Last weekend, thousands of people were dancing in Chicago to enjoy the Spring Awakening Music Festival’s 5th year anniversary. Due to scheduling conflicts at Soldier Field, SAMF was held at a new location of Addams/Medill Park. Knowing the location change, fans were kept in suspense waiting for a lineup to drop. All was worth the wait when the full lineup was released a little over a month before the festival. Headliners such as Above & Beyond, Deadmau5, Zeds Dead, Kaskade, Cosmic Gate, Claude Vonstroke, Jamie XX, and Showtek stood out among many others.
Walking into a park is a little different compared to walking into the famous Soldier Field. As soon as you got close enough to hear the bass, it didn’t really matter where you were at because you start to get those pre-festival jitters and the need to dance soon takes over.
The festival was sponsored by Smirnoff and Vita Coco, who provided refreshments and the huge water slide. Saturday was the hottest day of the weekend and this slide was a perfect way to cool down from the 95° heat.
One of the things I noticed right away was the blending of sounds from stage to stage. This was a bit unenjoyable if you wanted to chill out to some house music you could still hear heavy bass from the stage across the way. A suggestion that I think would of been nice and I heard from other fans who were a little confused as to which stage was which, would of been to have been signs. I didn’t notice any signs or names of the stages at their location. This was a little confusing at first trying to decipher which stage was which. It wasn’t until you saw or heard who was playing before you could make sure you were at the right set. Fortunate for the size of the location and setup, it wouldn’t take you long to walk across the park to get where you needed to be.
The highlight of the weeknd for me was Saturday. Although it was extremely hot, I spent most of my time in the Trance Arena and was covered by shade. I started off by checking out A-Trak’s scratching abilities as he captures everyone with his skills keeping them engaged. It’s always interesting to see his sets because he tends to switch it up and always has you wondering what he’s going to drop. Across the way was Showtek. I don’t care how many times it’s played at a festival, whenever “Booyah” gets dropped by Showtek, the crowd goes nuts. It’s one of those songs you just have to stop, wait for the drop, and go ham.
Walking over to the Trance Arena, I knew that’s where I would be spending most of my night. Catching the tail end of John O’Callaghan the arena slowly started to fill up. Next up was the Egyptian trance duo Aly & Fila. With only Fadi (Fila) performing for the evening, he threw down just as hard as if both were playing. Just in time for sunset, Cosmic Gate graced the stage and the area was filled. When it comes to trance, you can always feel the energy and the love of everyone surrounding you. Everyone is there for the music. To feel the same euphoric tunes that brings everyone together dancing as one. We are Trance Family as we say. Not catching the name, Cosmic Gate dropped a new track and the crowd went wild. Planning on splitting the set with ATB and Kaskade, I decided to start with ATB. The LED screen behind him told a story and kept you in a trance, keeping you captured as he had a series of slow-building ascents and stimulating climaxes with his set sending chills through the crowd. The crowd started to disperse and the people left were the TRUE trance fans. Getting ready to head to Kaskade, I heard him give a sneak peak of “9pm Till I come” while playing “Don’t Stop” and I knew I had to stay for at least for that last song because it would come up soon. The screens filled with numbers counting up and down sending you in a state of trance as if you were going through a time travel and sure enough, “Till I come” was dropped. That song literally takes me back to my teens dancing in my room and I just closed my eyes dancing literally as no one was watching being captivated by the classic tune. I opened my eyes to see everyone dancing in sync hands in the air and you could tell ATB felt the energy and the love. He dropped “See you again” and that moment I knew I needed to close out the evening with ATB. It just kept getting better and better and then to hear him drop “Ecstasy” as everyone was in euphoria. Hands down ATB deserved to close out one of the main stages that night. That was by far one of the best closing sets I have ever seen and I am so happy I was there for the entire set.