Beats touch down this weekend
Spring Awakening electronic music festival set to invade Soldier Field this weekend
06/13/2012 10:00 PM
Soldier Field will be the host of Chicago’s first all-dance music festival, Spring Awakening, this weekend. React Presents, a Chicago-based event company, is bringing newly rejuvenated American rave culture to the lakeside stadium with over 70 performances on four different stages.
React’s relationship with Soldier Field began in 2010 with a similar one-night event featuring mouse-headed electro producer Deadmau5 (who also headlined last year’s Lollapalooza). It made the venue selection process a no-brainer for React when they were looking for a spot to host Spring Awakening, and allowed them to get creative when ticket sales and lineup growth called for an expansion inside the stadium.
“I really couldn’t say enough nice things about Soldier Field and how great it’s been to work with them,” said Zach Partin, publicist for React Presents. “They’ve been very open and supportive to ideas and have been more than helpful to try and make things we want to do happen.”
The concept of Spring Awakening began with a one-night event that happened for two years consecutively at the Congress Theater, where React hosts most of their concerts. The event brought in well-respected DJs from around the world and both years it sold out well in advance.
React felt the demand showed Chicago was ready to do a bigger electronic music event. With other dance festivals around the country growing, such as the Ultra Music Festival in Miami and the touring Electronic Daisy Carnival, they felt the Midwest needed a similar event.
The organizers are expecting more than 30,000 fans to come out to the event from around the world, Partin said.
“People are going to be listening to the best music in the world from the top artists in the world on the field where the Bears play,” he said. “We’re going to be bringing in a lot of production and very cool designs to really set the environment for what Spring Awakening is going to be. I think everyone’s going to be very surprised and blown away by everything that’s going on. It’s definitely far better than anything we’ve ever done at our other smaller events.”
Besides putting on concerts at Congress Theater, React also brings talent to Chicago clubs such as the Mid, Sound-Bar and Bottom Lounge. All of these venues will be hosting pre-parties and after shows all weekend after the festivities end at Soldier Field at 11:30 each night. The company is also in charge of events all around the Midwest, and this Labor Day Weekend it will present the third annual North Coast Music Festival in the West Loop’s Union Park.
Starting on Thursday, the setup process of turning Soldier Field into a nightclub will begin. The crew will work almost every hour until the first acts hit the stage. The other three stages will be scattered mostly throughout the southern part of the stadium campus. One stage will border Lake Shore Drive, another will sit in the southwest corner of the grounds and the final stage will run directly along the east side of the stadium.
Even though the music is focused only on electronic dance, cultural diversity won’t be hard to come by. Artists will come from all over the world such as headlining Dutch house superstar Afrojack, whose last appearance in Chicago was Lollapalooza 2011, to local talent such as Mid resident DJ Nathan Scott.
“We’ve done shows in the past year and a half, if not longer, with all of these artists. Along the way we’ve been mentioning to them these plans that we’ve had,” he said. “Everyone seemed really excited about it and everyone that’s involved is really excited to be coming back to Chicago to be playing for arguably some of the best fans in the world. We’re really ecstatic to put on a showcase of this magnitude. It’s not only for the fans, but for the artists as well.”