and pop music was a highlight of the festival. The set was so intense he even blew up the speakers at one point! The technicians were on point and seconds later everything was back to normal. Marshmello closed the festival on a high note. His performance, filled with grand visual effects, catchy tunes, and an infectiously positive energy, served as a fitting end to a remarkable festival.

Despite the many highs of Escapade 2023, there were some unfortunate hiccups. Sunday's shows began notably later due to poor air quality resulting from forest fires in Quebec. This unexpected delay was an undeniable inconvenience, causing some frustration among festival-goers. Additionally, it's clear that the festival is beginning to outgrow its current location. With the increased attendance and expanded activities, space was at a premium, leading to congested areas and an overall sense of overcrowding at times. Lastly, the nightlife scene and afterparties, a quintessential part of any music festival experience, seemed lackluster compared to other festivals. While the daytime offered a feast of music and interactive experiences, the options for extending the party into the night felt somewhat limited and underwhelming. These shortcomings, while not entirely marring the festival, do highlight areas that need improvement for future iterations.

In conclusion, Escapade 2023 was a testament to the power of music, a jubilant celebration of diversity and community, and a shining example of what music festivals in the 21st century can aspire to be. The festival took us on a journey – not just through the realms of electronic music, but through an experience that connected us with our deeper selves and the world around us. It was a weekend of music, connection, and celebration that will echo in the minds of attendees for years to come. The city of Ottawa can be proud; Escapade 2023 was a tour de force.