Awoken by Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening has electrified the Electronic Dance Music scene in Chicago.  This annual, multi-stage event brought thousands of EDM enthusiasts to Soldier Field.  Starting out as a one night affair in a night club, Spring Awakening has become the kick start to summer electronic music fests in Chicago.  If there has been a consistent core to React Presents’ Spring Awakening, it’s the big headliners that drive the party. The anticipation for this year’s event was so great that it was expanded to a third day.  Spring Awakening recognizes Chicago as the birthplace of House Music. The weekend crowd skewed younger and more neon during the day and early evening, and more adult as the evening wore on.  Dub love was strewn throughout all the stages. Dub step was everywhere – if you tried to escape from one stage it chased you down at the next stage.

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In honor of EDM’s Chicago House Music roots, Robbie Rivera got the crowd moving Friday evening with his funky house styles. Later Nero took the main stage to performing a dj set that fused techno and dub step. Moby closed out the first night with a dj set that was a nice change-up after a full day of dub step.  Moby is always full of energy, which he transferred to the crowd with a brilliant tech set that kept the a lot of feet moving.  The energy level really ramped up when he played a remix of his own Natural Blues.

The Saturday crowd was not deterred by the threat of rain. If there was only one day to attend Spring Awakening, Saturday was that day. The day was packed with outstanding talent.  Robots on the Run opened up on the large, outdoor Da Equinox stage and overcame any early lethargy with tech beats that shook off any lingering hangovers.  From mid-afternoon to evening, Da Drive Tent stage was the place to be as Felix The Housecat transitioned to 12th Planet that was followed by a rare Chicago appearance from Green Velvet. Paul Oakenfold closed out that stage with his classic tech styles. Back at Da Equinox stage, it was a dub step-free zone when Oakenfold took the stage. However, Oliver, Zedd and then Zeds Dead were also worth meandering over to Da Equinox stage to see.

To close out the second night’s festivities, Bassnectar took over the main stage and blew the crowd away. The light show was spectacular. Bassnectar was a shrewd choice to close out the big night. He catered to the dub-lovers just enough to avoid annoying dub-haters.  His light show was the most creative and complex; the back screens were constantly changing, which seemed to keep the crowd engaged. The extravagance of the light show culminated with fireworks.

The final day was Father’s Day, and where better to celebrate it than at a festival.  One of the day’s crowd pleasers was Porn and Chicken.  The provocative Porn and Chicken played tracks from all genre which kept the crowd dancing and smiling.  Their entourage on stage included a person in a chicken suite, stage dancers, and two other girls who there simply to be seen having fun while pumping up the crowd.  Porn and Chicken put on a fun show.

Calvin Harris

Later in the evening, the EDM shooting star, Porter Robinson, took the main stage to the crowd into a frenzy.  To close out the weekend, Calvin Harris packed the entire stadium field as everyone was dancing. Those too exhausted from the long weekend of festivities tried taking refuge in the stands, but the spirit of dancing overtook them. Calvin Harris melded together some new pop favorites with some great bass lines. Nearing the end of his set and the end of the festival, he played his original composition “Fell So Close to You” as a fireworks show dazzled overhead.

Spring Awakening was a well-organized, raging success.  React Presents has its work cut out for it planning next year’s show to beat the extraordinary party that went down in Chicago this year.