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bukklee

Spring Awakening Music Festival

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I am. :thumbup:

Chicago's first 2 day EDM festival & it's at Soldier Field.

 

I know I'm talking to myself, most likely, but thought I'd ask.

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The festival I attended was Spring Awakening which was held at Soldier Field. For those of you who don’t know what that it, Soldier Field is where the Chicago Bears play. Nothing like this has ever been done in Chicago…ever.

 

I went with 3 friends and we all bought the VIP tickets. Mainly because of the access to the stadium bathrooms, since two of the friends were ladies. Days before the event I was made aware that glowsticks were a prohibited item. I was immediately bummed out because this was a big part of the reason I wanted to go. I basically only string in my house and I thought “what would be a better change from that, than to string in front of thousands.†With a lot of attempt at trying to reach the organizers, to get some clarity on led sticks, since in the ‘allowed’ items it had said lights were okay…I heard nothing back.

 

We took the train into the city, we live about 25 miles west of Chicago, so with traffic it can take up to 2 hours to get downtown. Plus who wants to drive in downtown Chicago? That shit is crazy! Anyways..we arrived downtown just before 3pm and we all decided to just walk to the venue instead of a cab ride. It was about a 40 minute walk along the lake which was beautiful with all the sailboats out on the horizon. I’m obviously baised because I live here, but Chicago IMO is the best city in the country from May- September. There’s just something special and unique about this city.

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I recommend everyone spend some time here at some point in their life. It really is one of the great cities on the planet. Unless you like gasoline and cigarettes..LOL.

 

As we turned the corner of the Museum we started to hear the not too distant thumping of speakers. I immediately recognized the music to be that of Krewella remix of Fire Hive. I started to get excited. I was still worried about my sticks but I was prepared to state my case to the security if necessary. We approached the entrance and when we got to the front we were then told we had to use the VIP entrance. This was a walk all the way around the stadium on a route that was not made safe by any standards. We were walking in the street because the fence reached all the way out to the curb. At this point we were not feeling very VIP but whatever. On this detour I showed a security guard my sticks and asked him if I was going to be able to get them in, he said “probably notâ€. Now I’m extra worried, but I decided not to sneak them in. As I approach the gates to get in, I’m ready to state my case when security lightly checked my hips and passed me through. I was blown away. Really?? This is what I was worried about. My friends bag wasn’t even searched.

 

When we got inside I still didn’t know if my sticks were still going to cause me trouble later, so I just thought I’d lay low and check out the situation. I suggest we head over and see the end of Krewella’s set. After walking for about 2 minutes I see 2 girls with hula hoops. I immediately new I was all good when it came to stringing later. If no one is stopping that girl from swing a hoop around then I have nothing to worry about. This made my mood change greatly, it wasn’t something I was concerned about anymore. Actually it made me anticapate the moment that I knew was to come.

 

My friends wanted to checkout the VIP situation and the Main Stage. We followed the signs for VIP Main stage which was one hell of a flight of stairs up to the famous pillars on the façade of the building.

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Inside these pillars was a very chilled smoking/rest area with sofas and a great view of the lake. The sofas were exactly what I needed at that moment, it was perfect, we needed the shade from the 98deg sun we had been walking in for almost 2 hours. There was a strong breeze blowing through and you could now hear the music coming from the second stage that we discovered. It was by far the smallest stage setup. At this point in the day, I counted 45 people in that area. It was kinda sad looking, maybe it was because it was lined with all the port potties. This was the last I saw of that stage for the night.

 

We headed into the Main Stage area and this once again became a confusing detour. We had to go back down another flight of stairs into the seating area. Once we got through this maze and we got to see how the stage and dance floor was setup I was pleasantly surprised. The stage was setup on one end of the field extended out to where the goalline would be. The rest of the field was all open. I instantly had the thought that this is the perfect venue for these kind of weekend music festivals. We are once again pleasantly surprised to find out that we are allowed to sit anywhere on the lower level all the way around the stadium. We picked what we thought were the best seats(in the shade) these were great seats. I wish I had brought my own camera, but the website had spooked me into not bringing it. I went to use the bathroom and there was no one in the entire bathroom, now that’s VIP!! That would change drastically as the night went on though.

 

On stage was a local artist named Zebo. I entered this festival with very little experience or knowledge of most of the acts, so all I knew about Zebo was that he was from Chicago. This turned out being one of my favorite performances of the day. When we sat down he was spinning the popular "Sandstorm," segueing into some Red Hot Chili Peppers, throwing eminem "Superman" into the mix and even laying down a remixed version of the original Legend of Zelda theme song made for some much appreciated variety. By the time Zebo wrapped up on the main stage at 5pm, it was clear the crowd was ready to party. I also realized that I had not et seen any kind of altercation between party-goers or even the sight of security. It’s ALMOST like they were giving everyone their respectable space. Call it irresponsibility or call it having a real understanding of what the vibe of crowd is. Everyone there seemed to be there for nothing but the music and for some that involved lots of drugs. It was everywhere.

We decided to stay put for another local artist Midnight Conspiracy on the main stage. Within this 1.5 hours the crowd on the field had grown in size almost 2x. I spent this time doing some people watching. This was my first event like this and it was a lot to take in. Across the field I see stadium workers doing something in the upper deck and then suddenly you see a huge rainbow from a giant spray of water to create a improvised cool down station. Within minutes a large group of kids flock to the mist and start dancing in the water. This would be a sign of things to come later. All I can recall from Midnight Conspiracy was that they really had the crowd involved and dancing.

 

Then A-Trak hit the stage. He was hands down the best DJ of the day. I’m now a big fan of his. We headed down into the main dance floor on the field and holy shit I have never seen so many kids rolling. It wasn’t however a dirty or grimey scene though everyone was having a good time dancing and hanging out with friends. I loved it. I was sober and enjoying it just as much. Those days are behind me now.

Next was Ferry Corsten, his was a great set too. My only regret was that we didn’t leave the main stage area for the rest of the night. I wanted to see Dillon francis but lost track of time and I wasn’t able to see him. I also missed gabriel & dresden.

 

Earlier I had decided that I was going to head to the back of the crowd and start stringing when Benny Bennassi came on. It seemed fitting since I was introduced to all this through Will’s videos which had Benassi Bros. songs in them. I had only seen 1-2 stringers the entire time I was in the seats which was kind of a bummer. Maybe the website worked and people left them at home. Anyways I turn on my ledz during Benny’s set and it was an amazing moment. Everything was perfect, with the music, with being on the field of Soldier Field, being outside on a what turned out to be a now comfortable temperature with a steady breeze. But after about a minute or two of spinning I started to get random people come walk right up to me and either ask me to give them a lightshow, where did I get them?, or can they use them? I was expecting this to a degree but not to the point where it would prevent me from stringing. I did have two guys approach me that were stringers too. I talked to them for a litlle bit, they liked my manips and I let one of the guys spin with them for a minute. I was hesitant but I’m a pushover and they seemed trustworthy. I continued to string anyways and most of the people left me alone after awhile and a few people took pictures. Then I saw a guy head my way doing double bicep wraps and he planted himself 2 feet in front of me, didn’t say anything just stood there doing bicep wraps. I stopped turned my lights off and then I noticed that a small group of kids had formed a little semi circle around me. And then a synchronized AWWWWW!!! Was heard. Just then the music suddenly stopped. WTF??? From where we were at, I couldn’t see what was going on. It was only 30mins into his set and it’s over.

 

Around this time all the other stages are closing for the headliner Skrillex. So there is a lot more people coming into the stadium now, so we decide to go back to the VIP seats. Well now they are the GA seats because security has been overrun by kids without wristbands and it’s a free for all now. This was the only bad side to the security being so relaxed. I bought the VIP tickets so I could get away from all the kids rolled out of their minds, from time to time. It didn’t affect me too much but I could see other people being upset with it.

 

As the countdown starts for Skrillex to start everyone notices that he’s half an hour early. Was this why Benny got cut short, to set-up Skrillex’s spaceship? That’s kinda bogus.

Before this I didn’t really care for Skrillex that much and I had tried to talk my friends into leaving much earlier than we planned just to beat the rush of people trying to leave later. Well I was the only one thinking that way so we stayed. His opening 5-10 minutes was great. I still can’t believe how many people were there and all of them were, hands in the air & jumping up and down and it was quite the spectacle. Then I started to feel some moisture on my leg. “Is that rain?â€. I start to try to tell my friend that I think it’s raining when the sky just opened up on everyone and it was now a rain rave w/Skrillex.

 

 

I can not begin to describe how amazing this part of the night was. I can only imagine how it must have been to be out in the middle of the crowd when it started raining. The lights going through the rain created a sparkling effect that mesmerized the crowd. This went on for over an hour. Just some crazy music and crazy kids dancing in the pouring rain, it was great. His stage show is very entertaining, even if you don’t care for the music much. I would compare Skrillex to Slipknot when it comes to people hating on them. I challenge anyone to go to either show and not walk away thoroughly entertained.

 

After we saw everything we felt we wanted to see we decided to leave about 15 minutes early to beat the crowd and find a taxi to get back to the train station for the last train that leave in about 80minutes. We get to the exit and we’re like “Fuck!!! It’s raining.†We start walking and we have a decision to make left or right . We choose right and it ends up being the wrong choice. It takes us on a walkway in the opposite direction that we need to go. We finally get to a street and there are no cabs…it’s still raining. We keep walking, there’s also about 200 other people on the street doing the same thing as us. As cabs go by it’s becoming apparent that they have no intention of picking anybody up. It was quite frustrating…it’s still raining. After about 20 minutes it becomes comical. “Screw it, we’re walking back†There was no point in a cab now, we are soaked to the bone.

 

We finally get back to the station and now we have to sit on the train which is blasting it’s AC. I thought my friend was going into hypothermia he was shaking so bad. It was really miserable, people were looking at us like we we’re crazy. So in the end, the rain made & killed the night. I just feel bad for all the kids that got stranded in downtown Chicago for a night because no cabs were picking them up.

 

I feel that this was a successful first time event for the City of Chicago and we may soon be competing with other regions as far as massive events. Especially because Illinois is SOOOOOOOOOOO broke that they are looking for revenue anyway they can. There is another festival at the end of August held by the same people that organized Spring Awakening, called North Coast Music festival. That is in it’s 3rd year and I am now getting interested in that since SAMF went so well. Pretty Lights & Knife Party are headliners….nuff said.

 

I apologize if parts of this rambled on some. English Composition was not my strong point.

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what an incredible review!!

 

This review alone has me interested in when yall's next big festivals

are gonna be cuz i'd love to come up and see chi-town!!

 

it sounds like chicago will soon be a contender for massives and

*gasp* possibly an EDC chi-town? *fingers crossed*

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what an incredible review!!

 

This review alone has me interested in when yall's next big festivals

are gonna be cuz i'd love to come up and see chi-town!!

 

it sounds like chicago will soon be a contender for massives and

*gasp* possibly an EDC chi-town? *fingers crossed*

Well it's been a few days have passed now since the event and I haven't heard anything negative in the local media or online. It must have been a success. They will for sure bring it back again next year. They have already said so on their fb page, for what that's worth. I can only think that it will only get better, since this was their first attempt.

 

EDC Chicago...now that would be good times for all. It could be done.

Except they would have to split they event grounds into 2-3 locations, all within walking distance of each other. One location would be Soldier Field, like for this last festival. That venue is at capacity around 35,000, without using the upper deck. That could get ugly. The next location could be just north of there at Grant Park, which is where Lollapalooza is held every year. That area last year held 90,000 people a day when they come through town.

Another location could be Millenium park. It already has a stage and it has the BEAN for cying out loud. *Chicago Bean...Google it.* I need to film me a video there...I've been meaning to for over 5 years now. Now that's procrastination.

They would have to shut down Lake Shore Drive for sure and that is a big issue, when it comes to traffic flowing into downtown. It would be a nightmare.

 

Otherwise they would have to move it out into the burbs in order to find a big enough space to hold an event that big. There is a nascar track in Joliet. I have no idea the setup there, but I only think of that because of Vegas.

Maybe someday, but for now I'm happy with this being an annual event here. You should plan for next year. GA tickets were only $60 each day or $100 for 2day pass. I'm sure it will go up a little next year but that seems cheap to me.

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