With the rise in popularity of EDM over the past two decades, I’m amazed that Chicago hasn’t had a festival celebrating the genre for a long time. We’re ten days away from the Spring Awakening Festival, in only its second year. They’ve put together another great lineup of talent from around the globe to keep the crowds moving all day and night. Last year’s inaugural fest was a great success, and this year they’re back at Soldier Field for three days of music sure to electrify the city.
Last year the fest was headlined by dubstep superstar Skrillex, but I think this year’s top of the bill is a step up. The big headliner I really want to see is Calvin Harris. His 2012 record 18 Months is a great display of how to do EDM right. I actually go back to his 2007 major debut I Created Disco. A friend of mine played a song off it for me, and it was so insanely catchy I was hooked right away. He’s topping Sunday the 16th, and he’s joined by a good deal of local Chicago talent like Gun Love, Trentino, and Nathan Scott.
Friday June 14th is opening night, headlined by Moby. He’s received a great deal of backlash over the past decade, but I think all that is over now. I never really understood it. Are there really that many Eminem fans who will hate a guy just because the rapper dissed him in a song? Maybe there are, I guess. Anyway, I find it hard to hate on a guy who made one of the first, and best, albums to popularize EDM. Play came out when I was in high school, and EVERYONE played it. “Bodyrock” is a touchstone of its time and in its way carved a path for guys like Aphex Twin and Chemical Brothers to gain mainstream acceptance. This headlining spot is a DJ set, and I honestly have no idea what he’s going to play-his stuff? Tiesto? Gordon Lightfoot? I guess you’ll have to show up to find out.
Bassnectar (aka Lorin Ashton) closes the night on Saturday the 15th, and of the headliners I know the least about him. He seems to play every festival there is, so he must have a wide appeal. I’ve heard the light shows at Bassnectar concerts are insane, so I’m looking forward to checking that out. Last year he put out a really dope track with Lupe Fiasco called “Vava Voom” that really pops. He’s also worked with gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, so the influences for his music are all over the place. If you’re like me and a bit unfamiliar, take solace in the fact that Saturday is the most solid day from top to bottom.
Looks to be a pretty exciting festival, and I’m looking forward to covering it for you. If you haven’t, you can pick up tickets for the fest here. There’s also a host of after parties at various venues around Chicago. I’m not sure what we’re doing on that front yet, but if you want to stay up to date with any and all pertinent info, follow me @music_defined and the Spring Awakening Fest @SpringAwakeFest and be sure to like both on Facebook. Also, if you live in the city or suburbs, for Pete’s sake take public transportation. It may take a bit longer, but it’s going to save everyone a lot of stress.