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Sound in Motion's debut

Sound in Motion's debut

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Electronic art and music festival set to take Toronto by storm
Electronic music junkies watch out: Toronto's first-ever Sound in Motion music and art festival will sneak into the city on Friday, July 13.

Organizers say it's the city's first independently produced electronic festival. Presented by StudioFeed, it is being touted as a "social venture" focused on supporting independent music.

The three-day event features an opening-evening short-film showcase, an all-day beach takeover and a free panel discussion on art and social change. In addition, Sound in Motion will include all the hedonistic late-night dance party action that is a great festival's duty.

Artists include international guests Sammy Dee, who hails from Germany, and murr, from Barbados. There'll also be a bevy of Canadian talent, including Fairmont and Toronto duo Yes Ma'am, made up of Alicia Hush and Ana+one, who will be making their live debut.

Expect the all-day party at Sugar Beach on Saturday to get crazy. The former industrial parking lot, now a giant sandy plot at the southernmost tip of Jarvis St, juts out on Lake Ontario's edge, just waiting to be conquered by dance-hungry revellers in the 30-degree heat.

Artistic director Sarah Lamb hopes the event will pull in queers who want a new way to party. For her, electronic music was a gay-friendly space outside of the city's gay bars.

"I know there are a lot of other girls like me who are not really down with the gay village but who are incredibly artistic, who are incredibly socially aware," she says. "There's all kinds of different ways to love, and starting to break down those boundaries, to me that's queer."

John Alexiou, a fellow artistic director and the founder of StudioFeed, agrees: "Music transcends all boundaries, all cultures."

Lamb, who is also a promoter with Hushlamb Productions, had started talking with other promoters in 2009 about Toronto's need for an electronic festival. The absence of an electronic event left a "gaping hole" in the city's music scene, she says. In July 2011, she and Alexiou agreed that 2012 was the year it had to happen.

StudioFeed "was perfect, to be presenting sponsor given their ethos [and] a desire to be a hub for community," Lamb writes in an email. Alexiou, she says, "[threw] everything behind it."

This year, Sound in Motion is one of at least three summer festivals, including Digital Dreams and Veld, to be staged in Toronto. Alexiou says he thinks Sound in Motion will have a different vibe than other spaces, because its fierce independence allows participating artists to talk about social issues.

On Sunday, a panel discussion on art and positive social change will bring together people from all sides of the music world, from videographer/musician Shibby Sheitgeist to architect Taymoore Balbaa.

"We're discussing how the arts can really drive politics," Alexiou says. "There's a social element that a lot of corporate-sponsored events can't do by definition."

But completely rejecting corporate sponsorship also has its challenges.

"The only entities that have money are big corporations, and that's why they're trying to co-opt art for their own message," Alexiou says.

"Music should be one of, if not the biggest, tools for social change, and it doesn't matter what genre it is."

Fairmont, "Nightstick"
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