Photo Credit: AIM Electronic Music Festival Facebook
Written by: Rebecca Hollman
AIM– Art, Innovation, Movement. These three words inspire the basis for the AIM Music Festival in Quebec, Canada. AIM is a 3-day camping festival located on the outskirts of Montreal- about an hour and a half from the city. Known for being a traditionally house and techno festival, this year AIM expanded its lineup with a wide array of house, techno, trance and dubstep artists. Check out photos and a break down of the festival stage by stage below.
The main stage for the weekend, the AIM stage hosted a wide range of DJs over the course of the weekend and started off the weekend Friday at 4pm with Sergio Pari. Friday at the AIM stage was mostly house and featured the likes of Philip White, Maus, Way Out West, Digitalism, James Zabiela and finished off with the Birdman himself- Claude VonStroke.
The day started off a bit quiet, as most people were still arriving and setting up their campsites until early evening. But by the time Digitalism and then Claude were playing, the AIM stage was packed. Claude played an amazing deep tech house set, and by then everyone was at the festival and ready to vibe out. It also happened to be Claude’s birthday that night, and a nice finishing touch for the night was the crowd singing Happy Birthday back to Claude.
The Bass Camp kicked off on Friday at 4pm with a set from Ludo. As the name implies, the Bass Camp stage was packed with heavy bass, dubstep, and experimental bass DJs all weekend. Friday included the artists Ludo, Infekt, Dodge & Fuski, Dack Janiels, Lumberjvck, Barely Alive, Virtual Riot and Dubloadz. Two highlights from this stage were Barely Alive and Virtual Riot. Virtual Riot always plays a heavy riddim set and there’s something about riddim that just makes me feel a certain way. Virtual Riot had everyone in the crowd feeling a certain way- headbanging, moshing and just going hard as f***. Unfortunately, the sound at this stage just couldn’t quite handle the bass of the acts that were playing on it. This made sets that are all about the bass a little lackluster due to the sound system.
Although there were only two sets on the Trance Arena on Friday, the Trance Arena was really going off. Tomac played from 4-7pm, followed by Ben Gold from 7pm-1am. Despite playing a 6 hour set, Ben Gold kept the energy high and vibes strong all the way into the night with a mix of trance and psytrance. Apparently, Quebecans like their psytrance because people at this stage were really, really getting into it- shirtless, glo sticks and everything.
Saturday was definitely the peak day for AIM Festival. With music going none stop through the night and starting bright and early at noon, Saturday was packed full of amazing music. The AIM Stage was packed full of house and techno until 6am, with artists like Alex Pycke, Mike Laz, Atroxx, Carlo Lio, Jay Lumen, Gaiser, Sasha, Dubfire, and Danny Tenaglia. This stage was my favorite stage all weekend and in my opinion, had the best sound, production, and lineup. Sasha and Dubfire really made this stage on Saturday with their minimal techno sets. Even though the music was great, the dust at this stage (and most stages) got pretty bad from all the dancing and stomping. I had to break out a bandana and still ended up breathing in a lot of dust over the course of the weekend.
Stacked! What a lineup Saturday at the Bass Camp boasted. Starting at noon, the Bass Camp featured sets from Crack a Ho, KTRL, CYMN, The W4rriors, HEKLER, Spock, Ricky Remedy, Trollphace, Space Jesus, Midnight Tyrannosaurus, Bonnie x Clyde, Mike Cervello and Junkie Kid. I was a huge fan the sets from HEKLER and Space Jesus. HEKLER is an up-and-coming artist that produces extremely heavy and extremely weird bass lines that create an amazing, dark and unique combination. Space Jesus always throws down great sets and AIM was no different. Known for making “space bass” or “alien bass” as I like to call it, Space Jesus played a trippy and experimental set.
Saturday was clearly the most packed day for music- with all stages having a full day’s lineup. The Trance Arena featured a full day of simply amazing trance artists. The lineup included Simply City, Jody Wisternoff, Grum, Ruben de Ronde, Stoneface & Terminal, David Gravell, Orjan Nilsen (see our artist interview with Orjan Nilsen and his set at AIM here), Emma Hewitt, Aly & Fila and Ferry Tayle (Ferry Corsten). With music starting at noon and ending at 6am, it really was a solid day packed full of trance. The day included sets of classic old-school vibe trance like Aly & Fila, Orjan Nilsen and Stoneface & Terminal, and also more new-school minimal deep house/trance sets like Grum and Jody Wisternoff.
The Multi Culti stage was only around one day of the three-day festival- but ran for 24 hours non-stop. The stage hosted Dreems, Cave Paintings, Bamboozle (Eli from Soul Clap), Von Party, Nicola Cruz, Inigo Vontier, and Drugface, as well as some b2b sets from the names listed above. This was a small stage located pretty far away from the rest of the festival, but it brought a unique trippy, experimental and tribal vibe. The DJs and sounds from this stage were quite different from the rest of the stages and so it really stood apart. Music went from noon on Saturday all the way until noon on Sunday and so there was music, at least at this stage, all hours of the night on Saturday.
Another stage that only ran on Saturday, the Monolithes stage was set in the middle of an art sculpture of large block structures. It almost reminded me of a mini Stonehenge. It was also located at the top of a little grassy hill and had no shade structure, so it got pretty dang hot. The weather on Saturday and Sunday got extremely hot during the day. Music at Monolithes went from noon to 6am on Saturday night. The artists on Monolithes were Michael Terzian, Miguel Graca, Alain Vinet, David Penn, Ultra Nate, Quentin Harris, Amine Edge & DANCE, Kenny Dope and Roger Sanchez.
Sunday on the AIM Stage was a full day of minimal techno and deep house. Curated by All Day I Dream, the AIM Stage featured All Day I Dream artists like Hoj, Lee Burridge, Sebastien Leger and Oana Dahl. They completely changed the stage setup and the decor for this day to go with the flowery, Eastern vibe of All Day I Dream. The stage was covered in hanging flowers, ornately designed lattices, Chinese paper lanterns and colorful silks. The vibe on this stage on Sunday was my absolute favorite, with music going from 1:30pm to 9pm and full of funky, deep and progressive house beats.
After ending at 6am on Saturday night, the Bass Camp was up and running again by noon on Sunday. After a stacked lineup Saturday, Sunday was going to have some tough competition. But with names like Seb Tender, Frozen, Ronin, Jackal, Ray Volpe, Figure, Kill the Noise and AFK b2b Sudden Death, Sunday really held its own. The b2b AFK and Sudden Death set wrapped up the day at 9pm with a heavy banger set, that gave a final heavy goodbye to the festival.
The Trance Arena finished out Sunday with a day of trance and psytrance interlaced together. Starting at noon with DJ Ross and finishing at 9pm with Shugz, the Trance Arena finished off with a bang. Besides DJ Ross and Shugz, the stage hosted Karl-K-Otik, Cold Blue, Solarstone, John O’Callaghan and Giuseppe Ottaviani. The Trance Arena had a high energy vibe, good sound and hype crowd all weekend.
Besides a few small hiccups, like the bus situation from the parking lot to the campsite and the dust, AIM is a nice, small festival in a beautiful area of Quebec that featured an incredibly stacked lineup this year. I think the Quebec EDM scene is pretty intimate, and I noticed that a lot of people knew everyone there and this made the crowd and festival extremely intimate. I hope everyone had an amazing time at AIM Festival this year because I sure did! Keep your eyes on the lookout for an AIM 2019 announcement, and also get pumped for more festivals coming up in Montreal- including IleSoniq and Graduation Fest.