As we shivered in the long winding line to enter the Contact Music Festival in Vancouver, BC on a chilly December evening among a sea of ravers dressed in black, we heard the rhythmic vibrations coming from inside the Vancouver Convention Center and a chatter of excitement. Having never been to the festival before, we went in without expectations.
Little did we know that by the end of the first night, we would be claiming that the festival experience was one of our favorites of the year, if not of all time.
Considering the numerous top-quality PNW events this year, we were blown away by the level of production and sound quality. Those paired with a stacked two-day lineup, the festival truly delivered on its promises.
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The festival’s relocation to the Vancouver Convention Center from the much larger BC Place proved successful, offering a more intimate yet explosive environment. The 2023 Contact Music Festival held on December 27 and 28 was truly the biggest and best New Year’s party in the region. This new chapter for the festival has set an elevated benchmark for production and operational excellence in the PNW festival and rave scene.
Lineup favorite Zedd dominates the first night
This year’s lineup boasted EDM favorites such as Zedd, Dabin, Mau P, Ship Wrek, Capozzi, and Vancouver-local Normie Corp on the first day, and the renowned masterminds Rezz, Troyboi, Disco Lines, Kyle Watson, Sabai, and Zeyda on the second day.
Capozzi warmed up the audience with her high-energy beats and vocal tracks, while Canadian producer and DJ Dabin tugged at heartstrings with his melodic and future bass. Mau P played his classic house bangers and had the crowd ready for all that Zedd’s two-hour set was about to bring.
Once Zedd took the stage, the crowd roared with cheers and belted the lyrics to his iconic bangers. The best part, however, was the hundreds of colorful lasers that lit up the room. It was out of this world. The lasers danced around the room at a crazy speed, matching the high-energy levels of the crowd.
You could not help but dance and sing your heart out with your friends to the nostalgic chart-toppers.
Day 2: Rezz and Troyboi swept away the PNW
Disco Lines and Kyle Watson warmed up the antsy crowd on the second day with their high-energy house grooves. Compared to the first day, the crowd was much smaller on the second day. This pleasantly offered much more space to dance and socialize with friends.
Troyboi was the perfect genre-blending lead-up to the headliner, featuring trap, bass, and house songs. His song Afterhours featuring Diplo and Nina Sky was a personal favorite. The whole crowd grooved to the global beats through the entire set.
Day 2’s highlight was unmistakable: Canadian legend Rezz had every person in the crowd in a hypnotic trance with her mesmerizing visuals and techno and bass-heavy tracks. The sinister music tone combined with eerie yet beautiful red lasers and lights entranced every raver. Rezz never disappoints. Her sets, no matter where they are, are guaranteed to be a highly curated and top-quality experience.
Her skillful incorporation of unreleased tracks added another level of excitement. She teased the audience with her unreleased collaborations with Subtronics, Blanke, Holly, and Illenium, and even a track from her upcoming album CAN YOU SEE ME?
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Contact Music Festival 2023 leaves us wanting more
We left the festival that night in awe of the music and production. The light design truly stole the show. The press area behind the light and sound table boasted the best seat in the room as lasers converged right at the eye-line. It was so heartwarming to see the light design team sit back and enjoy the show. They were visibly proud and satisfied with the breathtaking light show they had orchestrated.
The festival’s success was wider than just its musical offerings. Attendees appreciated the smooth operations, from the quick-moving drink lines and efficient security to the abundant water stations. Above all, the experience was as comfortable as it was exhilarating.
We will return next year, and we’re excited to see what acts Contact Music Festival will boast on its stellar lineup in 2024.
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