What: FIVE+ NYE Party
Where: Kuda, Toronto
When: 31 December 2015
In one word: Sensory
With over 100 events across Toronto New Year’s Eve typically serves as an excuse to behave badly, lose inhibition and wake up next to a bottle of extra strength ASA.
Thursday night I had the pleasure of welcoming 2016 with good friends and positive vibes in the Amazon… well sort of Amazon.
Summerdaze, Bespoke.Experience, Provoke, Lovelution and Way Of Acting coordinated the FIVE+ NYE party, an Amazonian themed bash with burning man in mind.
The event was held at Kuda (Dufferin and Queen), a 20,000 square-foot well-preserved warehouse which will soon be torn down and used as condo space.
Organizers transformed the area into a sensory pleasing creative maze focused on body, mind and art. The vastness of the space worked in the event’s favour as organizers created sections for visual artists, musicians, massage therapists, Reiki enthusiasts, dancers and drinkers.
I was greatly impressed with the organization.
Guests were warmly welcomed and permitted to wait in doors and out of the cold. Once inside many guests openly complimented the layout. The sheer size of the space allowed for wanderers to venture without getting stuck in any one spot.
Dropping your things off at coat check was a breeze as staff cataloged your belongings and kept the flow of the crowd clear. One drawback of the evening was the restroom situation. The facility required portable toilets, making the event feel more like a music festival and less like the Amazon.
Overall the security and event workers were professional and accommodating.
So how did the party go down?
Music and Dance
Take your typical club scene, with its congregation of half-naked ravers who’ve just sampled a buffet of substances then add a spiritual twist. Tweak the top 40 playlist by throwing in some jambais, and then sit back and watch 20-somethings boogy down in tie-dye fringe.
Volia, you’ve got yourself a cookie cutter copy of a summer festival, made winter affair, moved indoors.
New age hippies covered in body paint and party goers with restless jaws grooved and in some cases flailed to pounding bass lines and trippy trance lights.
The nice thing about this event was the enthusiasm, whether it is substance fueled or not, there was more variation than couples grinding up on one another.
In total FIVE+ featured ten DJS: Lovelution, Jamie Kidd, Night Vision, James Drummond, City Kid Soul, Mina, Karim K, Adrian Duncan and an international DJ who obviously didn’t have a lasting impression on me.
Body and Mind
The Reiki meditation section was an added bonus for those who wished to sit still and explore altered consciousness and for those who took too much and needed to lie down.
Although I found guests meditating in all different areas of the warehouse, spiritual participators flocked to the make-shift Reiki temple.
For the majority of the evening like-minded individuals spilled over the large middle-eastern rug. While I wouldn’t call it radical self-reflection or earth-shattering self-transformation, the free-spirited aura and opportunity to explore in a safe space was downright dope.
While the night probably didn’t make you question your life in any substantial way, you might have walked away from the experience with some new friends.
One of the most unique features of the event was the massage therapists who worked on individuals throughout the night.
Masseuse and yoga healers included: Jeremy Edge Wulkan of Little Buddha Wellness, Natalie Sergi, Mandika, Divya, Yogi Emmanuelle and Jen Stevenson
Arts and Culture
Unfortunately like most alternative new-wave events, FIVE+ functioned as a breeding ground for cultural appropriation.
Whether it was the fake dream catchers, the faux fur pelts, the hamsa jewelery or the Mexican sugar skull makeup the unconcerned and self-absorbed youth was sure to bring tasteless fashion sense with them.
It’s always those in costume trying to find symbolism and attaching a silly amount of significance to their evening who ruin it for people like me. Alright ruin is a strong word, but then again I felt a wave of an unease right down to my feminist core.
The night was a sensory overload with ample space for snapping photos of unique characters against even cooler backdrops.
One of the coolest areas was the experimental and interactive art section. Artists drew, painted and sculpted beautful pieces worthy of top-dollar price tags. The mood was energetic but this particular space provided more organic tranquility than others.
Artists included: Rahul Bader (aka Raja Rhythmics), Evelisa Natasha, Paul Zulauf, Cleo Iris and Madelaine.
After the event, the artwork was auctioned off and half of the proceeds were donated to the youth-driven Canadian charity Lets Stop AIDS.
Food and Drink
While promo’s for FIVE+ promise multiple food station offering complimentary gourmet food, the grub was in short supply.
Liquid courage was plentiful and readily available from various bars. As expected, drinks ran a little on the pricier side with a rum and coke costing $11.
Five+ was the Toronto event for millennials who wanted to let their freak flag fly right into 2016.
How many memories did you really come home with? Probably no more than NYE’s past or future.
However, the arts collective creativeness paired with hippie dancing was something I will not forget any time soon.
I would suggest this event to anyone seeking a club vibe with an organic feel… just be sure to check your privilege at the door and get those hip shaking skills ready.
© Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs, Music Vice
Photos from FIVE+ NYE:
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