The 9th annual VELD Music Festival, presented by INK Entertainment, took place from Friday, July 29th to Sunday, July 31st at Downsview Park in Toronto, Canada. This year, the festival showcased over 45 internationally acclaimed Dance Music and Hip-Hop acts across three stages; the Main Stage, the Remy Martin Stage, and the Sirkus Stage.
The festival has become a Toronto staple over the years as it has brought notable acts to the city – such as Calvin Harris, Cardi B, Avicii, Migos, and Zedd. It was both surreal and amazing seeing the approximately 45,000 audience members gather in Downsview Park again this year (as the 2020 and 2021 editions of the event were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
It is also important to note that the organization of the festival this year was great. Specifically, (1) the three stages were spaced out with ample room for audience members to walk between them, (2) there were several free water stations and food vendors, and (3) there were sufficient medical staff members on-site to ensure that audience members remained safe. In addition to this, the entire festival was mapped out effectively as there was clear signage which informed the audience where everything was.
ADDICTED was lucky enough to be in attendance for all three days of the festival this year. Check out our coverage below:
VELD 2022 Day 1
On the first day of the festival, ADDICTED was able to catch Frank Walker, Tchami, Gryffin, Porter Robinson, and The Chainsmokers.
Frank Walker (Main Stage)
Canadian electronic musician and DJ Frank Walker performed an energetic set that had the audience dancing from start to finish. His music interestingly blends elements of EDM, Pop, and R&B which makes for a unique live music experience.
Tchami (Main Stage)
French record producer and DJ Tchami hyped up the audience with a Future House Music set. For those unfamiliar, Future House is a subgenre of House Music which aims to innovate the House genre by blending elements of Deep House Music, UK Garage, and other EDM subgenres. The audience greatly enjoyed this innovative sound as they were enthused throughout the entirety of Tchami’s set.
Gryffin (Main Stage)
American record producer and DJ Gryffin kept the high energy going with a set of catchy records. As he is known for remixing Pop hits and creating very melodic Dance Music, Gryffin’s live music exuded a certain joyful and carefree sound which lit up the audience. The standout moment from his set was the live rendition of his song Colors which had much of the Main Stage audience singing along.
Porter Robinson (Main Stage)
American DJ, record producer, musician, and singer Porter Robinson was the first Main Stage headliner of the night. Having released his second studio album Nurture in April 2021, nearly seven years after the release of his debut album Worlds, it was evident that fans were very eager to hear Porter Robinson’s new music live. Robinson was able to appease the eager audience with a very intricate and powerful performance. His intelligent use of vocal effects, live instruments, on-stage song alterations, and large on-screen visuals made for a stellar sonic and visual experience. Standout moments from his set included his live renditions of Look at the Sky, Something Comforting, and Shelter as these are all fan favourite songs.
The Chainsmokers (Main Stage)
American electronic DJ and production duo The Chainsmokers were the final headliner of Day 1. The duo consists of Alexander Pall and Andrew Taggart. Being the biggest artists performing on Day 1, they drew the biggest – and most excited – Day 1 crowd. They performed a very fun set that consisted of both live renditions of their own hits and EDM remixes of other Pop hits. The most impressive aspect of their performance was how well they incorporated theatrics and special effects into their set. Specifically, they coordinated large lighting displays and pyrotechnics with beat drops. This made for a very upbeat and fun experience. Ultimately, this performance was a great way to end off Day 1 as it left the crowd both satisfied and excited for what was yet to come.
VELD 2022 Day 2
On the second day of the festival, ADDICTED was able to catch SAINt JHN, Armin van Buuren, City Girls, and Marshmello.
SAINt JHN (Remy Martin Stage)
American rapper and singer SAINt JHN was the first Hip-Hop act that ADDICTED was able to catch at VELD. He delivered a stellar set at the Remy Martin stage. Throughout the entirety of his set, he exuded an unparalleled level of excitement that was immediately reciprocated by the audience. Furthermore, the audience rapped and sang along to SAINt JHN’s lyrics word-for-word which made the performance that much better.
Armin van Buuren (Main Stage)
Dutch record producer and DJ Armin van Buuren is one of the world’s biggest and most respected Dance Music artists. Accordingly, he delivered an exciting set full of EDM hits. His live performance of This is What it Feels Like was one of the best moments of the entire festival. It had the entire Main Stage audience in a trance-like movement, singing and harmonizing along to the infectiously catchy chorus.
City Girls (Remy Martin Stage)
American hip-hop duo City Girls were the final Remy Martin Stage headliner of Day 2. The duo consists of Yung Miami and JT. Unfortunately, only JT was able to perform on this night. However, she delivered a fun and enthusiastic performance which still greatly appeased the City Girls fans within the VELD 2022 audience. The highlight of JT’s performance was her level of audience interaction. On top of taking the time to frequently talk to the crowd and uplift their energy, she invited a few audience members to come on stage with her and take a photo. All of this showed that she genuinely cares about her fans and, consequently, it made her performance one that her fans will definitely not forget.
Marshmello (Main Stage)
American electronic music producer and DJ Marshmello was the final Main Stage headliner of Day 2. The combination of (1) his cartoonish, marshmallow-shaped mask, (2) his use of flashy, colourful lighting, and (3) confetti that shot from the stage, made this one of the most visually appealing performances of the entire festival. Sonically speaking, he performed a masterfully curated DJ set which contained both his own hits and remixes of other Pop and Hip-Hop hits. This had the VELD audience on their feet and dancing until the very end of Day 2.
VELD 2022 Day 3
On the third and final day of the festival, ADDICTED was able to catch Morray, KSHMR, Coi Leray, Jauz, and Polo G.
Morray (Remy Martin Stage)
American rapper and singer Morray lit up the Remy Martin stage with rich, soulful vocals. His excellent performance made it clear as to why he earned himself a spot on J. Cole’s sixth studio album The Off Season. His vocals – which sounded just as good as they do in his studio recordings – had the festival audience harmonizing and singing along.
KSHMR (Main Stage)
American songwriter, musician, and DJ KSHMR performed an exciting EDM set. Much of his music nods to his Indian roots which is a nice touch that makes his sound unique and interesting. This created a notable live music experience that Main Stage audience members greatly enjoyed.
Coi Leray (Remy Martin Stage)
American rapper and singer Coi Leray was a highly anticipated Hip-Hop act at this year’s VELD. Live, Leray successfully showcased her talents as both a rapper and singer. She did this by performing hard-hitting songs such as BIG PURR and effortlessly transitioning into more melodic songs such as No More Parties. Furthermore, she also livened up the Remy Martin Stage audience with her fun-loving, carefree, and cheery energy.
Jauz (Remy Martin Stage)
American EDM music producer and DJ Jauz treated the audience to a set of high-BPM EDM bangers. The energy – and trance-like movement of the audience during his set – was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Polo G (Remy Martin Stage)
American rapper Polo G was the Hip-Hop headliner on the final day of the festival. Being the largest Hip-Hop act performing at this year’s edition of VELD, he drew a very large and excited crowd to the Remy Martin stage. He performed a set full of songs that spanned his entire discography. Consequently, he performed something for every Polo G fan. The standout moment of this set was definitely his live rendition of his hit song Flex which features the late Juice WRLD. There was something amazing about hearing Polo G effortlessly rap his own verse and then subsequently rap Juice WRLD’s verse too. It was nice seeing him pay homage to Juice WRLD as the two artists were great friends and many Juice WRLD fans are Polo G fans and vice versa. Polo G also surprised the audience by bringing out Canadian rapper Tory Lanez to perform his hit song Broke in a Minute. This was a nice touch which pleasantly surprised the audience as they were absolutely elated when Tory hit the stage. Ultimately, for all the reasons above, Polo G did an excellent job at closing off this year’s edition of VELD.
If you happened to miss out on the 9th edition of VELD Music Festival – or are looking to relive a phenomenal music experience – INK Entertainment Group recently announced the dates for 2023! The festival returns to Downsview Park from Friday, August 4th, 2023 to Sunday, August 6th, 2023. General onsale is now open here.
The lineup will be announced early next year, however, fans can once again expect to see some of their favourite artists across Dance Music and Hip Hop. Talal Farisi – the Music Director at INK Entertainment Group – specifically mentioned that “we [INK Entertainment Group] are looking forward to making 2023 even bigger and better.” Accordingly, fans have much to look forward to next summer.