Spring Awakening Brings Back Chicago's EDM Culture

Spring Awakening is a festival that I can only describe with one word, "nostalgia." Growing up in Chicago's EDM scene, I would attend concerts at the controversial Congress Theater where I had my first experiences with EDM. We saw the likes of Rusko, Calvin Harris, Adventure Club, and Pretty Lights roll through, and Chicago's also the city where Kaskade and Autograf hail from. There was something gritty about the EDM scene we had here, engulfed in a loving atmosphere of headbangers and kandi-kids alike. Then one day, EDM became more mainstream. It became the "new" popular sound of music, and we started hearing DJs spinning records on the radio to the lament of parents all over the north shore. Kids began flocking to the Perry's stage at Lollapalooza and the crowds at Aragon Ballroom became filled with bros sporting their favorite NBA jersey. The EDM culture at Chicago shows disappeared. The headbangers retreated to the back of the crowds, and the hula hoopers hung up their toys or fled to Electric Forest.

React Presents did something special in 2008 - they tried to keep the EDM culture alive. Spring Awakening started as a series of concerts that finally culminated into a two-day festival in Soldier Field in 2012, which was the first year I attended. There was something beautiful about a festival celebrating EDM happening in the center of the city that is the birthplace of house music. The crowd was absolutely fantastic. The energetic crowds I remembered from shows growing up came back to me. I've been year after year since then for the amazing crowd alone, with my favorite year being 2015 when Kaskade returned to Chicago to perform a live set closing out the weekend. There's absolutely nothing like the feeling of seeing a DJ perform in his or her home city; the energy is unreal. 

Spring Awakening returns again this year to Addams/Medill Park to accommodate its growing fan base. With over 80 artists, the 2017 lineup features headlining acts such as Armin van Buuren, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Datisk, Galantis, and Diplo. If you haven't yet, get your tickets here before they sell out. It'll be a weekend to remember, you won't want to miss this and read about it later!