Written and Photographed by Fatima Hasan
Featured Photo: G-REX by Fatima Hasan
Nestled about three hours west of Montreal, Valhalla Sound Circus celebrated its 8th edition in a new, remote location in Chemin Jingletown, Quebec. After attending this event for the first time, all I can say is dubstep and bass music have successfully made their mark on the electronic music culture of Canada.
As we arrived to the festival on Friday afternoon, we were greeted by enthusiastic attendees who were ready to get their head-bang on all weekend long! Through my interactions with fellow festival-goers, I realized how similar the bass music culture is compared to the United States. Interestingly, almost everyone at Valhalla spoke French! However, it became apparent to me quite quickly that most people spoke enough English to get by too. I’ve never attended a festival out of the country before, so this was really cool and impressive to experience.
What really drew our attention to Valhalla this year was its heavy-hitting lineup. Festival organizers brought out talent like Space Jesus, EPROM, Kompany, Yheti, Spades, Shlump, Dubloadz, Pigeon Hole, Ternion Sound, Zeke Beats, Digital Ethos, and many, many more. We had a chance to see most of our favorite artists on the lineup and I was absolutely thrilled to witness each and every one of them totally rock their set.
In addition to the top-tier talent invited to play Valhalla, the sound, design, and production quality of each stage was excellent. Something that makes Valhalla special is the attention paid to making every stage unique by pairing it with an exciting theme too. I felt immersed into the forest around me while at the main stage, otherwise known as the Thunder Ground. One of my favorite aspects about this stage was the amazing light projections displayed on it during nighttime performances. Additionally, Drakkar, which was probably our favorite spot of the weekend, was built to look like a ship at sea. The Hive was also such a great area to hang out at during the day, it was so convenient to listen to music while soaking up some sun while taking a dip in the lake! Without a doubt, festival organizers put forth effort to design the Thunder Ground, Drakkar, and Hive to be intimate areas that help complete the wild environment of Valhalla.
As we explored the festival and all it had to offer, we understood why it’s referred to as a Sound Circus. Since we camped in RV 1, we were very close to the main festival entrance. This meant we were close to the party at all times! Even when we attempted to go to sleep late at night, it almost felt as though we could easily “tune in” to still listen to the music blasting from each stage. Without a doubt, Valhalla is intense… but we were all about it.
The area of improvement that I would recommend as this festival continues to expand is geared toward its preferred camping area. We arrived onsite early on Friday and, since the trek in had been totally smooth until then, we assumed setting up camp would be pretty hassle-free too. Unfortunately, we were dead wrong. When we arrived, there wasn’t anyone on staff directing traffic in the VIP area, so it was basically a free-for-all to find a campsite. Tent camping, car camping, and RV camping were all intermingled which made this process extremely chaotic. Thankfully, after a little more than an hour, we were able to squeeze into a tight spot and set up. However, this was definitely not ideal for some attendees entering the preferred camping area as we noticed them turning away due to lack of space.
Overall, Valhalla has a tremendous amount of potential to continue to operate successfully in the coming years. The new festival-grounds were gorgeous and secluded; additionally, production quality throughout the weekend was superb. The Valhalla vibe is definitely one that is intimate and wild at the same time, and there were many great opportunities to experience the liveliness of the festival. It was always a pleasure heading down to the lake in the morning too, which is just another way this event sets itself apart from others. We could definitely see ourselves attending Valhalla once again, but maybe next time I’ll spend some time brushing up on my French before we head back!
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