Review: CONTACT Winter Music Festival at BC Place

Review: CONTACT Winter Music Festival at BC Place

With the bustle of Christmas barely out of people’s systems, music fans cooled off in the best ways this Boxing Day: getting their dance on. On Dec. 26 and 27, BC Place lit up for a two day party just as it has for the past half decade with the now perennial dance party CONTACT Winter Music Festival taking over the massive sports stadium in a bright, loud frenzy that served as the perfect comedown after a stressful holiday season.

Fans of dance music have come to expect big things from local promoters Blueprint Events. As the A-list go-to of EDM, dance, and overall party vibes, Blueprint have been establishing themselves for decades as the cream of the crop for Vancouver nightlife. CONTACT is next level, though. Fans from all over the Lower Mainland and beyond arrived by the masses for this holiday cornucopia of light, sound, and excitement.

The two day lineup did not disappoint, bringing international superstars and local up and comers alike.

Night one brought out the excitement early, as the first set time of 5:30pm brought early birds out for Los Angeles-based producer/DJ Falcons. An hour later, by the time follow up act Falcons hit the stage, the masses were already arriving for Vancouver’s own Ekali, whose set of old dance tracks and original material lit up the audience in a massive smile. Clearly, the hometown favourite was one audiences were looking forward to.

The biggest moment of day one was certainly a highlight for many in the crowd as Norwegian superstar Alan Walker arrived for his set. Walker has become a massive favourite internationally, working with everyone from Noah Cyrus and Sia to Avicii and Bruno Mars. Walker’s set served as an overview for new fans and a greatest hits package for those in the know, bringing out hits original bangers like “Alone”, “Faded”, and “Sing Me To Sleep” as well as collaborations like “Tired” and his Sia remix “Move Your Body”.

Walker looked legitimately pumped during his set, strutting his stuff on the decks and inspiring a fully engaged vibe that had the crowd at their peak excitement for the whole day.

Naturally, Walker was not the only element of day one at CONTACT that had the crowds in full on rager mode. Followed into the evening by Montreal based duo Adventure Club and the evening’s headliner Marshmello, the entire lineup was a flawless entry into Blueprint’s reputation as reputable party planners. Hearing Marshmello pull out massive bangers like “Silence” (his duet with singer Khalid) and “Alone” was a concert highlight of the year not just for EDM fans, but for anyone in the room witnessing just how loved and inspiring these tracks truly are.

But the fun didn’t stop there. Day two brought even more fans out, as the floor seemed even more packed with wall-to-wall EDM fans ready to light up the night. You’d think that this crowd would have been tired after a staggering six hours plus of dancing the night before, but on Day Two, the crowd was even more pumped than opening night.

Perhaps the lineup of the second evening brought the crowd, as all six acts seemed to build up the excitement in a cascade well into the evening.

After early sets by Henry Fong and Destructo, the excitement started really building when Cash Cash arrived to the massive stage, turning out huge dance vibes with strangers in the crowd exchanging arm candy and truly adhering to the PLUR lifestyle that so many ravers before them have lived by.

Follow up sets by Tchami and Carnage also lit up the evening, but nothing could compare to the festival closing act in the form of juggernaut DJ and international dance superhero, Dutch all star Armin Van Buuren. Easily one of the top ten EDM acts making music today (and maybe of all time), Van Buuren helped prove the answer: the best EDM music truly does come from Europe.

Van Buuren’s ninety minute set took the audience on a well constructed journey with lots of high energy bangers, and eventually cooling the crowd off in a slow, elaborate manner. Naturally, the crowd was taking in every last moment during his set and living to their full potential on the dance floor, getting every last drop of sweat and ounce of energy out of their system, allowing for a couple days of rest before New Year’s Eve.