I have spent the past five or so months walking along the icy shores of Lake Ontario, eagerly awaiting summer’s arrival. Even in these colder months, I always recommend to visitors of Toronto that they enjoy a southbound amble through High Park to Sunnyside Beach. With the Loose Lips family recently here; I had the pleasure of taking Kortzer and Medallion Man on this delightful stroll. There were detours to see the park’s famous Sakura blossoms, buy hotdogs and visit the zoo.
For a large part of the year, Sunnyside Beach is battered by bitter chills from the frozen lake’s winter winds. For just a few magic months; this West-Toronto gem becomes a paradise of leafy shade, cooling lake breeze and world-class musical curation. The Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion dates back to 1922; it is a beautiful venue defined as much by its idyllic natural surroundings as its historic significance in Toronto.
This picturesque location has become the home of the brainchild of Richard Brooks - Captive Audience. With a career spanning over two decades; the Toronto house music stalwart started the project aiming to “produce some top shelf music events that stimulate the mind, body and soul.” With this ambition in mind, it is safe to say that this event was successful in achieving its goal.
Throughout the day; Adrian Ravelo, Korea Town Acid, Basic Soul Unit and Move D produced genre-spanning performances. Before sundown, the music dipped between deep house, more melodic house, techno, disco and even some dub-techno influenced numbers. The weather was uncharacteristically overcast and chilly for the time of year; somewhat dampening our spirits upon arrival; However, the nuanced selection of the performers soon got us dancing and we quickly forgot all about the cold.
As the sun went down and the full moon rose; Move D took a musical tangent from the preceding deep house and disco. The overall feel went from summery festival music to more club-oriented dance music. Flawlessly he weaved between house, techno, breakbeats, garage and even closed with some dub tracks. This was the second time I have seen Move D play at sunset; having also been blown away by his performance at Houghton Festival in 2017. To me, what characterises him most as a DJ is his true calibre as a selector; able to capture moods and play to his audience and surrounding environment.
The season opener set the bar very high for Captive Audience’s summer programme. The following party hosted Wajeed, ALi Black, Stacey Sexton, and Devv. Today Steve Lawler headlines the party; with support from Arman & Beynon. Derrick Carter then graces Sunnyside with his presence on the final weekend of June, alongside Richard Brooks, Sean Roman, Miz Megs and Strange City & Tele.
With all the musical talent showcased in just the month of June, I am eagerly awaiting the line-ups for July and beyond. It is safe to say that this is one of my favourite parties to attend anywhere in the world. Whether you are a local or a tourist in Toronto, I would highly recommend you visit and see Sunnyside for yourself.