Three days of Spring Awakening came and went as quickly as I lost my voice.
This festival is known for its plethora of artists from different styles of EDM music, all thrown into one giant festival. With two big stages, two smaller stages, and little places all over the grounds to listen to artists, there was always music being played and there was always someone dancing.
With a line-up of over 90 artists, there was someone for everyone. There was headbanging, shuffling, fist pumping and thousands of smiles. This festival truly brought out the best in many people.
Walking in on Friday — I was unsure what to expect — I had never been to a festival before, but I was immediately greeted by bass bumping and dancing. I felt at home the minute I walked through security.
I also quickly realized that this was not just for people from Chicago-area, people from across the United States were here to enjoy the same music. I met people from California, Colorado, and other states that seem really far away, but these people seemed like they were right at home.
This year, it was hosted at Poplar Creek in Hoffman Estates (right next to the Sears Centre). It was an interesting place for a festival — some of it was on a parking lot while the rest was in wood chips. This seemed kind of odd but also kind of fitting.
The venue held vendors from many different local restaurants as well as food trucks from staple restaurants everyone knows. With that, there was a carnival vendor that you see at every single fair since you were a kid. There were also local and national businesses that are closely associated with festival and rave scenes, selling their products to SAMF goers. Additionally, Tents were set up for people who created and sold their own brands, which is something you do not see very often that really surprised me.
The stages were amazing. The set up for the main stage was something I had never seen before — a staggered that made the visuals from artists much more appealing to the eye.
On the same ground as the main stage was the silent disco area, which is truly a party (if you make it one). I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would! Right next to it was a Corona dome, where I saw one of my new favorite artists. It was a chill dome for just enjoying the music and dancing while covered from the sun.
Two more covered small stages proved to be phenomenal. Each stage helped the music echo the perfect way and kept goers out of the heat. There was also a stage for mostly the more dubstep artists — a place to headbang and jump around like crazy.
I could keep talking about stages and boring logistics, but let me tell you about the artists!
Soon before the start of SAMF, one of their headlines, sadly, had to pull out of the lineup due to an injury, but he was quickly replaced by a hometown hero to Chicago natives, Kaskade. He came in and closed the show on Sunday in such a magical way.
I found so many artists at this festival that I never would have listened to on my own if I was not there. I learned so much about different types of EDM. I was never big into dubstep or riddim but, after seeing some amazing artists, I can now see myself listening to things like it a little bit more in the future.
I was able to hear some amazing artists who, before this, I only listened to on Spotify. I got to see and hear them live in person. I got to meet two amazing artists who I had been listening to for months and then, discovered an entirely new artist who has truly made me rethink my taste in EDM.
Spring Awakening is the place to not only hear the best EDM music of the current moment but to also be able to express yourself and meet new people. I was never one to wear neon or dump glitter on my face. But, holy crap did SAMF bring out this whole other person from inside of me. I truly felt like I was myself.
This is not just about a music festival.
This is about an open environment where there is only love and music. Spring Awakening — no matter how people complain about the venue or the expensive food or the thousands of people crammed closely together — is truly a place to realize who you are.