The World Electronic Music Festival was developed in 1995 in Ontario, Canada as “The World Trance Festival.” This name was changed to “WEMF” two short years later. While this isn’t one of the biggest festivals in North America, it was certainly ahead of its time. Electric Daisy Carnival started as a rave in 1997 at an indoor venue that held 5000 people. It took another three years for it to move to a true outdoor location. But with Moonrise, Northcoast, Electric Zoo, Camp Bisco, and stacks of other festivals taking years to catch up, WEMF was a lone wolf in the festival scene.
The first WEMF was thrown at a campground in Barrie, Ontario, and has been held outdoors ever since. Imagine that their lineup in 2000 showcased Disco D and Paul Oakenfold. Talent got better throughout the years, and last summer’s event had Moby, The Crystal Method, Infected Mushroom, DJ Hype, Wolfgang Gartner, Zeds Dead, Chase & Status, Bad Company, Keys N Krates, and tons more. They took risks on their lineups, and we noticed the difference.
The WEMF website simply says “WEMF ON HIATUS,” but there was an official statement via Destiny Events’ Facebook page saying that “the economics no longer make sense.” The skyrocketing price of these headlining DJs and explosion of the festival scene might play a part in this. There are giant festivals in Chicago, Upstate NY, New York City, and smaller ones in even closer cities like Detroit, Niagra Falls. It would be hard enough to succeed with competing markets a few hundred miles away, but Digital Dreams, which is two months earlier in Toronto, caters to the same market. They recently announced (and purchased) their lineup, and we can only imagine that having a competing show in downtown Toronto only a couple of months prior to WEMF had an impact.
It doesn’t always pay to be ahead of the curve, but we have a deep appreciation for the talent and dedication that the World Electronic Music Festival has put forth for nearly 20 years. Destiny Events will continue to throw shows, but it looks as if WEMF is a thing of the past. Our hats go off to these innovators.