Spring Awakening Music Festival 2018 Didn’t Skip a Beat
Sensible Reason attends Spring Awakening Music Festival each year. The lineup always includes a myriad of talented producers and DJs followed by some of the nicest, most colorful fans in the Chicago area. It is now the largest electronic music festival in the Midwest, and we love it. The festival’s lineup of worldwide headliners continues to grow. This year welcomed the likes of deadmau5, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Steve Aoki, Zeds Dead, Tiesto, Sasha & John Digweed, Alison Wonderland and more. The weekend got a bit muddy, but the wet weather didn’t stop anyone from having an amazing time. This year, people took care of one another and everyone felt the togetherness.
Spring Awakening upgraded the main stages at Addams/Medill park from previous years. The size of the stages, as well as the LED panels, took on a new personality. The Solstice Stage remained a pyramid at the middle, with the DJ looking like Simba on Pride Rock above the crowd. The Equinox Stage looked like it was a block long as it stretched across the entire crowd. The oversized stage had a bend to it that created great acoustics for those dead center.
The two curated stages made sure that all types of electronic music were represented at the festival. Heldeep, Trance Arena, DJ Mag, Requiem, Bass Kitchen, and Sunday School all brought their own lineup of artists. These stages created an environment all their own. On Saturday, fans of house music could get lost in the Requiem groove from the festival’s start to finish. That same stage on Sunday housed those who love to headbang and could spend the day at Bass Kitchen until their ears bled.
The Corona Electric Beach made another triumphant return with a packed house from beginning to end. The enclosed dome created intimate sets with several local artists and international favorites. Attendees lined up for the chance to enter, for the space was only big enough for a few dozen people. Tight squeeze aside, the sets at the Electric Beach were ones for the books. Artists such as Sam Feldt and Pete Tong played additional sets to show off their other talents in an intimate space. The experience was worth the wait.
Silent discos are something special that everyone must try. While everyone at a concert is listening to the same music, some silent discos have two channels. Finding those in the crowd with the same channel creates a unique connection and sense of understanding. This year’s silent disco at SAMF received sponsorship from Monaco and they called it STFU. The latest in headphone technology in combination with an awesome lineup made this stage especially popular. Attendees lined up to receive fantastic headphones and jam without any noise interruptions.
If the music at Spring Awakening were a person, it would always carry a huge sign that says #RAGE. The festival bangers were in full swing this year, as usual. Curated stages brought a new vibe at each spot. Each style of electronic music from house to dubstep to trance and everything in between had a place at the festival. The choices were abundant and at times overwhelming. We only wish we could have been at several places at once. However, the layout of the festival allowed for easy movement between stages.
The festival crowd got a bit rowdy with the energy remaining so high all weekend. On Saturday, the front row gate at the Equinox Stage actually snapped and separated. The front row attendees raging the rail headbanged so hard the gate couldn’t handle the pressure. It took approximately 6 security workers and a couple ratchet straps to get the gate closed during Porn & Chicken. It was a sight to see, but no one was hurt.
Notable sets (in no particular order)
Zeds Dead closed out Friday, which was a terrible idea for those trying to avoid exhaustion after the first day. Their set pushed boundaries of music and the limitations of the human ear. Needless to say, it was perfect
Porn & Chicken almost started a riot with the way their fans were headbanging on the rail. One of their most attended sets at Spring Awakening, it’s clear their local and national fanbase continues to grow. Their wild set and the sex-filled show was one to remember.
Black Tiger Sex Machine came to the stage in all black long sleeves in 80-degree weather. Their helmets brought the brand, while their music brought the attitude as well as the sweat. Their sinister sound stood out from the rest, bringing new tracks to an adoring crowd.
Sasha & John Digweed created the perfect underground sound with their 2-hour set on Saturday. The beats never stopped as the two hypnotized the crowd. Several fans said it was the best set of the weekend.
Porter Robinson made clear how versatile his musical talents are at his set on Sunday. He pulled the crowd in several directions as he transitioned from the hardest of electro to the emotional trance of his Virtual Self project.
Cosmic Gate played a set that could have melted even the coldest of hearts. The two brought trance in flawless fashion. With the versatility of people who have been making music for 20 years, their set pulled people in from all sides of the festival.
deadmau5 brought cube 2.1, which made him look a bit too high to be seen by the crowd. However, the visuals on the cube outmatched everyone from the weekend. Closing with “Strobe” it was a perfect ending to the weekend.
Thousands of minds in one spot include thousands of opinions. However, when music is involved, it can create common ground and a sense of unity. The vibes at Spring Awakening this year could be felt from miles away. Never did we witness anyone crying, alone, lost, sick, or scared. Electronic music has always carried with it a safety bubble of love and understanding. Nearby Milwaukee held their annual Pride Fest as well last week, which brought a few attendees and rainbow flags the hour and a half down to Spring Awakening.
The sense of togetherness never seems to leave those who attend festivals such as Spring Awakening. At the beginning of the EDM bubble a handful of years ago, there was a clash of who was there for the “right” reasons and who just wanted to party. Tensions seemed to even out when people realized that no matter what the reason, we were all there to smile and stay safe. This sentiment was clear at Spring Awakening. The festival continues to grow, evolve, and become a better festival for those attending. We’ll see you next year. <3