Breakaway Brings Good Times to Columbus

written by Jennifer Dawn Fall

Breakaway Music Festival at a glance

Imagine walking into a carnival-like atmosphere complete with stilt walkers, hula-hoopers, dancers, and gymnasts. But this isn’t megafestival EDC, it’s Breakaway; a small, second year, family friendly festival in Ohio. With just three stages—one with an old school warehouse party vibe, a concert arena style main stage, and a silent disco (my favorite)—it’s certainly easy to maneuver. The lineup features a combination of dance music and hip hop, with artists like Chance the Rapper, Alison Wonderland, and old school living house legend Benny Benassi.

Music genre: House, Trap, Dubstep, Hip Hop

Camping: No

Capacity: Small, between 7-8k

Crowd type: Ravers/ Hip Hop Heads/ Family

Water stations: Empty water bottles/ Camelbaks are allowed in, but we did not encounter a water station during our day there.

For the first-timers

Located at the Columbus Ohio Expo center this festival is convenient from most Midwestern cities. Many attendees are Ohio locals, but our drive from Indianapolis was an easy three hours. Flying into Columbus is an option if traveling from a longer distance, although I wouldn’t recommend that until the festival gets more traction and attention. For anyone in need of a hotel, a nearby Holiday Inn has reasonable rates. Plenty of parking is available at the Expo center for $20.00 a day.

Stage layout

As noted above, Breakaway’s three stages each provided different experiences. The Prime stage, a large building converted into a warehouse,was a great place to escape the heat and enjoy some air conditioning.

Breakaway’s silent disco was my first experience with such a set up, and it was surreal. You can see the DJ and the dancing crowd upon entering, but cannot hear the actual music until you are given a pair of headphones. Two DJs with two different styles played on different channels, providing a nice dose of variety.

Musical highlights

Breakaway offered both two day passes or single day passes; we opted for the latter due to work conflicts. We first headed into the silent disco for Shy Guy Says, a phenomenal Indianapolis DJ/producer whose trap sets will send a crowd into another world. He is absolutely electric behind the decks; you can feel his energy from miles away. Unfortunately, his set was cut short due to a thunderstorm, which caused more schedule changes and found us heading back to the silent disco for Lancelott. His trap/metal hybrid style literally turned the entire dance floor into a mosh pit, packing the silent disco to capacity.

Up and comer Griffyn played a top 40 set mixed with old school house and 90’s pop hits that was refreshing and fun. It was the standout set of the day for me. Think Kygo, but with a club sound. We were most excited to see Benny Benassi, who has been my favorite DJ since I started listening to house music 15 years ago. I had seen him in a club atmosphere, but never on a main stage. He pandered to the masses a bit with Skrillex’s remix of “Cinema”, and closed out with cherry-on-top “Satisfaction”. The crowd went wild when he moved from his recognizable house mix to a dubstep remix towards the end. The dancers and performers were absolutely electric to watch during his set, especially nice to see from a smaller festival.

Things to do

Breakaway is all about the music. We did peruse the vendors and found some excellent screen print shirts by a new company Flatwood. Other vendors had everything from light up led shoes to portable fans, which was smart considering the temperature was 98 degrees.


VIP tickets were only slightly more expensive than general admission, but the amenities were lackluster. There were separate bleachers for viewing of the main stage as well as a VIP bar and separate restroom, but lines were similar to that of general admission. I’d love to see what they improve on for next year.

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