As the weather finally started to feel a little more like summer, React Presents held their second running of the Spring Awakening Music Festival at Soldier Field. In a battle of EDM festival supremacy (Chicago was recently added to the road to EDC, which was held 2 weeks prior) Spring Awakening went bigger and better this year while even
adding a 3rd day. With massive names headlining the bill such as Calvin Harris, Bassnectar, Moby, and hometown all stars Krewella; Spring Awakening was sure to make a splash in the ever growing EDM market in Chicago.
There were four stages, Da Main Stage which was actually on the grass in the stadium where the Chicago Bears play, and then there was the other two smaller stages on the outside of the stadium one being a normal stage called Equinox and the other being a tent style type stage called Drive Tent, and lastly there was the stage that hosted
the locals and contest winners. Bingo Players which actually only had one member due to the other being in the hospital, started off the day at the main stage with a high energy set. Playing “Alive” by Krewella which was sure to be heard at least ten times during the weekend the crowd got into it. Following Bingo Players was the man from down
under, Dirty South. Playing his collaboration with Alesso “City of Dreams,” the crowd started to sway and girls were belting lyrics at the top of their lungs as attendance started to grow as the sun started to set and lights got more intense. As it was getting dark it was perfect timing for Nero to come out and be the first dubstep artist of the festival to make the stadium vibrate. The one thing every festival should have is lasers and they filled the sky during
Nero’s set, as he dropped a tune by hip hop superstar Drake, the whole crowd was rapping along the lyrics. The remix of “Promises” remixed by Skrillex got the crowd alive and definitely gave flashbacks to last year when Skrillex headlined the fest. Soon it was time for the Headliner for the night and what turned out to be one of my favorite
sets of the weekend, Moby. Every time he has played a Chicago fest the last three years, he has had one of the most unique sets. Always tech heavy and a delight to hear, since he is one of the artists that doesn’t just play what people know and tends to steer away from “bangers.” The most memorable part of Moby’s set is from the sides giant white balloons started to descend onto the crowd making it truly a sight to see. Moby finished the night as the crowd dispersed to prepare for what was going to be the busiest day on Saturday.
With the sun shining and the crowd getting to Soldier Field early the second day of Spring Awakening started out with the tunes from AN21& Max Vangeli on the main stage. It was already noticeably more packed than Friday, as you can tell that the Bassnectar crowd was coming in full force. Chicago favorites Flosstradamus followed up with a bass
and trap heavy set. Remixing Major Lazers’s “Original Don,” everyone got in a frenzy and started twerking and getting low. Trap has become the new dubstep over the past year and their set made soldier field erupt. Off to the Equinox stage to see Zedd as evening began to set in. His set was in my top five for the weekend, Such a talented producer, always using unique sounds and making it all sound so perfect. “Clarity” had the crowd of probably 5,000 singing along word for word. One of the first “mistakes” if you will of the festival was the scheduling of Zedd and Nicky Romero at the same time. They even tweeted each other wondering whose idea that was, and jokingly suggested that they play the same exact set. One thing the fest lacked all weekend was the presence of trance, and Saturday we got our first taste of trance as legend Paul Oakenfold took over the tent stage and you can tell there was a big trance family presence as the tent stage was the most packed I’ve seen it so far. For someone that is nearly 50 he sure brought as much energy as all these newcomers to the EDM scene. After his set everyone flocked to the main stage inside the stadium to see Bassnectar, the headliner for Saturday. The stadium was the most packed than it was all weekend, and clouds started to
form, how fitting. It was Déjà vu of last year when it poured during Skrillex… also on a Saturday. Bassnectar brought the most unique crowd from the hippies to the kandi kids. Playing an eccentric mix of music the crowd was full of energy and seemed to have been brought back to life after partying for two full days. People looked like they were
doing rain dances on the field and sure enough it started to downpour. Some people ran for cover, but most embraced it and made the most of it.
The third and final day of the 2nd running of Spring Awakening was upon us, and it sure looked like it was the last day as people started to look a little slower than usual. Showtek got the party started on the main stage as they hyped the crowd up. Playing an array of new tunes, and mentioning it was their first time in Chicago which got a large cheer from the crowd. A couple of memorable moments from their set was when they told all the ladies to get on shoulders, and sure enough a sea of women hopped on someone’s shoulder and the crowd looked like a sea of giants. Secondly they had everyone sit down and jump up when the drop kicked in, they turned out to be in my top 5 for the weekend. Right after Showtek, Chicago Bull Jimmy Butler came out (with kandi mind you) to introduce Krewella. This hometown crew has had major success since last year’s appearance at Spring Awakening. Playing popular tracks such as “Killin’ It” and “Come and Get It,” it was clear why they have had such success in just under a year. Due to a schedule change, Chuckie now followed Krewella on the main stage, and he brought his high energy Dutch house starting off where he left off last years North Coast Music Festival with tons of energy. Playing the one of the major anthems of the previous summer Dada Life’s “Kick Out the Epic Mother******,” people went into a frenzy. It was time to make one more stop at the tent stage to catch Tommy Trash. Trash’s electro house heavy set was a classic, playing a slew of original
mixes including “Monkey See, Monkey Do,” and his most recent massive hit with Sebastian Ingrosso “Reload,” (which seemingly seemed to be one of the most played tracks over the weekend along with “Alive,” by Krewella.) It was time for the last act of the weekend at the main stage where Calvin Harris was getting ready to close out the festival. His set was full of hits, as he played “Sweet Nothing,” “Bounce,” “Feel So Close,” and “I Need Your Love,” it was truly the perfect set to end the weekend on a high note. Granted Sunday was the probably the least busy day (cell phones actually sometimes worked), it was probably the most enjoyable.
With numerous amounts of local talent, and various genres Spring Awakening improved from its inaugural year and will be a staple of Chicago Festivals in the future. The atmosphere of the stadium and different stages makes it truly a unique fest in the city. It was a blast, and for those that aren’t 18 that couldn’t attend EDC, this was a solid alternative with the all star cast React Presents brought. Until next year…

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