Spring Awakening day one recap + photos

The second annual Spring Awakening Music Festival (SAMF) kicked off yesterday afternoon at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Despite favorable weather conditions, the crowd seemed small for the first of the three-day festival.

It’s possible some just couldn’t get there as early on Friday because of workday obligations. Fans were arriving as late as 10 p.m., when most were already leaving for the night.

Many are choosing to only attend on Saturday and Sunday, which were the only festival dates last year.

React Presents, SAMF’s producer, has not yet released Friday’s attendance numbers but they’ve estimated 75,000 total fans will attend over the weekend — an average of 25,000 per day.

There have been a number of noticeable physical improvements this year, but stage locations remain the same.

The Equinox stage is larger this year, transformed from a tent to an uncovered stage with full lighting effects.

Visible grass on the field was also a much welcomed change this year, inviting some to lay down blankets and enjoy the show from afar.

Nero’s set was a definite highlight, one that likely should have headlined the night. The sunset performance allowed many of the main stage’s lighting effects to be seen for the first time. The debut of stadium-sweeping lasers during their hit “Promises” provoked massive cheers from the crowd.

Audio levels on the main stage did seem to strangely fluctuate throughout the night. Some fans complained via social media that the volume was too low.

Moby, who’s rarely seen in a headlining spot, closed down the night . While the main stage is typically flooded with fans during the closing set because other stages are closed, there was instead a noticeable thinning of the crowd. The set was filled with high energy tracks but only a few were recognizable, unlike most of the prior main stage sets of the day.

The festival runs from 12 noon until 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A number of after parties are planned each night.

Single day tickets are still available.

Snaps: Spring Awakening 2013 Day One

SAMF 2013 Day 1-2
Photo by Ryan Pergola
Photo: Kent Otto/Electronic Midwest
Photo: Kent Otto/Electronic Midwest
Photo: Kent Otto/Electronic Midwest
SAMF 2013 Day 1-5
Photo by Ryan Pergola
SAMF 2013 Day 1-6
Photo by Ryan Pergola
SAMF 2013 Day 1-7
Photo by Ryan Pergola
SAMF 2013 Day 1-3
Photo by Ryan Pergola
SAMF 2013 Day 1-4
Photo by Ryan Pergola
SAMF 2013 Day 1-1
Photo by Ryan Pergola


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Kent Otto

Kent is founder and editor-in-chief. He's always had a love and passion for music of all types, but didn't discover the music festival scene and community until moving to Southern California during his early post-college years. He returned to his roots in the Midwest in 2011 and has since been determined to share the magic and beauty of the music scene with as many as possible. Email kent@edmcalendar.com.