Written by Natasha Lenart
Photography by Fatima Hasan
Spring Awakening Music Festival has come and gone once again. Overall, this event was an absolute hit and our crew had an incredible weekend! Let’s look back at this year’s festival, where many new changes were implemented.
For its 2019 edition, Spring Awakening announced its move to a new location again. However, this venue was larger and boasted way more to offer than previous years. The festival’s new location in Hoffman Estates, which was essentially the Sears Centre’s massive parking lot, was promising.
Despite moving venues and the nightmare that must be for organizers, it is obvious that the highly experienced and extremely talented team at React were able to smooth over any rough patches leading up to and during the weekend. Lines to enter the festival grounds were not long at all, parking was quite convenient if you don’t mind a little walking, and the stage designs / overall production quality was excellent. The immense dedication to this festival by organizers is palpable and makes me believe, with confidence, that Spring Awakening will be an essential music festival for Chicagoans for years to come.
Our only issue throughout the weekend was the sound bleed from The Hangar tent stage to Equinox stage. Once at The Hangar, the only real place to totally escape the sound of the massive stage next door was to either be very close up, or far off to the opposite side of the tent, away from Equinox stage. For next year, I feel like a lot of ground at Solstice stage can be used to avoid the sound bleeding issues that occurred this year.
In my eyes, Spring Awakening has always been a revered festival where you can find huge artists from a variety of electronic music genres. Legends headline even a tent stage because there are just too many good artists to fit into one time slot! This year, a few of our top sets included:
Man, what a way to close out the festival. Every time I see Benny Benassi, he steals the whole show for me. Every time I see him I say, “That’s the best set I’ve ever seen him play.” How is it that he just keeps getting better as time passes? In the beginning of the set, he dropped Cinema – an absolute classic to all of us. The whole crowd was reeling with energy and singing along as loud as we could. And then, to the surprise of every person there, he dropped Skrillex’s remix of Cinema and everyone went wild.
House music…’nuff said. This set was dope as heck, and the crowd was loving getting up on their feet and dancing. I love Malaa’s raw, dark vibes and believe his aesthetic has a powerful influence on the crowd. He has become a very popular, unique producer over the last few years and his live performances are totally wild!
Excision Detox Set
As Lost Lands veterans, we’ve seen a number of Detox sets by now, and they’re always quite enjoyable. I feel bittersweet when artists step out of their usual comfort zone because I am a hardcore music purist and want every artist to make the same material that I know and love. But with time, I’m beginning to appreciate when an artist steps out of their usual tempo or style and dives into new stuff that feels more like themselves.
This was actually my first time seeing Matroda live and I was totally impressed. He has some great bass house tracks that set him apart from other producers. Over the past few years, he has been making serious strides in the music industry and I can’t wait to continue to see his growth as time progresses. His summer schedule is totally stacked so I would definitely recommend checking out one of his upcoming performances if possible!
If you’ve been listening to dubstep as long as we have, you know Rusko is one of the OGs. He has played a major role in popularizing dubstep from underground to the festival-ready, international level. Rusko has continued to pursue his own artistic vision rather than following trends, which is one of the many reasons why it was an absolute blast catching his set at Spring Awakening. His work has always remained true to its UK culture, with roots in the reggae, hip-hop, and rave scenes, making him a true legend in the electronic music community.
This live show was absolutely incredible. GRiZ has such a strong stage presence, he was truly born to perform. During his set, he intertwined sweet bass bangers with his funky melodies and even had quite a few guest performers onstage with him to sing and rap. He kept switching up the tempo and style of his set, demonstrating his diverse musical abilities and once again leaving fans in awe.
As the mastermind behind WAKAAN, Liquid Stranger always throws down a great set. I’ve seen him over 15 times and have never been disappointed. He includes the perfect blend of highs and lows within his performances and his tracklist is consistently superb. He is an advocate and supporter of many up-and-coming producers, so he always plays out fresh music too!