Canada Day long weekend presents most working people with the glorious opportunity to do the one thing we dream about the summertime, in the coldest winter months - to take a fucking break. This would usually include a vacation to another country or an extended drive to a rural, wooded area. Some are really attached to the idea of being in this country’s largest city with all these other people to share in the downtown spectacle of the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada; attending the many events; oddly highlighted by a six storey rubber ducky floating on Lake Ontario. The point is that people are different and have various ways of alleviating the anxiety of daily life. And Electric Island offered a seemingly unlikely respite from many stress points in one loud, heavily attended festival at The Portlands.
Electric Island was a place of release this weekend as easily told by the smiling faces, polite gestures, and non-stop dancing. The repetitive, yet syncopated nature of most techno music eventually will get you to dance but most importantly, it gets you to relax. Minimal and Progressive Techno can almost wash over you as white noise amongst all the beautiful women and few shirtless men if not punctuated by the drops, which gets the crowd’s hands in the air. As per studies in Psychotherapy, white noise has an anti-anxiety effect, with a release of endorphins that make you feel good, if not great. It was almost like being in that utopian society in the 1976 cult classic, Logan’s Run, where everyone was young, good-looking and having fun without incident.
On the main stage, Richie Hawtin and Maceo Plex both held a mass of people some 2000 deep from the stage to the back in an attentive trance like Morpheus giving a speech in Zion. This is not hyperbole. Engaging with the patrons during their set was very fluid and ‘super chill’ and everyone vacillated seamlessly between the music and each other. It was as though their mandates were not similar but the exact same; and it wasn’t long before everyone followed suit into just feeling the music and enjoying the final break from the rainfall earlier. Everything else technically, from a patron standpoint, seemed to fall in line with the same ease; from the short waits at the bar, the numerous food trucks lined at the back and the respectful staff and security. Was the music/vibe doing this to everybody? I caught security dancing a couple times.
I ultimately became grateful for having gone, while being extremely worried about having to go; (and I actually like Minimal Techno). The diverse cross-section of people, which ethnically can only be described as an Olympic parade, were actually stereotypically Canadian which was quite fitting for the day. Regardless of what you perceived in them, more than half of them would meet your gaze with an easy smile. It seemed as though Electric Island was uniquely suited for Canada’s birthday to give everyone repose into the tranquility of Techno music.
words: Taboo Patterson
photos: Kurran Reid