Travelling Down the Rabbit Hole in Toronto with Markus Schulz

The rabbit hole is a time when things get a little weird and the music may get a little trippy but there’s no need to fear it. This past Saturday night Markus Schulz was given the reigns of the DJ booth at The Guvernment nightclub in Toronto for his first solo set and he played for nine hours ending just before 8 AM. The Guvernment is a venue that deserves legendary status and has been dancing until dawn for nearly 20 years and has hosted Markus Schulz many times over the years. There was a lot of asking, begging and pleading for this event to happen and it was well worth the wait. Read the back story here.

I have heard a lot of great things about the solo set and this was the first one I’ve ever been a part of and was worth the over three hour drive to enjoy it. Suzanne Welker Jurgens, a partner in Schulz Army, flew to Toronto from San Francisco for the weekend just for this event as well. There was also people we knew of who had travelled to Toronto from Boston, New York City, Washington DC and Montreal. This was a destination event.

Keith Patrick Suzanne ASOT 650 TorontoThe hotel of choice was the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto which is only a few blocks from the club and was filled with partiers going to The Guvernment as well as the Digital Dreams Festival that was also being held in Toronto that weekend featuring Tiesto, Dash Berlin, Paul van Dyk, Wolfgang Gartner, Richie Hawtin and many more. Toronto is an amazing city to visit and possibly one of the most underrated in North America when it comes to electronic music. If you’re looking for a place to travel to this would be worth it.

We met with A State of Trance 650 Toronto campaign during the day to pickup some original t-shirts they had designed for the night and to also get a glimpse of the shirt they had made specifically for Markus Schulz to give him that night. Every trance addict dreams of hosting A State of Trance event in their city and Toronto has been working hard to make it happen and getting everyone they can on board.

The club was scheduled to open it’s doors at 10 PM with Markus Schulz going on at 11 PM and then playing until closing time. We arrived at the club around 9:30 PM and quickly traded some #SchulzArmy Down the Rabbit Hole We Go bracelets with some people from Hamilton to be first in line. The doors finally opened, searches were conducted and everyone ran in the doors. Markus was already in the DJ booth trying to finish his setup and had an instant smile on his face as the dance floor began to fill up. He had flown in to Toronto after playing in Las Vegas the night before and probably had little time between travel, a disco nap and the setup.

The nine hour journey began shortly after 10:30 PM and didn’t end until after 7:30 AM in the morning and I would’ve loved to have reviewed the night hour by hour but the dance floor and music suck you into having a good time. An hourly review wouldn’t even do it justice, this is something that you need to experience if you’re a fan of the music. It was hot, sweaty and packed at times but it was to be expected with a set like this and also 50,000 people attending a festival down the street looking for an after party as well.

Markus began the journey with a progressive build up getting everyone in a groove and warmed up for the extended slaying that was headed our way. The crowd was cheering and chanting “Markus” as he set the pace for the night and it was clearly noticed on his face that he acknowledged the affection. The City of Toronto has been a special place for him over the years and was also featured on the 2009 city series compilation. The 2013 city is expected to be announced at any time. As the night progressed into what’s considered the peak hour material it featured Scream tracks, all of the New World Punx tracks and a lot of old school trance tracks.

There was also a special moment in the night during “Perfect” when the words in the picture below appeared on the screen and Julie said yes to the proposal from Chris. Chris had gotten word to Markus that he wanted this to happen and the two of them worked out details and it went off without a hitch. A perfect moment for an amazing couple from Montreal!

Chris asks Julie to marry him in Toronto
Photo by xoxstacey

As the club started to clear out from those not in it for the long haul the rabbit hole began where as Markus always says, things get a little bit weird and trippy but not a time to fear. The rabbit hole featured staples like “Nothing Matters”, “Man with the Red Face” and of course “Rapture”. If you’d like to really get a taste of the music during a rabbit hole set listen to the over three hour mix recorded at Space in Miami.

The club has a side door that leads to a patio outside and at one point in the morning with the sun shining and the door open Markus got on the microphone and quickly said, “Close the door, you’re letting unicorns in!” One unicorn either survived the slaying portion of the set or entered the club during the moment that those doors were opened.


IMG_2042 (2)As the music ended towards the 8 AM hour there was still almost half of the club left cheering him on as the music wound down but he had to finish up since he had to get to Ottawa for another gig in less than 12 hours. Markus took the time like he usually does to take pictures, shake hands and sign autographs. The club cleared out and the zombie walk back towards the hotel began.

There’s few DJs in the world that can play an extended solo set like this and Markus Schulz is a master of the art. I had the pleasure of seeing Sasha and Digweed play an extended set at Twilo in New York City before it closed it’s doors and at the time I never thought anything would compare but this surpassed that experience. Once you’ve enjoyed sets like these the standard one to two hour club or festival set just don’t compare.

Sign me up for the solo set travel club!

Here’s almost 50 minutes of the final hour or so that he played. It’ll give you an idea but really doesn’t do it justice, you need to experience this.

About Keith Wozniak

I've been involved in the electronic music community for over 13 years in every aspect from promoting, running a production company, leading a Dancesafe chapter and also running a large web site for my local scene. Also check out

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