All Photos: Vi Photographie for This is HERD
The debut edition of Montréal's AIM Festival has come and gone with plenty to get the ravers ravin'! The party, the first in the region to (legally) run live music in the wild for 32 hours straight, was situated at the lakeside, forested locale of Parc Carillon in St. Andre D'Argenteuil. With months of hype and speculation in the lead up to the throwdown, expectations were high and justly so, based on a stellar underground line-up (Tiga, Kevin Saunderson, Kerri Chandler, The Martinez Brothers...) and the promise of an experience unlike any other currently offered in the province of Quebec.
From the offset, however, the odds were stacked against the Montreal newbies as AIM was competing with well-established organisations; Escapade in Ottawa and Digital Dreams in Toronto, albeit, the rivals presented a more big room EDM-focused offering.
Additionally, Mother Nature was in no mood to satisfy attendees, which made for less than ideal dancing conditions! Both factors proved a challenge throughout the festivities, as numbers were certainly lower than expected and harsh winds and showers saw stages dwindle intermittently during the weekend.
Despite these inconveniences, AIM managed to swing the balance through its exemplary organisation and attention to detail. The location was impeccable, picturesque and well thought out. Three well-scaled, strongly curated stages offered plentiful choice to revelers, while attention was clearly given to sound quality, something that was always going to be of paramount importance for a crowd that was clearly well versed in the ways of the underground and on the artists, which inhabit it.
The efforts of the AIM crew were duly noted by those in attendance and matched with unparalleled enthusiasm by a large bunch of dedicated music lovers, who's passion never faltered even in the wee hours as it poured. Their energy was indicative of the soul that supports the body of AIM Festival. It's an event custom-built for those looking to delve further into the outer realms of electronic music and its commitment to the cause was revered by much of Montréal's local scene, the artists and attendees alike. With such passion and support behind the event, one can be sure it will be capable of finding its feet over the years to come.
Looking back on the weekends shenanigans, there are some clear winners from the first outing of AIM Festival...
5. The Local Talent
Montréal's finest came up trumps at AIM. Nymra & Sofisticated set a fiery tone on Saturday afternoon with some exquisite deep cuts while Mike Larry further enhanced his reputation Sunday afternoon leading a legion of eager followers with his distinct Techno blend and great consistency in the quality of his track selection. Shoutout to Turbo's Forrest also, his unique performance had the second stage hoppin' before storm warnings got in the way.
4. The Set-up
The production behind the festival was top quality. Extraordinary VJ work was a particular highlight, fueling the party into the early hours as monstrous visions and mind-boggling shapeshifters were splattered along the towering monoliths, creating a 360 experience that is essential to any innovative festival vibe.
3. Jamie XX
Raw and uncut, Jamie XX displayed awesome skills behind the decks. Undeterred by the rain and smaller than expected crowd, he left his mark on the festival like a true head-liner; clinical professionalism from the funk & soul doctor. If he's set to visit a festival near you, don't miss it.
2. The Multi Culti Stage
The Multi Culti stage (the smallest and most eye-catching of the three) provided a refreshing outlet throughout the weekend. The jungle-like enclosure was led by master and commander Thomas Von Party (Turbo Recordings), who was joined by a motley crew of audacious spinners including the likes of Axel Boman and Dreems. Pachanga Boys closed out the stage on Sunday as a small army of relentless, ice-cream wielding warriors danced to the final beat.
1. The City of Montréal
On the grand scale of things, the bigger winner here is the City and people of Montréal. AIM Festival is an experience that a buddy scene liking MTL is crying out for. There is a symbiotic relationship between the electronic music in Montréal and the festival itself. The successful of each will be mutually beneficial. AIM provides a crucial stomping ground for local artists to both push on to the next level and to connect with the crowds brought to the dance-floor by the big names in House & Techno.