Foundry Festival

5 reasons why Foundry will change Toronto's electronic scene

This March, Toronto's electronic scene will change forever. A new, month long series called Foundry will take over BLK BOX (formerly Black Box Theatre) at the Great Hall, and over the course of eight nights and five weekends feature sets by (deep breath): Juan Atkins (Model 500), Shlohmo, Omar S, Martyn, Bicep, D33J, Andy Stott, Andres, DVS1, Alixander III (Azari & III), Kevin McPhee, Deebs, Gingy, Reference, Nautiluss, Bruce Trail (Nacho Lovers), HDIMYF, Harrison Bennett, Box of Kittens, Martin Fazekas, Fabio Palermo, Mymanhenri, Members Only, Mike Gibbs, Lapelle, Michael Krochak, David Patterson, and Colin Bergh.

While Foundry programmers plan to deliver an "immersive, multi-sensory experience for our city's music lovers," we have a hunch the series also promises a lot more: a new mold for the city's electronic scene. Here's our thinking on why Foundry could be Toronto music's miracle.

E is for Effort

Putting together a series on any scale is a ton of work, which makes Foundry that much more impressive. There are fine details here one could spend a week poring over as each night promises a different sound and vibe, programmed by 92 BPM, Box of Kittens, Breakandenter, Colin Bergh, Elastic Artists, Evening Standard, HDIMYF, Idol Hanse, I Love Bass Music, Mansion, Surefire Agency, and The Windish Agency.

Foundry explains that the lineups were created by "a team made up of DJs, music promoters, bloggers, and art directors brainstorming to create an exciting mix of carefully programmed nights. All too often festivals will book incompatible artists in neighboring time slots, resulting in jarring transitions. In turn, we decided to forego the traditional festival model (weekends with stacked line-ups) and went for a series of carefully crafted showcases.

Featured artists include a mix of influential legends Juan Atkins, Omar S, Andres, Martyn, and DVS1, as well Andy Stott, Bicep, and Shlohmo, who have all broken ground in their own way - giving music lovers a cohesive, but unique experience for each night of the series. While individual tastes may vary, we all share a similar vision for our city - we hope to see Toronto become an international hotbed for innovation in electronic music."

This kind of dedication to detail makes our spines tingle, and is also necessary for building a solid community based on respect and trust.

There's something for everyone

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the lineup (and imagining some fans might be too), I got the promoters to throw some key words plus artist picks at us. "Lo-fi, Psychedelic Hip-Hop"? Shlohmo. What about "Godfather of Techno"? Juan Atkins. There's "Detroit Underground Legend/Label Boss" Omar S, the "Emotional, Textured Grooves" of Andy Stott, and "3024 Labelboss/Hybrid-Genre Pioneer" Martyn. You can also expect "Retro-Sleaze House Crate-Diggers" BICEP, "Timeless Disco/House/Hip Hop" Andres, and "New School Berghain Techno" courtesy of DVS1.

foundry toronto festival

The sound (and vision)

Each Foundry event will take place at BLK BOX, where fans can now enjoy a brand new Funktion One Soundsystem (we understand this to mean both "Loud" and "Awesome"). Back to details and extras again: Foundry's multi-sensory experience will include digital art installations.

Foundry hints at bigger and better things to come

The ambitious figureheads behind Foundry have hinted in the past that Toronto deserves a festival akin to Montreal's Mutek or Barcelona's Sónar. They tell us this March series is inspired by MOMA's summertime PS1 Warm Up series in New York, The Warehouse Project in Manchester, and Piknic Electronique in Montreal.

Bringing high profile and respected artists to Toronto for an event of this scale is not only a great advantage for Toronto music fans: it will get word out to international artists and labels that Toronto's electronic community can support, and demands, this type of event and more.

foundry toronto festival


Well, they wouldn't be surprises if I told you, but let's just say that you don't want to miss Foundry's closing night.

Bonus: cuties

As spring approaches, Toronto will be warming up. Dress for a Mansion show at its most magical.

What to expect! (courtesy of Foundry)

  • Talented international and local acts
  • One of the best sounding rooms in the city, courtesy of the BLK BOX's brand new Funktion One
  • A unique music experience each night and new immersive visual installations each weekend
  • An open-minded crowd of music-lovers dancing and having a great time

Do not expect

  • A Bottle Service crowd

Foundry runs every weekend at BLK BOX from March 1st - 30th. Check out week-by-week lineup descriptions, tickets, events links and more on the Foundry website or their Facebook page.

Photos by Conrad McGee-Stocks. Top photo by Javin Lau.

*Fourth paragraph has been amended at request of the programmers.

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