It\’s a wonderful time to be a part of the dance music sphere. The start of summer could only mean one thing for many of us: festival season.
The month of June is always busy for festival goers and music lovers; whether you\’re prepping up your camping gear or creating your very own customized schedule for the weekend, it\’s safe to say that emotions run high through all of this chaos. Excitement can turn into anxiety when trying to multitask and bounce around different stages at the festival ground. Don\’t worry, we\’ve got something to help you keep calm and rage on.
This entire festival culture has become more popular over the last few years and there\’s no doubt that an exponential growth in festival attendees and interest in dance music has been the reason for it. What coincides with this explosion is the progression of local festivals, with Spring Awakening quickly becoming Chicago\’s summer hotspot for dance music junkies. With more people demanding to check out what all the hype is about, React has done nothing but good for the expansion of this yearly celebration. The short but successful evolution of this festival in only 2 years is what makes this third installment so anticipating. Funding has been well spent to not only bring bigger and better stages, but to also bring even more talented acts than the last 2 installments.
Each year, it seems like it has gotten better. From the addition of a third day last year, to the addition of a second main stage this year, this festival now attracts some of the biggest DJs in the world to come together and cause some mayhem on this upcoming weekend. Calling the Spring Awakening lineup \’good\’ is an understatement; this lineup may be too good for some people to organize their daily plans. Luckily for you, we\’ve got some diverse selections piled up that you may want to check out.
Spring Awakening is full of different genre-based DJs for your liking, whether you enjoy closing your eyes and zoning out with melodic trance, or getting down and dirty with all the filth that comes with dubstep. That being said, I wanted to handpick some acts I believe have an abundance of variety.
These next listed acts bring variety to the table and cover many genres in the dance music realm. Just because an artist you\’re considering seeing isn\’t on here, doesn\’t mean you should skip out; this is all just an opinion based on my desire to open up people\’s musical boundaries.Furthermore, I present to you:
EDM Chicago\’s Spring Awakening: 10 Acts You Shouldn\’t Miss
These acts are numbered in order of time and day they play; example: DJ Snake is first because he plays on Friday before anyone on the list, while Kaskade is last because he is closing out the festival on Sunday.
1. DJ Snake
Friday is stacked not only with dance music veterans like Bingo Players, but also with some new players in the game. Parisian-based (like, he\’s from Paris) producer DJ Snake has spent much time in the spotlight this year. With Turn Down For What crushing various music charts, DJ Snake has now hit the main stage and will be playing from 5:30-6:30.
2. Alvin Risk
There\’s no doubt that Alvin Risk is one of OWSLA\’s finest. Known for being located somewhere in between the moombahton and dubstep genres, Alvin has been around enough to know how to throw down; he played a smashing 2 hour set at The Mid back in January. Featured in the big boss Skrillex\’s new album with their collab Try It Out, you should check Alvin Risk out if you feel like getting down at 108 BPM. He plays on Friday at The Hangar from 6:30-7:30.
Excision is known to be one of dubstep\’s heavyweights due to an unmatched sound and surreal energy. The Canadian producer has now taken his talent to a side project he created; Destroid is a futuristic dubstep rock band with all the glory and loudness you could imagine. The band also features Canada-based producer Downlink; this is as filthy as it can get. This will officially be Destroid\’s first time playing at a Chicago festival and you can jam with them at the Equinox Stage from 7:00-8:00.
4. Eric Prydz
For over a decade now, Eric Prydz has battled a two-front war; he has tackled the underground and emerged onto the main stage without forgetting his roots. This Swedish producer is indefinitely a progressive house legend; with stunning lights and visuals and an arsenal of tunes thanks to the decorated Pryda Recordings, we are sure Prydz will put on a spectacle. He plays on the main stage from 8:30-9:30 just before Friday\’s headliner, Tiesto.
5. Knife Party
If you\’ve followed Drum & Bass over the last decade, you\’ve surely heard of Pendulum. In 2011, band members Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen announced that they would focus on Knife Party, their side project. The world now stood unsure of what to expect; could this turn out bad? Well, it surely didn\’t. The Australian duo\’s blend of electro and dubstep also touch on all genres in between. Knife Party is on this list because of what they bring to the booth; there\’s a little bit of something for everyone in their act. Blood red visuals mixed with growling synths may spook you, but it will be worth it. You can get hyped and join the party (no knives, please) on Friday from 9:00-10:00 at the Equinox Stage.
6. Andy C
One of the UK\’s most popular genres lies within the Drum & Bass (DnB) scene. Fast paced, high energy, and raw basslines can best describe this type of music. English DJ Andy C is one of the pioneers of DnB; devoting nearly two decades of his life to music, his skills behind the decks are of standout quality. We are lucky to host a DnB legend like himself and if you\’re looking for something different, you should definitely check him out early on Saturday. He\’ll be taking over the Equinox Stage from 5:00-6:00.
7. Flux Pavilion
Here\’s a familiar face for you Spring Awakeners. UK\’s finest Flux Pavilion will be shaking the stadium with classics like Bass Cannon and I Can\’t Stop. C\’mon, we\’ve all heard those two tracks; they\’re dubstep classics from the legendary big boss of Circus Records. Flux will be playing on Saturday at the main stage from 8:15-9:15, which is an odd coincidence. He had nearly the same time slot as he did when he played the first Spring Awakening in 2012. Don\’t worry, he smashed his set back then and probably will this weekend.
8. Pretty Lights
I could ramble about Derek Vincent Smith for hours. I could talk about how Pretty Lights is more than just a headlining name on the lineup; I could go on about all of the talent involved in producing his music and live shows. Instead, I rather have you see for yourself. Lights and lasers will bounce off of every corner of Soldier Field, illuminating the night. Closing off Saturday at the main stage from 9:30-11:00, prepare to immerse yourself in a journey that\’ll leave you wanting more. Also, be sure to check out all of his music, which is available for free download on his official website.
Playing their first festival in Chicago, Dutch duo Blasterjaxx cannot be missed. The young producers have completely taken the scene by storm with their big room sound, perfect for stadiums like Soldier Field. Having support from industry leaders like Laidback Luke, Blasterjaxx is on the verge of only getting bigger. They will be playing the main stage on Sunday from 4:30-5:30.
How could we forget Ryan, you may ask? We most certainly didn\’t. Ryan Raddon, best known as Kaskade, will be closing off the entire festival. The magical moment of hearing Eyes live for the first time is unmatched; tears are inevitable. Kaskade stands for so much more than just his music which is what makes him so valuable. His history has easily made him one of the greatest American DJs of all time. It\’s an honor to be able to see him perform, let alone headline an amazing festival in Chicago. I\’m sure he\’s going to go extra hard considering Chicago is his true home, but you all must have known that already. Kaskade will play on the main stage from 9:30-11:00 on the final night; there\’s no other way I\’d want it to end.
I am no expert, only an enthusiast. I hope you enjoyed reading my suggested acts to see and I hope you may find something new to your liking. The dance music world has no time for genres, no boundaries to be oppressed in.
Legends from all over the world will gather together on this beautiful June weekend to play in a stadium full of people. Well, this isn\’t just any stadium, and we aren\’t just any people; Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, will host us Chicagoans for 3 amazing nights of love entangled with music.
It\’s finally that time of the year; Spring Awakening kicks off tomorrow. Have fun and be safe! Best regards from the EDM Chicago family.