Spring is without a doubt awoken, after the shows that were featured at SAMF last weekend. We took on our second festival of the season, but first three-day, in Chicago. The festival provided a crazy weekend of huge stages, eardrum-pounding sounds, and a healthy serving of other attractions and vendors. The weekend was a huge success in our books so we are really excited to tell you about what we thought. As always a huge shoutout to everyone who had a hand in making SAMF happen: SAMF staff, DJs, vendors, and of course the amazing fan base. It was such a positive experience and because of all of you, we get to bring it all here to Where’s The Vibe.
Poplar Creek looked to hold this year’s Spring Awakening and gave up a view of Chicago to have a more spacious venue. The venue was gigantic and filled to the brim with things to do. With five advertised stages but seven including the STFU Silent Disco and Corona Beach, there was no shortage of music. The presence of so many listening opportunities allowed you to hear any sound you wanted, however, because the stages were so close the sound bled over. The Equinox Stage was polluted by sound from Solstice, The Hanger, and The Function. The Hanger and Function were affected by each other and the Equinox stage. This crossover of so many sounds, at the smaller stages, made them seem quieter and took away from the DJ’s playing them. The Solstice Stage (Main Stage) was located in a spot that no sound was really playing in its direction, which was a great choice. The placement of the Solstice Stage also provided different terrain from the rest of the venue. All the other stages were rooted on pavement, where the Solstice was grounded on dirt and mulch. This difference provided a different dance feel, while also posed an issue on Day 1. The ground was actually too moist day one and the SAMF team had to act fast to rectify that and not let too many sets get pushed back. Phenomenal response by there staff and set up crew actually made that happen- which we were happy to see since we came early to see a Solstice Stage set.
Beyond the stages, everything else about the venue seemed to work so well. There were plenty of restrooms at different locations throughout the venue- any one of them was a short walk from you. All of the non-music attractions, like the Ferris Wheels and Kia/Sirius Radio booth, were in the center of the venue. With those attractions was the bazaar of food and vendors, that featured everything from rave gear to chicken and waffles. The water station was behind all of that as well. All of these spaces were able to keep smoothly running through the whole weekend. There really was never an issue getting through any line or space, which is so great when you are stage jumping- like we were.
Spring Awakening had an absolutely amazing line up this year. With five stages, amazing production on each, and three days, it became so hard to choose where to spend all of our time. We managed to see a TON of sets, through splitting sets and splitting up. We are gonna give little highlights of each set, rather than tackling every moment.
CID: A strong groovy house vibe that kicked off the weekend. We were close to the stage, basking in the sun and the rhythm.
Audien: Feel good music that kept you jumping. He played a big happy vibe to fill the giant stage. He even peppered in some hard stuff!
Golf Clap: A thumping house set that was a good follow to CID. It was the first time stomping on the pavement under the tent stage. It was a clean ride of a set.
Ghastly: A set that literally vibrated the hair off of our legs. His bass was powerful and his set was a conglomerate of new music. Needless to say, we are excited for what is to come from him- extremely above average! After his set, we actually went on to meet him and talk to him for a bit. Huge shoutout to Sirus XM BPM for providing fans that opportunity!
Oliver Heldens: His set did not hold a punch. He synthesized upbeat house with big room music to flow into a very strong set.
Space Jesus: We enjoyed this set while munching some food, but it was a nice little strange bass set. It was a nice little interdimensional digestion session, without a doubt.
BroHug: Three dudes absolutely brought the tent down as they mixed house and the mainstream electronic. Right up on the rail was the perfect place to be for this set- and we were lucky to be there.
Galantis: The cream-of-the-crop session of good feeling distribution. They incorporated their fan favorites with a continuous light vibe that floated us into the latter portion of the evening. It was hard not to cheese through it all.
Vice Versa: We got to catch a little of the local Columbus DJ duo, at the STFU Silent Disco. They threw down some crazy bass and strong DJ-to-DJ transitions. They represented the hometown well.
Zedd: His set actually startled us, because it threw down some heavy drops. While staying upbeat and playing his crowd favorites, Zedd managed to close the night with some crazy mashups and intensity.
1788-L: Another surprise set for us. 1788-L gave us a much harder dubstep set than we had expected. We were anticipating trancey/low-BPM music and instead he ripped some wild dub-bass. It should be noted he had great hair and style.
Subtronics: He brought the wild of the circus to the tent stage. He took the dubstep we didn’t expect from 1788-L and continued to build on that vibe. His set went crazy with bass and good times.
What So Not: This was the cool down period to a morning of wubs. The live set was so enjoyable and just a gentle dose of dopamine.
Flosstradamus x 4B: We expected trap and we instead got a wild bass heavy b2b experience. The two were an amazing duo playing music, hyping each other up, and in their style (both adorning custom Bulls’ jerseys).
Yellow Claw: To start… YELLOW MOTHER FUCKING CLAW! This set was an absolute dose of everything we needed. There production talent, as well as their live DJing talent, were so evident at every moment during this set. It was impossible not to keep dancing to all of their old, new, and favorite music.
Rezz: We caught the beginning of her set and it was a perfect time to rebound from Yellow Claw. Her mesmerizing tunes and visuals entranced us and rewired our brains. Space Mom never disappoints.
DJ Snake: Lasers, all genres of EDM, and ENZOOOOOO! DJ Snake let himself shine through every part of his performance. He brought his amazing music to the speakers and his amazing personality to the mic. What a close to Day 2!
He$h B2B Bommer: Started our day with some nuclear bass. Catching the end of this set was a great boost of energy to push us into the day. It was during this set we actually got to meet up with Kaelyn from Festival Squad- so it resounds as a great moment!
PEEKABOO: A dubstep set to remember. His logo painted the screens and bass consumed our minds. He also brought an amazing story of success, as he was in the SAMF crowd 5 years ago and was now playing it.
Rusko: Strange dancer but a hype set. He kept us moving along with him as he kept the speakers bumping.
ARMNHMR: The stage was twisting and turning with the vibe. The set featured some amazing genre movement on big room tracks.
Troyboi: The trap set we were craving. He got everyone hype and screaming everyone’s favorite bars. Amazing energy and track development.
Excision (Detox): Necks were broken in the listening of this set. It was amazing that you could hear and feel the difference from his normal set. It was even more amazing that it hit just as hard. There was such a genuine love for this set because it brought tracks, and a side of Excision, that we had never heard before.
Cheat Codes: The happiest moments of our lives now have to compete with the portion of this set we saw. The three guys absolutely took control of the energy, the stage, the crowd, and the whole vibe of this quadrant of SAMF. They crafted this amazing ride of a set that integrated live singing with their personalities with amazing music with a multitude of different drop styles. It was a highlight for sure.
Dillon Francis: We had to pay respects to the man, and catch the end of his set. He brought a lot of the fun that we are used to when seeing him. However, he featured an amazing house break down as well as some different explosive visuals!
Griz: Variety was in the air during this set. Griz brought a whole load of live instruments and different sounds to create an amazingly happy close to the Equinox stage.
Benny Benassi: A crazy energetic house set that was probably the highest energy close we saw. This set was for sure an afterparty/club prep. It left you in the mood to groove.
Kaskade: A set that brought the feels to his hometown. You could feel the happiness and pride that Kaskade had playing in his hometown. Amazingly humble and a cloud of feels to ride out the weekend.
Done Wells and Needs Work
The festival venue was massive. The stages were powerhouses of music and visuals. Lines moved quick and unique experiences were provided at every turn. This was such a strong festival experience, because of everything that was provided by the festival. There was so much to do that incorporated music at every turn. The festival itself was also willing to listen to the people, as we saw changes every day to try to improve the experience. SAMF as a whole goes down as a Done Well with opportunity, adaptability, and experience variety.
With such an amazing weekend, there were only a couple of hiccups. One was a product misorganization of the phenomenal smorgasbord of stages. The sound pollution of other stages while at another stage was a negative takeaway of the weekend. We would love to see the setup next year try to solve the issue of hearing other stages at the stage you chose. The only other downsides also had to do with organization, but non-music related. The supply of toilet paper at the end of each night dwindled to nothing, which makes ladies using the restroom a little challenge. Having staff to monitor that would be huge throughout the day- just to sustain the amount needed. Outside of the bathroom and festival gates, the only other Needs Work falls to parking and exiting the venue. We saw a lot of changes made to the organization of the leaving procedure, but exiting the festival and parking garages seemed to be at a constant standstill. Next year we would like to see a better-leaving procedure on-foot and in-car. It was just a rough way to end the day sitting in the bottle-necked foot and car traffic. We adapted to make our time spent leaving a quicker, and mixing that with the festival adaptation we were out pretty quick by Sunday.
Spring Awakening made our hearts grow 100-times over. We had an amazing weekend spent in for-the-most-part good weather. So many great experiences were had, so many amazing pictures were taken, and of course, we did it all with a wonderful group (shout out our girlfriends). We would like to close by first saying RIP Martin Garrix ankle- we continue to pay respects. Next, we would like to thank everyone that organized the event and everyone that experienced it with us. Lastly, we are officially ready for Forest and cannot wait to get to our next festival.
Until next time.