“Without music, life would be a mistake” is a quote that the famous German philosopher Fredrich N. once said and is something I could easily apply to all the events that took place this past weekend at Spring Awakening Music Fest. For the last three months, The Dankles put in an extended amount of time, energy, and sleepless nights letting everyone and their mother know that history would be made at Soldier Field this weekend with over 60 of the worlds leading electronic music artists applying their trade all under one roof. Before we being with the recap…..I’d like to personally thank everyone that helped us out along the way: Zach, Martin, Adam from React Presents, Vladimir the Photographer, Brandon from Smile for Camera, Mac & Smash, Face Melt Chicago/Ground Lift Media, Nicki Spoons, The Dankles Rage Family, my parents and sister, and especially Krystyna for being there for me in so many ways over the past 3 months and supporting me through it all. With that said……..Let the story BEGIN!!!
The day started at 9 am for me as I woke up feeling real sluggish due to combining the beach, an airport pickup, a pon.de.preparty, and staying at The Mid till 4 the previous night. After quick run to grab some coffee, I began to assemble my accessories for the day into a bag and wake up those sleeping at the house while making phone calls/texts. We took off from HQ around 1 to head down to Soldier Field using the “L” and our feet as our main source of transportation; once we checked into media, we made our way to Da Equinox Stage to start the festivities with Chicago’s very own Krewella.
Nothing could have prepared us for the madness and mayhem that went down as Krewella made an everlasting impression on those in attendance. Everything from dubstep, to drum & bass, and some electro house was played over an hour long set that kept the crowd loving every minute of their performance. While walking backstage, we were shocked to see Leighton from Adventure Club hanging out along with a brief appearance from 3LAU before his set. Convenient for us….we were able to walk with him over to Da Drive Stage after Krewella’s set to watch his performance.
Once 3LAU took the stage, it appeared that the ruckus that took place at Krewella’s stage must have traveled with us because, the crowd erupted into anarchy on multiple occasions. Men and women, girls and boys, and even the handicapped couldn’t escape the deadly house sounds 3LAU delivered to a packed audience. After all was said in done, I took a quick stroll over to see recent interviewee and all-around nice guy Manic Focus set which featured The Dankles very own eMJay playing violin alongside him. Following a 15 min hangout in front of Da Colonnades Stage, we decided to take our first peek inside to see what Da Main Stage looked like and my oh my what a sight met our eyes.
It was quite odd to see the staduim that showcases the famous Chicago Bear’s talent (or lack thereof) turned into field that housed well over 10,000 people from the electronic music world. The green grass was covered by a white platform to protect its beauty and the northern endzone featured a massive stage that would hold some of the heavyweights of the festival. When we arrived, Midnight Conspiracy had just started their set which featured a whole lot of dubstep/DnB goodness that sent wobbles into the bones of the crowd. Though we were hoping greatly for another glimpse of The Eye, MidCon’s performance was entertaining nonetheless and we were able to see the Radio Edit AV homies putting in work to film the whole thing.
Right when MidCon finished their set, my ears were treated to the sound of the infamous “Foooooooools Goooooooold” ring as A-Trak began plugging in his equipment. Once he began turning the tables, the crowd began boogieing on down to the classic beats that A-Trak is know for producing. Gem’s like his remix to The Night Out and The Big Bad Wolf among others made for quite the show, but I had to depart the press area after 20 mins and head back to Da Equinox Stage since Kill The Noise was performing at the same damn time.
KTN bass levels could be heard from the entrance of Soldier Field and after I made my way over to his stage, I was greeted to seeing some of the Rage Fam already breakin a sweat and my good friend Exhale asking if I’d like to come backstage to hang out for a bit. Once in the backstage VIP area, I encountered Dillon Francis while he was hanging around the artist canopy tent before his set. As he began to gather his belongings in order to go on stage next, I sat down to drink and partake in things of the green nature with a few other people.
We all went back out on stage to watch the beginning of Dillon’s set and he might have had THE intro of the weekend as he dropped a completely new version of Kanye West’s Mercy track that was trapped the hell down. After a few minutes, I was guided back to the artist canopy and saw KTN hanging out with some friends as people came in to congratulate him on a job well done. We shot the sh*t for a few minutes as we listened to Dillon throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the crowd. This was when one of the stage managers came back stage and told us that a storm might be heading towards the area and we should seek shelter elsewhere. With that said, we decided it was time to head to the main stage and enter the press area early for a good view of Skrillex.
Masses upon masses of people has flocked to Da Main Stage to wintess history in the making as Benny Benassi set was cut early to allow the main headliner take the stage and give the audience exactly what they paid for. It’s strange to think that last Novemeber, long before we had any connections to people in the industry, we were able to see Skrillex, 12th Planet, Dillon Francis, and Alvin Risk for absolutely free thanks to Reacts Mayhem at The Mid events and now each one of their fee’s has either doubled or tripled in just a few short months while their exposure has grown internationally now. With 3 Grammy’s now to his name, Skrillex took the stage inside his mothership and lead the audience on one hell of a ride.
Right from the word go, Skrillex began infiltrating the ears of everyone at Soldier Field with his bass-heavy tracks at what seemed to be an accelerated rate. Twerkin’ the stage like a champ, the crowd was dancing to every drop, stop, and vocal point that Skrillex orchestrated from his ship. Old bangers like The License were played along with some new trap tracks. Then around the 10:15 mark, the sky’s opened up and rain began to fall down on us; this triggered Skrillex to get on to the mic and say “It’s raining down on the beautful city of Chicago,” as he went into playing Right on Time to our delight. We didn’t back down from the rain and fully embraced the coolness of it all, as we raged until the last song before heading out way back to the house to change and split up for our respective aftershows. Though this only day 1, Sunday’s events were even more outlandish then what took place Saturday and the story of one of the best days in my life will be out tomorrow!