DJay at Bal en Blanc 20 in Montreal, Quebec. Twenty years ago, a small concert for fans of techno and underground electronic music started, where people could go in a legal environment. Last Easter, that small concert celebrated its 20th anniversary. Many famous names have played, including the legendary Tiesto. Easter night was no different. When I arrived, at around 11:30, the line-up in front was about a kilometer long, filled with people waiting to get in, and inside, music was blaring and the main arena was already quite full. It was shocking to see so many people all waiting to be there. After passing through airtight security, I walked into the middle ground of two Arenas. The show was setup in such a way that it could continuously have three different electronic genres playing – pretty much turning the show into a “Choose your own adventure” show! Fortunately for me, choosing my own adventure meant that I could pretty much navigate smoothly between the three rooms, seeing as each music producer had a rough 1-2 hour set allotted to them.
The show did belong to the music producers and for that, they definitely delivered. The headliners were the legendary Carl Cox and the newest star of the scene, Hardwell, and the Markus Schulz/Ferry Corsten duo New World Punx. The three acts delivered outstanding performances, each having sets spanning a whopping 4 hours, 2 hours, and 3 hours respectively. They were not the only ones who stole the show. Notably, Dannic was an overall crowd-favourite, opening the door for Hardwell. Before him was another big name, Carnage, playing a phenomenal two hour setlist. Finally, a special shoutout goes out to Montreal locals, Paris and Simo, who played a truly memorable set. Finally, two very noteworthy artists in the third arena were Omnia and Andrew Rayel. These two producers seemed to have the most fun performing. Omnia jumped up and down, and interacted with the crowd by lifting his hands up on numerous occasions, using engaging light shows and CO2 tanks. Andrew Rayel, on two separate occasions, used small fireworks, and got up on his tables to throw t-shirts and rile up the crowd. Definitely the two starts of the show, on a smaller scale, it seemed that the DJs in the third arena had the most fun and the most leeway.