Review: Spring Awakening Music Festival Dominates Amid Location Issues

Another year has come and gone for Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago. And boy, are we sure thankful it comes back year after year. This time around, SAMF hit a little bump in the road. The festival has had a few locations since its inception in 2013. Originally, it started in the famous Soldier Field outside grass. Due to popular demand, it then included the actual field! After a few successful years, a scheduling conflict with the stadium forced SAMF to relocate to Adams/Medill Park on the southwest side of the city. After three years at the park, neighborhood officials decided to upgrade the park. The construction caused SAMF to, again, look elsewhere. And for this year, the festival found its home at Poplar Creek in Hoffman Estates. Without a doubt, the venue is not close to the city. But that did not stop React Presents, the event production company in charge of SAMF and many other festivals, from having the festival run smoothly. React gave detailed instructions on how to get to the event from all the different parts of the surrounding areas as well as recommended hotels. Many realize after each year the amount that React cares about the safety and enjoyment of each attendee. I’ve been to plenty of festivals in my lifetime. This year, the sound at each of the five stages was tuned perfectly. The main stage was designed in a way that many have never seen. It appeared to replicate the city skyline. Each of the other stages were positioned to accommodate the attendees and each well-known artist that came on stage. Some of the artists that made their way to Poplar Creek include GRiZ, Zedd, Rezz, Liquid Stranger, Dombresky, Malaa, Herobust, Excision, and local artist Kaskade. An artist that stole the show was Detroit-native Grant Kwiencinski. Better known as GRiZ, he has transformed his performance over the last year. After taking a one-year social media break to focus on mental health and where he wanted to take his act, it’s very clear that he has put so much effort into it. He brought with him inspiring messages projected on screens for all to see. GRiZ also works with many other artists such as Probcause and Muzzy Bear. Each performer with Grant specializes in an instrument and brings intense funk energy to the show. GRiZ’s excitement and dedication is easily felt as he performs. Fans are insanely thankful for his return and show their loyalty to him as much as they can. His set is refreshing, liberating, and downright fun. This festival is a highlight for Chicago and we can only wait for the next one! Thank you to React for all they do. The city is excited for all the pleasant surprises for the next year and beyond!
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Katie Steensma