Festivals

Photo Diary: Spring Awakening Musical Festival 2018

Two months ago, it was snowing in Chicago. And sticking. The idea of summer and fun seemed like it would never come.

And then, as the hype for Spring Awakening Music Festival began the week before, the news broke that Virtual Self, the incredible Porter Robinson’s second project, had canceled. While many may not know who Virtual Self is, this set on Sunday’s lineup drew many local fans and out-of-state fans from far. It was quite an emotional blow.
 
However, GA still sold out. And the forecast came around and it showed cold and rain for all three days.
 
In its third year at Adams/Medill Park and it’s now been proven that the park can handle the crowd and acts. But how about the rain?

We lucked out. A sweatshirt was all that was needed and some rain boots. The weather gods wanted Chicago to enjoy the long awaited return of summer.

Deadmau5 brought his $2 million cube stage setup that TOWERED over the thousands in the crowd. Afrojack debuted his collab with Nicky Romero. Legends Sasha & Digweed offered many IDs that Shazam could not pick up. Flux P & Doctor P provided an extreme dubstep set that happens once in a lifetime. And Big Gigantic knew how to throw down with their funk. And as for Virtual Self? Wow. We were treated to a beautiful and elegant Porter Robinson DJ set that covered all genres and left the audience in tears and in silence as the Shelter acoustic chords went silent and transitioned into Sad Machine (Gammar remix) to really solidify his mark on that stage.

The Corona Beach Tent had the rising star Minnesota play a very intimate set and you could have even shoot hands with Pete Tong (yes, you’ve heard his voice on BBC Radio) in the bubble as well. Trance superstar Markus Schulz even took the time to sit with me and explained the beauty of sharing his heart with each crowd he plays to.We are so lucky to have a taste of that.

SAMF has been through the ringer. But the show has to go on. It’s SAMF. This was Spring Awakening’s 7th year in Chicago. This festival is not going anywhere. And each year I go, I’m greeted with wonderful people, staff, stage production (hello Equinox), and acts that will always keep me coming back for more. Many leave, from all over the US, come to this fest and leave feeling content and with full hearts.


All photos by Katie Steensma

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