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Though it may seem like house and bass music are the most recent craze to draw people into the dance music community, trance remains one of the long-standing genres with steady growth around the world. A key facet to the rave scene for over 30 years, fans are captivated by the traits that characterize the genre; harmonious melodies, soaring vocals and a distinct musical form that lulls listeneres into an almost hypnotic state.
Ringing in the summer with the first of it’s kind, Electric Escape is hosting U4RIA Festival; Canada’s first two-day trance festival. Held over the first weekend of June, attendees will be treated to an abundance of trance newcomers and fan-favorites at the Toronto Event Centre, conveniently located just outside the downtown sphere.
Planned with care and the attendees’ comfort at the forefront, U4RIA offers three stages, indoor/outdoor access and an outdoor pool bar to top the weekend off. With over 30+ international and local artists in each realm of the trance genre, fans will be treated to the likes of Astrix, MaRLo, and John O’ Callaghan over the weekend.
Dancing Astronaut spoke with Stanley Ho, the festival founder to learn about how U4RIA stands out from other nation-wide events, and his thoughts on the growth of the trance scene vs. the currently prominent bass scene:
What does U4RIA do to stand out from the surrounding Canadian festivals and events?
U4RIA is an all-trance music festival. It’s not a typical mixed-genre event as it was curated to focus on one specific genre only and also to show the world how great Canada’s trance community is. We have assembled the most sought-after artists that you typically won’t see at every major festival in Canada, but that you would find at marquee global trance events like Transmission and Dreamstate Luminosity. Trance is making its mark again across the globe and U4RIA hopes to establish itself as Canada’s leading trance festival, which is not to be missed.
How have you seen the trance scene evolve over the last five years, and how does it differ from the currently reigning bass phase?
The trance scene has always been around amongst trance purists and such, however, this time it is making its return to the main stage and mainstream crowd and it still has a lot of growth potential to come. As an event producer from Canada’s west coast for over 19+ years, I have seen the scene evolve across our nation. The bass and trance scene used to go head to head in the 2000s in terms of popularity. Trance was predominantly the top genre in electronic music until around 2010 across the globe. However, the North American scene was still pretty much underground until 2009-10. Inspiring artists were looking for a sound to break into mainstream pop and radio channels in North America. Just as trance was starting to break into the mainstream, along came house music which many will also classify as that acronym we all love to hate: EDM. With a flair of feel good sounds, catchy pop vocals, and hot trance synths, draped over heavy bass drops and electrifying dancefloor anthems, a clear winner was born. Electro house, bass house, future house, G-house, big room house and progressive house had a strong grasp of the global dance music scene from 2010 onwards and showed no signs slowing down. Amidst this time, many trance listeners tastes evolved and grew into the new house music sound as it became more and more mainstream. Keep in mind this was music could be heard on the radio while driving to work or while you’re at the gym, or even at top 40 bars and nightclubs that once only played radio-friendly pop music. Safe to say, EDM and all of the house music sub-genres associated with it was everywhere and could not be avoided. As listeners of this EDM-infused house music continued to evolve, many were looking for music with a bit more depth and meaning. They craved compositions which had multiple levels to them and were much more than a catchy chorus combined with an epic drop. Many found themselves gravitating back to trance through artists like Above & Beyond, Armin van Buuren, Andrew Rayel who’ve done a fantastic job at making trancey-house music aka. trouse, and bringing it to the main stage in settings like Ultra Music Festival, Tomorrowland and EDC. The 138 bpm scene of uplifting trance, vocal trance, tech trance and even progressive and full-on psy trance also continued to grow aggressively and exponentially with even more events like Dreamstate, Transmission, and A State of Trance being held on a global scale. While the reigning bass scene has always been around, their sound also evolved from the heavy drum and bass to a having a much more listener-friendly vibe which appealed to the masses. In general, trance and bass are not much different globally in terms of evolution over the past 5 years. Both sounds are digital/electronic and the beauty is there is no language barrier for either. The only difference between both genres popularity depends on the event producers in your area. It takes event producers a lot of time, commitment, dedication and funding to push a genre to mainstream. However, I will cut this short as I could keep on going for hours on this topic so I’ll get to the point. U4RIA will be an event to showcase some of the world’s finest trance artists that you may not have heard of before, but you will surely not be disappointed by. Come with an open mind and let us take everyone on a journey into trance.
One day and weekend passes are available for purchase online.