Review & Photos: FVDED In The Park at Holland Park

Review & Photos: FVDED In The Park at Holland Park

Surrey doesn’t exactly seem like the ultimate music festival destination, but don’t let its reputation and distance from the downtown core discourage you. For the past several years surrounding Canada Day long weekend, Holland Park has turned into the hotspot for dance and rap music as a mini mecca for partygoers everywhere.It also turns out that, for those willing to board the SkyTrain for half an hour, a bountiful reward of music and party vibes awaits at the end of the line.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

For the uninitiated, this is FVDED In The Park. FVDED has become an annual EDM/hip-hop festival that takes over the area near King George SkyTrain Station in an attempt to basically offer festival goers a mild version of one of those big desert raves. Consider it EDC Lite.

So far, it seems to be not only working, but excelling. Over two days, fans show up in droves wearing anything and everything from pasties to party dresses, sharing the love of music and dance in a big, colourful cacophony. The past few years have features heavy hitter headliners that have defined the genres they come from, including DeadMau5, The Weeknd, and Zedd. This year, promoters turned up the stakes with huge headliners, an exciting cornucopia of sub genres, and plenty of party vibes for whatever flavour choices one may partake in.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

But FVDED is more than just a couple of stages with loud music. In amongst sponsored booths ranging from bourbon to e-cigarettes, food trucks and the beer gardens, three separate stages feature both up and coming artists and A-listers from EDM and hip-hop genres. Over the course of half a decade, FVDED has quickly become the don’t miss event in the Lower Mainland to cap off the summer. This year, passes sold out thanks to the event’s exciting reputation and a slew of killer artists on the bill. It’s also a feast for the senses.

FVDED is the people watching capital of the Lower Mainland this time of year, also providing a visual scope that matches the intense musical offerings that soundtrack the party.

For those willing to show up from the get go, there was over nine hours’ worth of entertainment, filling each of the festival’s three stages up with exciting, memorable performances. On day one, the variety was plentiful, including Toronto’s favourite jazz/hip-hop art ensemble BADBADNOTGOOD at the Northwest Stage, masked house DJ Claptone holding the beat down at the more intimate FVDED Lab locale, and LA rapper Ty Dolla $ign keeping the main Pacific Stage warm for its evening headliners.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

On the evening of the first day, the daytime festivities was finished off with a performance by hip-hop contemporary classic Wiz Khalifa. Khalifa’s set was the perfect way to cap off an evening of frivolity, indulgence, and merriment. Performing a slew of old favourites (“Black and Yellow”, “Roll Up”), collaborations he’s done with other artists (“Payphone”, “See You Again”, “23”), and even a few covers (like Day Two headliners The Chainsmokers’ “Closer”), Khalifa’s set was a colourful array that celebrated music, partying, and focusing on the positive.

Earlier in the night, Los Angeles DJ Dillon Francis stole the evening as a fan favourite, showing up to the Pacific Stage in a Vancouver Canucks jersey and raising the bar for high octane EDM as the crowd surround the stage built immensely. Francis’ set leaned heavily on the electrohouse and trap nuances he’s known for, building layered intensities on pre-existing hits by the likes of Missy Elliott, Rihanna, and Snoop Dogg. Naturally, Francis has hits of his own to splice into his set, and tracks like “Candy” and “Anywhere” had the entire field full of excited, chaotic dancing.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Saturday’s festivities somehow managed to make even more of an impact as the Holland Park crowd seemed to burst at the seams. Mid-day heat couldn’t stop fans from hanging on for late night sets from headliners such as  PARTYNEXTDOOR and The Chainsmokers. But long before the night closed out, fans showed up to see what the bubbling under and emerging artists had to show for themselves.

Earlier in the day, earlybirds were treated to fun, summer vibe-ready sets from a wild variety of artists. The FVDED Lab saw perhaps the most diverse smattering, including Vancouver R&B artist Harrison Brome, edgy producer Kempeh, and Swiss deep house star Nora En Pure. the likes of and Amsterdam DJ duo Yellow Claw, turning out some of the sickest sounds all weekend.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

The evening was finished off with a one-two punch by none other than Mississauga, Ontario rapper/producer PARTYNEXTDOOR, who actually brought the vibe to a cool saunter with some downtempo R&B vibes that perfectly matched the neon palm trees that adorned the screens during his set.

Just as PARTYNEXTDOOR was driving the crowd into an early cool down, the party was ramped right up by NYC EDM powerhouse duo The Chainsmokers.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

To say the crowd bloated at the seams during The Chainsmokers’ set would be a sore understatement. The instensity of the crowd was immense, spanning through every visible crevice in sight as The Chainsmokers crafted and executed the perfect finale for the whole festival. Over 90 minutes, Drew Taggart and Alex Pall threw in nearly every massive, chart-topping single they’ve created (“Closer”, “Roses”, “Don’t Let Me Down”) as well as mixing in a wide variety of other artists in the most pristine way that only quality DJs can pull off.

It might sound odd that they were able to utilize tracks like Papa Roach’s “Last Resort”, Panic! At The Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, and Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life”, but each track seamlessly melted into their set like a perfect puzzle piece. This is a band that has no problem inserting random, oddball choices into their set, ranging from The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life” to Coldplay’s “Yellow”. Hey, it worked.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Naturally, The Chainsmokers’ recent sonic flair is Taggart’s addition of his own vocals on the band’s singles, which actually created some welcomed depth to the set, like when he sang “Break Up Every Night” and “Paris”. Seeing Taggart swagger around the front of the stage adding more of a twist on the typical DJ stage presentation, but even without this addition, The Chainsmokers have no trouble wowing their crowd with pyrotechnics, fireworks, and video art in addition to the killer tunes they spin.

And just after 11:00pm, like Cinderella running to her coach, Holland Park poured out back to King George Station, that much more #inspired, #lit, #blessed, and, well, #fvded. Until next year, that is.

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman

Photography by Melissa Dex Guzman