cover photo by Daniel Lopez
Spring Awakening let us know it’s officially festival season in Chicago! Two weekends ago, the city known for its weekly neighborhood fairs and fests, hosted its first major music festival of the season; the 7th annual Spring Awakening. On the festivals 3rd year in Addams-Medill Park in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood, (SAMF moved from Soldier Field in 2016) long-time festival attendees seem to have finally settled into the new location. Despite gloomy forecasts and a little bit of Day 3 mud, SAMF was giving off their best vibes in years.
Getting into the Venue:
Inside the festival gates was a familiar layout: 6 stages, food trucks, and carnival rides. On either side of the main stages, you can find VIP and a 21+ viewing area. HOT TIP: You have to be 21+ to enter either one, and they both provide prime viewing, bathrooms, alcohol and a less dense, more mature crowd. So if you’re looking maximize your fest funds, you can pass up this VIP experience and still feel VIP treatment! Thanks, SAMF!
A few new changes this year, on day one festival goers were shuffled through a new corralling system for ID checks entering the festival, and one of the most aggressive body searches I have experienced in a long while. It seemed no boot, bra band or wallet went uninvestigated, although SAMF did not have metal detectors onsite, which they had first added in 2016, post Pulse Nightclub. In response to many complaints regarding the dangerous length of the 2017 Water Refill line, that more spouts were added, as well as a system to better organize the line. SAMF, I appreciate you hearing our concerns, however, I still think you can do better! One station for the entire festival just isn’t enough, and despite your improvements, the line was still way too long—and the temps were only in the 70s!
While we are on the topic of water, did you check out the Boxed Water booth? For each festival goer that shares a picture on their social media with a Boxed Water hashtagging #betterplanet, they will plant TWO trees! Festival Squad is not at all affiliated with Boxed Water, but if you see them at another festival, make sure to stop by—conscientious festing is something we all should get behind! Check out the Festival Guy’s #30DaysToFestPro to learn more tips on how to be eco-friendly while festing!
On this cooler than average weekend, the music brought the heat! My top three sets of the weekend include: Zeds Dead, Flux Pavillion, and Big Gigantic. On Friday night my group was torn between ZD and Tiesto, and somehow in transition between the two main stages, we were sucked into Destructo’s set. Not my usual sound, but I would have stayed there all night if it didn’t mean missing Zeds Dead! Aside from my top three, other highlights include Alison Wonderland, Tritonal, Seven Lions, Cash Cash, a well-received-last-minute substitution of Zedd for Dash Berlin and a rowdy show of Flux Pavilion B2B Doctor P to rival Deadmau5’s cube and Kaskade’s hometown visit. All weekend long it was like you really couldn’t go wrong!
In its seven years of existence, Spring Awakening has grown to offer 100+ sets with cross-country and international attendees. The musical menu of progressive house, dubstep, electro house, techno, trance, and trap is enough to satiate the appetite of any EDM fan looking for a mid-sized festival to kick off the summer!