REVIEW: Spring Awakening Treats Chicago to 3 Days of Dance Music Delight

            An estimated 35,000 ticket holders flocked to Addams-Medill park in Chicago this weekend to commemorate Spring Awakening Music Festival’s sixth year of production as both bass and temperatures alike soared. The React Presents supported festival was notable for its sell out of not only its 3-day GA passes, but its single-day Saturday tickets, Saturday emerging as the event’s most heavily populated day, and arguably, its most star studded, with performances delivered by Diplo, Excision, Rufus Du Sol, Yellow Claw, Paul Van Dyk, ZHU, Armin Van Buuren, and various other top billing dance music artists. Live on location for all three days of the event, Crust Nation received intimate first exposure to the Chicago mainstay, allowing us to thoroughly review the festival. Here’s what we thought:

Pro: Lineup Diversity

            Spring Awakening has exercised its many years of production to curate a reputation for itself as a festival that consistently curates some of the finest acts in dance music each year. SA’s 2017 edition was no let down with respect to the event’s track record, hosting artists across genres at five different stages, including the Bass Kitchen, Trance Arena, and Anjunadeep stages. While scheduling conflicts at any festival are inevitable, the festival noticeably attempted to schedule artists of a variety of genres across the festival’s time slots, creating options for all in attendance, taste aside.

Con: Festival Organization

            With temperatures reaching into the high 90’s, ticket holders packed into Addams-Medill park with water backpacks in tow, yet many festival goers would find themselves breaking out their wallets instead of their hydration packs as lines at the festival’s water stations reached nearly across the length of the park, leading to water waits that could extend to at least an hour. Several of the festival’s beverage stations ran out of water bottles for sale, yet quickly restocked upon their depletion. Given the heat wave, the water stations were ran ineffectively, causing a safety issue.

Pro: Production

            A Reddit user on the SAMF thread remarked that 2017 was the “first year since 2014” that pyrotechnics were used during all three-days of the festival. Fireworks, confetti, and flames were in abundance this weekend, especially at the festival’s main stage, the Solstice Stage, amplifying the quality of the performing DJ’s drops. Once dark, SAMF proved its capacity to light up the evening.

Con: Park Curfew

            The complaint of many SAMF attendees this year was the festival’s early closure, concluding routinely at 10 PM each evening. Although the result of Chicago park curfews and therefore not the fault nor the responsibility of the festival itself, the early curfew did impact the festival’s reach of production, with the sun only beginning to set around 7:30-8 PM each evening. As many would agree, the festival experience improves as the night grows darker, an ideal backdrop for pyrotechnics and laser displays especially. The festival’s early termination led many to invest in tickets to official SAMF afterparties.

Pro: Very 21+ Friendly

            Music festivals traditionally offer a 21+ area for those of age to enjoy beverages to a live DJ, and SAMF accordingly provided attendees with the Corona sponsored “Electric Beach” area, where ticket holders could win prizes, cool off, and dance in the sand, the area its own sort of tropical getaway in the heart of the park. SAMF additionally offered various 21+ areas with their own beverage stations, as well as a variety of beverage stations that catered to those 21 and over via a wide variety of drink choices, ranging from handmade tequila and vodka based mixed drinks, to Monaco canned alcoholic choices, to the festival’s own blended concoctions, served in a SAMF branded souvenir cup. SAMF ranked as one of the most 21+ friendly festival productions based on the variety of its drink menus and 21+ areas.