EDM moves into new spaces

The reign of the rock star and rapper is at an end.

Within the past decade, North America saw an explosion of electronic dance music hit mainstream airways and the public accepted it with open arms. Now the DJ takes center stage and influences pop culture.


Coined “EDM” for short, electronic dance music is not only changing music preferences, it is also a booming business forOttawa establishments.

“More people are getting hooked on the EDM show experience,” says Nanis Farghal, a promoter for event marketing company, THEKNWLDG. With dazzling laser shows, upbeat tunes and captivating visuals that appeal to the senses, more people are paying to see live DJs.

As a result, many bars and clubs are attempting to accommodate this new demand. Barrymore’s Music Hall, originally a live concert hall, changed its identity to a nightclub showcasing popular DJs last year. In the Byward Market, venues such as Liquor Store Party Bar, Mansion and Ritual either book famous DJs to play in town or hold electronic music nights spun by local talent.

Understanding music trends and its changes has proved to be a financially beneficial endeavor. With sold out shows and increased attendance at venues, many club establishments are happily welcoming the EDM wave.


EDM fans are also enjoying the evolution of Ottawa nightlife. “The shows I’ve gone to were off the hook; the clubs are packed, people dance all night…its always a great time,” says Marc Faucher, an Ottawa resident who has made the transition from metal to EDM and regularly attends electronic events within the city.

Dance music in bars is nothing out of the ordinary, however, the EDM phenomenon is now moving beyond the club scene.

Nature Nocturne is an after hours event hosted by The Canadian Museum of Nature. Geared towards a younger demographic, the event allows museumgoers to explore exhibits, meet artists in the galleries and dance until midnight while a DJ spins inside the castle.  The venue is equipped with bars and dance floors that are open until midnight.

“What we are trying to do is to create a time and space for museums that are comfortable and inviting for adults,” explains Cynthia Iburg, the project coordinator for Nature Nocturne.


A YouTube video of the last Nature Nocturne shows people enjoying EDM at the museum. The dance floor is packed with throngs of people jamming to a track from infamous DJ group, Swedish House Mafia.

With the first and second event selling out and receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews, Iburg is organizing the third Nature Nocturne set for March 22, which will feature new exhibits, activities, music and DJs.

“For the first Nature Nocturne, our DJ was quite mainstream but what we found was that there was a subgroup of people who were looking for something different, more artsy and independent so what we are going to look for in future events is to have multiple spaces with different sounds,” says Iburg.

Iburg is currently looking for more DJs to spin at Nature Nocturne to enhance the museum experience. “People who are looking for something different will have other spaces and we can bring in different sounds from month to month to create a richer experience for people.”

The Canadian Museum of Nature is not the only museum jumping on the EDM bandwagon. The Museum of Civilization will be hosting an electro jazz night for Winterlude and have welcomed DJs to play after hour events within the museum in the past.

“The EDM scene has exponentially grown over the last year and I suspect it will continue to and that is alright with me,” says Farghal. With EDM at its peak, local Ottawa businesses and residents are not only embracing the new music, they are enjoying it as well.