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FVDED photos: Both loved and loathed, music festival fills Surrey park with 48,000 on 2 hot days

Sold-out fest returned to Holland Park after a one-year break in 2023
The Northwest Stage of FVDED in the Park summer music festival at Holland Park in Surrey on Friday, July 5.

Well, that was a colourful, slightly controversial gathering of close to 48,000 dance music fans. 

Holland Park was hot and super busy during the sold-out FVDED in the Park on Friday and Saturday (July 5-6), when the summer music festival returned to Surrey after a one-year break in 2023.

Featured were headliners Swedish House Mafia, Kx5 (the collaboration of Canadian DJ Deadmau5 and American producer Kaskade), Diplo, Chris Lake, John Summit, Dom Dolla and dozens of other mostly electronic music artists.

Daily, the park was filled with 24,000 ticket-holders, many dressed in ultra-colourful outfits that turned heads and made for a people-watcher's dream event.

From 2 p.m. until 11, those boots-n-cats-n-boots-n-cats beats had people dancing at the festival's three stages, including the Pacific main stage closest to Central City mall, the popular Northwest stage (which is covered, allowing for greater visuals and vibe in a darker environment) and new Forest stage.

While the festival was popular with those inside the gates, not everyone loved the loud music, especially those who live nearby. Social media lit up with complaints as the sun set on both days of the festival.

"I live across from the Guildford Mall," Linda Hibbard wrote to the Now-Leader on Friday a few minutes before 11 p.m. "I don’t understand why the concert at Holland Park, FVDED, should be soooo loud that it affects our whole neighbourhood, 15 blocks away. I have never been privy to this kind of noise from such a distance."

She wonders if Holland Park is the right venue for the annual festival, a rare ticketed event there.

"Surrey, if you want music this loud, find another venue," Linda wrote.

After Kx5's festival-closing set Saturday, traffic was a nightmare on King George Boulevard, where police and/or the city had too many lanes and parking areas blocked, leading to chaos with no room for limos and party buses to load people.

Ultimately, FVDED is a great thing for Surrey, a festival of international stature in the city's best park for such gatherings. Sure, the music isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the joyous mix of dance artists should be welcomed, not shunned.

Starting in 2015, tens of thousands of ticket-holders have flocked to FVDED, and the 2024 festival represents a triumphant return to Holland Park for Blueprint Events and partner Live Nation Entertainment.

"We work in a lot of different places and cities, and I love how (people) can move around the space, I love the SkyTrain being here, the accessibility," chief event planner Alvaro Prol told the Now-Leader a week before FVDED. "The way we can activate the park is intimate but yet big, and there's not too many pitfalls.

"The only thing that I would love to see is going later (into the evening with music), but that's just not a reality," he added. "That's the only pitfall. Living up in the north here, it's a lot of brightness. Being able to have more darkness for the festival is the only thing that I would like to have more of. We know there are people living here and it's just the rules for any outdoor event. It is what it is."






Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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