Spring Awakening Music Festival 2013 (Review)

“Kid in a candy shop” doesn’t even come close to duplicating that pinnacle of a feeling while attending a music festival. Hopefully most of you can make a similar comparison, and for those of you that can’t… I’m going to put my writing skills to the test to try and convince you that during the summer, there is nothing better than attending a monstrous music festival. And not just any festival, but Spring Awakening, the largest of the electronic festivals in Chicago, the home of house music.

My apologies for not having any pictures/video with this. Our photographer had to back out at the last minute. Free your mind people. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but without words you can’t begin to see a photograph. Yeah, deep shit.

I’ve mentioned it before, but for those that don’t know, I live in the greatest city in the world. Chicago, plain and simple. I’m not writing to convince you of that, however, I am simply here to shed some light on an amazing festival experience. Spring Awakening, one of many music festivals held in Chicago each year was thrown for the second straight year by React Presents (who also put on North Coast and Summer Set) at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. One of the biggest differences from this year compared to 2012 was making it an entire weekend and not just two days. But let’s just cut to the chase… Read about and hear music from all of the sets I attended after the jump!

This will make you want to attend next year with FITA –>

Friday June 14 I stayed at the main stage all day… Well as long as I could. I missed Dirty South, Nero & R3hab… But saw 4 amazing sets.

Moiez – This youngster from Canada was the first to take the stage and instantly made a wonderful first impression. Mixing all of the big festival anthems I wanted to hear with some of the biggest drops to date, it was the perfect start to SAMF. Had a lot of his own edits/remixes to these huge anthems. Just take a listen below! I had pix on my iPhone (like the 5th row all day) but we all know how taking pictures in festival crowds goes…

Dean Cohen – The thing I remember the most from Dean’s set was this unreal remix to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Being only the second artist of the fest… It didn’t take long to finally hear that tune dropped in a set. Of all that performed, Dean was surprisingly super energetic. Maybe it was due to the fact he is only 18 and traveled all the way from Israel to play the main stage. His choice of drops were on point and even he himself was up there moving on stage. Couldn’t find the set, but peep his Soundcloud!

PANTyRAID – WHEN SHIT GOT REAL! Most of you probably don’t know, but I have a reallllllly BIGGGG soft spot for trap and just trap sets in general. Marty Party & Ooah threw down the perfect mix of dance floor ready trap/electro/dub from their own originals to massive remixes. Although they dabble in all sorts of genres, this was a trap heavy set that I just fell in love with. This was the start to the largest dance party I have ever experienced and really got the energy of the main stage crowd ready for Bingo Player(s). You’ll see why I did that in a second. I really wish I could find this set somewhere, but enjoy this stream of their new album Pillow Talk!

Bingo Players – Paul had to go to the hospital for emergency procedures and Maarten took over the decks not only for Spring Awakening, but NY & Vegas too. This is why he is one of the best DJ’s in the world today. Took over the decks and still absolutely obliterated this set. I went ape shit. I think I now know why my legs were so sore the next day… Found a decent video of a big enough majority of the set Maarten destroyed.

Saturday June 15 was probably my favorite day of the two (I had to miss Sunday). I hopped around this time and saw, in my opinion, some of the top artists right now.

DJ SOLO – If you ever get the chance to see DJ SOLO, do so NOWWWWWW! Maybe I am biased because I fully support DJ’s and artists from Chicago, but still this may have been one of the funniest sets I have ever witnessed. He is the epitome of fun and knows how to get the crowd hooked. Played in one of the side tents and was one of the first artists of the day. A friend of mine saw him at North Coast last year and said it was just a straight party. She wasn’t lying. What a perfect start to the day. Dropped dub, trap, house, and old classic remixes like the Grateful Dead’s “Casey Jones” and Vengaboys’ “We Like To Party.” Just a super fun party set.

Stratus – Another Chicagoan, Stratus blew the roof off the tent following DJ SOLO. Known for big festival ready dubstep and trap tunes, the bass head known as Patrick Stratton showed me why he belongs on Ultra Music’s label. Check out his Soundcloud. He just dropped a new track a few days ago. I still love Topher’s hit Hello Chicago, here is his remix of it. Get bassified. If you get the chance to see Stratus do it. Never once did I see him put on headphones. Mixed live like a champ and for a sec I thought he was gonna bust every knob on his mixer or blow the damn thing.

DotEXE – Was here for 10 minutes. Hearing this basshead drop one of my all-time fave trap remixes was good enough for me. Here it is.

Walden – For this experiment of the day… I chose to see Walden over Savoy at the main stage, seeing as I already saw Savoy. They still throw down. I enjoyed Walden’s set though. Straight progressive house. Pretty self explanatory. Also wanted to be close for Gramatik. I didn’t know a whole lot about him, but like every other prodigy, he’s only 18 years of age. Out of Australia, this young DJ’s future is looking super bright! If I remember correctly, his remix of Knife Party’s LRAD was the highlight of his set.

Gramatik – Only got to see the first half of Gramatik’s set, cause I had to go see the highlight of the festival in Floss at the mainstage. From what I did see of Gramatik though. Unreal. Dude is one of my favorite producers and has such an ear for making music. His bio: “I make music sometimes. But most of the time I just like to smoke weed.” My kinda guy. I followed in those footsteps during that set. And I forgot to mention he had a live guitarist on stage with him, which blew my mind and sounded incredible.

Flosstradamus – THE BEST SET OF SAMF. I am a trap head. I completely lost my shit. End of story. Everyone needs a lil Floss in their life. Another Chicago act and probably the hottest out next to Krewella right now. #HOODIEBOYZ peek a part of their set below.

Nicky Romero – So I met up with one of our other writers, Gramm3r, after Floss… And the thing I remember most about this set, was immediately calling when he would drop Guetta & Glowinthedark’s “Ain’t A Party” which may be my favorite festival song right now. I nailed it and him and I went ape shit and started a dance party. You all should’ve been there. He’s the hottest ticket in EDM right now if you ask me.

Zeds Dead/Wolfgang Gartner – Caught half of each, and from what I remember seeing, both were excellent. Dead closed it down outside and everyone started flooding the football stadium for Wolfgang and Bassnectar.

Bassnectar – Lorin destroyed it. Just absolutely destroyed it. Played the perfect set. If you have yet to see the bass god himself, I highly suggest doing so, even if you are broke as shit. Experiences like this I will never ever forget. Just the perfect way to end the biggest electronic festival Chicago will experience this year.

What woulda been my Sunday lineup… Topher Jones, Carnage, Showtek, Krewella, Chuckie, Porter Robinson, Excision, Calvin Harris (yeah I was pissed I had to drive to Indiana for work this day).

FITA looks forward to seeing you there next year!


Thanks for sharing fam! Stay in touch!