Having attended all 5 Spring Awakening Music Festivals, I can honestly say it has been exciting to see the festival grow from its infancy, to what is now THE EDM festival to attend in Chicago. React Presents’ other festivals may have been around longer, or shorter, but none offer more in terms of EDM than Spring Awakening. A quick search of the hashtag #SAMF16 on Instagram solidifies this claim, as people from all parts of the US attended this year’s festival.
It seems that most large EDM style festivals in Chicago have to deal with politics and neighborhood drama. Spring Awakening was no different, with its several location changes. Instead of focusing on this year’s challenges let me roll right into why this year’s festival was bigger, better and more organized.
Though React was not able to secure its original festival location (Jackson Park) and rumors of Washington Park quickly vanished online, the end result of Addams/Medill Park was a great one. It was a good size, in a decent area, and very accessible via CTA. When the festival map originally came out, there was a worry of sound bleed between the two larger stages. However, I did not experience that the entire weekend. In my opinion, React should try to use this park again. If not for Spring Awakening, than maybe North Coast Music Festival since Union Park has become crowded as the festival gets more popular each year.
Food/Beverage vendors as well as merchandise shops are always plentiful at reacts festivals, but what made this year’s Spring Awakening stand out was the free resources to address the heat. Not only were there free watering refill stations near the vendors, Addams/Medill Park’s entire basketball court was transformed into a misting station, just in case patrons needed to cool off. A CTA bus was also added to travel around the park picking up people that needed/wanted to sit in AC for a little.
The biggest draw to any festival is its lineup, which is why this year’s festival was the best ever. Huge headlining names Kaskade, Above & Beyond, and the one and only Deadmau5 drew the large crowds. React expanded to two branded stages each day that gave everyone something to look forward to. The recycled artists from years past were kept at a minimum which was refreshing to say the least, and the silent disco was filled with local talent that gets better each year.
I will be attending future React events and I hope you do, too. Support from the consumer only allows them to continue doing what they do. See you at the next festival or dance floor.