DJs Skrillex, Afrojack, Carl Cox, Benny Bennassi and many others made their way to Soldier Field this past weekend for the 1st entirely electronic music festival in the city- Spring Awakening. I watched firsthand as Lollapalooza’s Perry stage has expanded from a small corner stage to a huge canopy-covered house music experience over the past few years, and there is no question in my mind that electronic music has become increasingly mainstream. Spring Awakening may have been the organizer’s response to the growing house music fad, yet still something was missing at the first of its kind music festival last weekend.
Not only were many of the concert goers missing a majority of their clothing (guys opting for the shirtless look, and girls baring it in bras), but performers were also lacking the magic they usually cast during their sets. The biggest let down in my mind was Carl Cox, who at Ultra gripped the energy of the crowd with every track, but at Spring Awakening simply failed to deliver.
Photo: Max Herman
Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe the location of the festival was to blame for lackluster experience. With three stages living outside the stadium and the main stage set in the center of Soldier Field, it felt cool to stand on Bears territory, but the effect was ruined a bit when one looked around the stadium to find 80% of it empty. Sure, it is difficult to fill such a huge stadium to capacity and it is not surprising that Spring Awakening was not sold out, but it was unfortunate that there was no DJ set popular enough to fill Soldier Field more than halfway with fans.
There was one DJ that truly delivered this past weekend, though- Diplo. Mixing in classics like The Police’s Roxanne and treating fans to a new Major Lazer track, the Philadelphia-based DJ seemed one of the only genuinely excited to be playing for his Chicago audience. He handpicked and called up a couple of girls onto the stage at one point in true Diplo fashion and danced with his fans.
Photo: Max Herman
Other than that, Skrillex drew a large, hyped up crowd on Saturday night, but didn’t showcase anything extraordinary, Moby was a refreshing addition to the Spring Awakening mix, and up-and-comers Shermanology brought a unique twist on popular songs by adding live vocals.
Maybe my anticipation of Spring Awakening was tainted by my incredible Ultra experience in Miami or maybe this 1st electronic festival was just a test run for future years, but overall, Spring Awakening was a disappointment.
What did you think of Spring Awakening? Let us know!
Check back later for a video recap of the fest!