- Top 100
May 2, 2012
by Mark Bockstael
Earth, Water, Fire and Wind; the four classic elements behind the theme of the first ever Elements Music Festival in Edmonton, produced by Boodang Music and Connected Entertainment. Billed as the largest EDM music festival in Western Canada, this past weekend it’s doors opened up to over 8,000 music lovers over the two-day period. Inside the festival arena were four massive rooms, each one representing a different element with it’s own appropriate style of music.
The wind room hosted the concession stands, bars, photo booths and even an art gallery with a Banksy on display, located centrally to provide easy access from all rooms. The fire room played host to some of the more bass-heavy acts, such as Datsik, Showtek, Chase & Status and Pendulum. Sound and stage production for this room was provided by Canadian based PK Sound, who certainly delivered the bass that dubsteppers require. The stage itself literally looked like it was on fire, with engaging visuals that included a giant scary face that would morph into different shapes and taunt the crowd from behind the DJ booth. Photo by Desmond Chong.
The Water room appropriately featured DJs with a bit more ebb and flow to their sets, showcasing legendary trance DJ’s such as Marcus Schulz, Marco V and ATB. The entire stage, designed by Allstar Show Industries, was comprised of curving beams that showed visuals of water flowing in various patterns throughout the night. The room also had several miniature waterfalls by the front of house, and had massive white ornaments hanging form the roof that would glow different colors throughout the night, making it feel like Europe’s infamous Sensation White festivals. Oh, and did we mention they had lasers? Photo by Desmond Chong.
Last but certainly not least, the Earth room held some of the biggest acts in mainstream progressive and electro house, such as Calvin Harris, Sebastian Ingrosso, Wolfgang Gartner & A-trak. The production in this room was absolutely massive, with 300 video panels behind and around the DJ booth showing crazy visuals and, at some times, a live feed of the crowd to get everyone pumped up. On top of the massive light show, the room was also equipped with high-end lasers, confetti/streamer cannons, and C02 blasts saving a few big surprises for the headliner’s sets. Photo by Desmond Chong.
We sat down and picked the brain of Mark Planche, head of Allstar Show Industries and Boodang’s go-to production client for almost a decade. “It’s not just ‘I went to a show and saw a DJ’, you’re coming for the experience” Mark states “We want to give the best product back to the customer. You want to have some value for money, where else do you get to see world class DJs in Edmonton, there’s people that travel from all over the province to come here and watch. Even the production managers that tour with the artists are amazed by what Edmonton delivers, what you see at Elements is what you’d see at any major festival”
Mark than began to get into some of the technical elements that went into making the show a festival-worthy production, emphasizing over sixty 4000 Watt speakers in the Earth room alone, stating that the entire festival draws more energy than 80 households. He explained the major co-ordination that was required with the fire marshals in order to light off the fireworks in the main room, being allowed to shut off the fire alarms for only a tight 15 minute window. Planche also revealed that from the control center they have a close-up view of the DJ, which allows the light technicians to feed off his energy and provide a light show in sync with how the DJ is performing. Photo credit below, Montography.
He also went on to state the importance of his technicians knowing the music “It helps to know the tracks, music is music, whether its Rock, Country, it’s all got beats. With electronic music you have to understand that there’s buildups and drops. You can have a really good DJ who has never played electronic music before, ya they could play the same tracks but the delivery is not the same.” He also states the coordination required with the DJ’s production managers: “Usually we have a little pow wow, ‘these songs are where we want to use these effects’.” So that the production team knows something extra is necessary to suit how the crowd is feeling when Ingrosso plays “Calling” or when Calvin throws down “We Found Love”
As Planche explained, it’s clear that the DJs up on the stages aren’t the only artists present at this show. With stunning visuals, lights and multiple extra features that can be witnessed only at a show of this size, the Allstar Show production team showed Edmonton how to throw the biggest party its ever seen.
One act that stood out for us in particular was that from a special trance duo hailing from Germany, still touring off their recently successful ‘Wake Your Mind’ Album. Cosmic Gate threw down an engaging set that had the Water room chanting their name on the very first night of elements. The biggest highlight of their set would obviously be when they brought out the incredibly talented Australian, Emma Hewitt, to sing several tracks live for the audience, starting with ‘Not Enough Time’ and ‘Be Your Sound’. She would return to the stage later to perform ‘Calm Down’ and ‘Colours (Armin Van Buuren)’ before singing her own freestyle rendition of Above & Beyond’s ‘Sun & Moon’, the perfect way to finish off her part. I cannot really emphasize enough how amazing this part was, definitely something you can only experience in person. Photo by Desmond Chong.
We were lucky enough to catch up with the two men behind Cosmic Gate, Nic Chagall & Stefan Bossems, just after their set where they told us more about Emma and some of their upcoming shows.
Elements is one of many brand new music festivals debuting this summer in Canada, what are your thoughts on this sudden massive emergence? Are there shows any in particular that your excited to play for?
Stefan: You guys in North America are really top notch these days
Nic: It’s the place to be right now. In North America we’re playing EDC for the Las Vegas edition and the New York edition for the first time this year I think. In Europe we’re playing Global Gathering, which is in the UK and also in Ukraine.
Stefan: Global Gathering has several countries that they play but there is actually so many festivals that really, like, it shows that, ya, simply electronic music is ruling the charts, the clubs and ya, we’ve been working for this for so many years and, you know, it finally happened.
Nic: It’s good, there’s kind of the commercial scene for electronic music right now but there’s also the more underground, more clubby scene, so its really good times for electronic music right now.
Your collaborations and live performances with Emma Hewitt have been received very well this year. How did you start working with her and how did it get to where it is now?
Stefan: Actually Emma started years before more in the independent rock scene, she did one dance track that we heard and we said ‘Wow’, this really could fit good with what we do and we contacted her and wrote some music for her and she liked it and ya that’s how the story started… You hear someone, you contact someone, and hopefully it fits and the chemistry between her and us on business/professional and private side really amazing and, ya sure, there’s more to come.
How does she contribute to your live shows?
Nic: I think it’s like a give and take, so of course it gives a lot more impact and makes the show much more interesting for the people to because she is singing live, they see her, and they see that she can actually sing and not just in the studio, she is such a good singer. But also for her, I think it’s a give and take, we bring her tour dates, she’s making the show bigger, so it’s a good relation we have right now.
So do you have any upcoming residencies in Ibiza, Vegas etc. this summer?
Stefan: Ya we’ve actually played in Vegas already since last year for Marquee and we’re gonna play 10 to 12 shows for Marquee and Lavo Tao, so for the Tao group. And Ibiza, it’s unfortunately a few days too early to talk about it but there is an exclusive deal that we’re going to sign. We’re going to be flying up and down between the US and Europe in the Summer, especially Ibiza, and ya…looking forward to the Summer period!
Any big collaborations in the works or originals/remixes that your excited about? Anything you can share with us?
Stefan: Well sharing is caring but, unfortunately we can’t care today, but there is a lot of care coming in the future if this sais it all.
Many thanks to Stefan and Nic for sitting with us!! We’re stoked to hear more about your summer schedule and your Ibiza residency!
As for the rest of the show, well.. it would be tough for me to recount 2 days, 4 rooms and 30 headliners in an article of reasonable length.. if you were there, I would love to hear about your highlight of the weekend in the comments section below (must be signed into facebook). For those who weren’t there, you MUST experience an EDM show of this scale.. it is a surreal experience to be dancing with thousands of like-minded people who are all there for the music, it just doesn’t get much better than Elements. See you in 2013! Photo credit below, Montography.