[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap

[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap

[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap


[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap
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Chicago’s second annual Spring Awakening Music Festival took place last weekend as thousands of neon bedecked youths stormed the iconic Solider Field to rage to their favorite EDM acts from across the globe. With the sun expected to make an appearance all weekend, the anticipation leading up to the festival for acts such as Moby, Bassnectar, Calvin Harris, Nervo, Krewella, Tommy Trash and so many more was palpable.

This year saw the expansion of SAMF as festival organizers decided to tack on a third day of music and entertainment for the fans. Overseeing the festival once again was Chicago music staple, React Presents, who have a long standing reputation for putting on amazing events, and this year’s festival was once again top notch.

[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap - mobyMoby
See full photo album here.

Day 1

As the festival opened it’s gates late Friday afternoon, the sun was shining in full effect as artists plugged in their equipment and began spinning. We arrived in time to catch the end of Chicago’s DJ Nathan Scott, warming up the midday crowd on Da Equinox Stage, which was more than twice the size of last year’s tent. Los Angeles based DJ Bl3nd and his dancers tore the crowd up next before we jumped over to Da Drive Tent to see hometown buddies DangerWayne and Milk N Cookies throw down. Milk N Cookies put on an especially massive set which tripled the crowd in Da Drive Tent by the time they were done.

The evening hours were dominated by Da Main Stage as Dirty South, Nero, and Moby played back to back to back. Each set, displaying totally different styles from the world reknown DJs, blew the crowd back, only to allow them to surge forward with even more resolve. From Dirty South’s massive electro house sounds to Nero’s bass heavy set and Moby’s insane on stage antics, Friday night was the perfect start to the weekend for any EDM fan worth their salt.

[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap - nervoNervo w/ Nicky Romero
See full photo album here.

Day 2

While the weather report claimed beautiful skies all weekend, Saturday morning started out looking a bit dim. As the clouds rolled over Chicago spitting down a few small showers, we got ready to walk in for day two of the festival. While Saturday saw an earlier start time, the unfortunate weather kept handfuls of people indoors until the skies cleared in the late afternoon. With cameras in hand, this meant that we had to hover near shelter as well and only just made it out to catch the last half of 18-year old Walden‘s set – one that I was told not to miss as the Sydney based DJ has been touted as a musical prodigy by some.

The next four hours were dominated by a mix of genres from electro funk to dubstep and everywhere in between. In one of my most anticipated sets of the weekend, Gramatik jammed out with bass in hand to an impressively upbeat set. Australian beauties Nervo took stage next and set the pace for the evening with their electro house sounds. At one point, they were even joined on stage by fellow beatmaker Nicky Romero for their massive collab “Like Home.” The end of the alphabet rounded out the night at Da Equinox Stage with Zedd and Zeds Dead both dropping massive sets respectively and drawing in the biggest numbers of the night, with the exception of Bassnectar‘s headlining set on the main stage – which was massive. Bass, lights, and sound coalesced into a massive sonic orgy as Bassnectar closed out Saturday night. And in keeping with SAMF tradition, the rain began to fall toward the end of his performance, which only served to enhance the lasers, lights and smoke pouring off the stage and into the gesticulating mass of people.

[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap - krewellaKrewella
See full photo album here.

Day 3

As if Sunday were saying sorry for Saturday night’s behavior, day three saw the most gorgeous weather of the weekend with temps in the high 70’s and the sun radiating in it’s full glory. A perfect festival day. Needless to say, we headed inside Soldier Field early to catch the opening three acts on Da Main Stage, all of whom were representing Chicago’s burgeoning music scene. Xonic and LoBounce took the early sets, warming the crowd up for the day, but it wasn’t until the infamous Porn and Chicken dance party took stage that Soldier Field really started filling up. Good friends of ours, Dom, Orville Kline and the rest of the crew absolutely set fire to the stage as they performed to a growing number of raucous concert goers touting the traditional PnC red bandana.

The afternoon allowed some time to walk around the venue and catch a variety of acts as there was multiple talented artists taking the stage. Among them, Green Lantern, Showtek, and Break Science all put on great sets that drew crowds of all ages. Break Science’s unique blend of turntables and live drums made fans out of more than one person I spoke to. The 5:30 set time saw us doing some more jumping around as Chicago’s own Krewella set off the main stage with all their massive hits, including “Alive” and “Killin’ It” while Da Equinox stage saw Minnesota and Mord Fustang keeping the tempo up in two huge performances that didn’t skip a beat (although they might have caused me some heart palpitations).

[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 Recap - skylineSee full photo album here.
Sunday ended in dramatic opposition to Friday morning – bright eyed and bushy tailed waiting to kick off the festival, by Sunday night the weekend had taken it’s toll and you could spot the visibly weary still managing to drag themselves to their favorite artists. We weren’t excluded from that human condition either, as running around from stage to stage began draining us as well. However, the closing artists for day three injected the evening with a dose of energy as Chuckie‘s dirty dutch performance was moved to Da Main Stage and ATB threw down on Da Equinox stage. Porter Robinson, Figure, and Tommy Trash closed down our night in three massive performances that only served to warm the rest of the crowd up for international dance star Calvin Harris.

All in all, Spring Awakening 2013 was another successful event that saw massive growth in just a single year. With Chicago’s music scene on the rise to international stardom, you can bet the festival will only grow bigger in the years to come. Hats off to everyone who made this event possible, and a special shout out to React Presents, all the artists who performed this year, and to you, the fans! Without you guys, none of this would be possible, so until next year, rage on, ragers!


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Kris Hi there! Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sights and Sounds. Been doing this music writing thing for most my life in one way or another and loving every opportunity it's brought along. Shoot me an email if you have any suggestions for the website, comments, or if you just want to chat. Cheers!