Chicago was in for quite the treat last weekend with the latest installment of one of its hottest festivals, Spring Awakening. This year the festival took place at a new location in Chicago with some amazing nuances that set it apart from previous ones at Soldier Field. With a basketball court turned into an outdoor cooling station, a public bus rented for patrons to sit in cool air conditioning, and a two story water slide courtesy of Vita Coco, Spring Awakening surely helped out the thousands of fans looking to stay cool in the mid 90 degree weather.
Day one, Friday, included two curated stages from the Bass Kitchen and Body Language. Bass Kitchen included major names like Bear Grillz, Alison Wonderland, and a special closing set by Datsik, who would return later to the festival in the form of Ephwurd. The complete opposite spectrum was at the Body Language stage which included the like of Autograf, The Magician, and Klingande ending the night. Along with the two curated stages, I spent a decent amount of time running between the two main stages as well. Troyboi rocked the electronic stage and was easily in my top 5 sets of the weekend. Borgore indeed got ratchet, and the crowd ate all of it up from beginning to end. Flux Pavilion showcased a few collabs including one with the hottest rising name in Chicago right now, Wheathin. As it came down to the end of the night, one thing was on my mind and it was Deadmau5. I don’t think I’ve ever been so in awe and speechless during a set in a long time. Describing his set only takes one word, “Strobe,” followed by a bunch of crying face emojis. It was pure magic.
Day two had people beating the heat before walking in the door. It was almost 100 degrees all day but that didn’t stop Chicago from raging. Chicago has a super strong Trance community so naturally the Trance Arena was packed from beginning to end. The Bird House, dedicated to all the real house heads, concluded with a proper set from the legend and Dirtybird father, Claude Vonstroke. With the DJ stage hosting top names like Kaskade, Carnage, and Showtek it was a day full of tough choices. Trying to beat the heat I found some shade near the Electronic stage where I was able to chill by for most of the day. Closing out the stage in style was Zeds Dead who shook us all. My voice was gone and arms numb from holding my ‘Z’ up the whole time. Opening up for them was an incredible set by Flying Lotus which started very chill and ambient and worked its way up into some great energy. We even got a couple minutes of Captain Murphy which was a major treat. Working backwards here. The king of scary techno music, Gesaffelstein, from beginning to end kept a steady pace again destroying the crowd without a sliver of emotion. Surviving the heat of day two was no easy task, and I have to give credit to Vita Coco on this day for providing the perfect way to beat the heat.
Day three was already off to a fantastic start before the day even started. As the weather was already 20 degrees cooler, I was ready to get in it. Starting off with Wheathin who probably had the best weekend out of everyone making appearances on both of the previous days, it was a precursor for good times ahead. After his set I ran over to catch Rezz and all her glory. She was wearing her goggles which looked super dope on stage as she controlled the crowd in a downtempo frenzy of movement. Following her set I headed over to the DJ Mag stage to catch a little bass action from Ghastly followed by Ephwurd for a good two hours of dirty beats. Afterwards I entered Dada Land for a little bit followed by my first Chainsmokers experience which definitely made me realize what all the hype was about. After that I closed out the weekend in perfect fashion with the king himself, RL Grime. Holy crap let me just say that he is hands down one of the best DJ’s I’ve ever seen perform, EVER. With a catalog like his, it’s no doubt that his set would be on point. I was literally blown away realizing how many great tracks he’s made over the years and how many other artists support his music. This was my first time seeing RL Grime but in no way will it be my last.
I want to give a huge shout out to Spring Awakening and React Presents for killing it once again with another amazing festival. They’ve shown great diversity over the years and really know how to take events to the next level. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.