As a long-time Spring Awakening Music Festival attendee, last year’s move from Soldier Field to Addams Medill park did not have me too excited. The walk down Lake Shore Drive to the gorgeous stadium was a staple of Spring Awakening for me. It instilled a sense of euphoria and rekindled memories from past years. It was the festival giving Chicago that electronic dance festival flavor its lacked for too long.

Now, I’ll admit I entered last year as a huge pessimist, still upset about the venue change, but REACT presents did not fail to deliver. The new Addams Medill park expanded the festival area and the size of the stages.

It enhanced the festival aesthetic and even so, everything seemed just a little better this time around. 2017 brought bigger stages, more festival rides, and as always, an electric Chicago crowd. This was my fifth year attending and here are my thoughts on who I saw perform on Day 1:


The 27-year-old LA-based producer/DJ played a relatively early timeslot and got the festival off to a banging start. Heavy bass music, dubstep, and riddim all shook the speakers as he got the crowd fired up from the very beginning. It was not atypical of a standard Ghastly set, though. If you don’t know who else to see and want to get down to some bass-heavy music, Ghastly won’t disappoint.

Party Favor

After Ghastly I went to check out Party Favor, whom I had seen at Lollapalooza the year before.

I only ended up staying 15 minutes this time around. With this last year being relatively quiet for him, his set seemed very similar to the ones of year’s past, with very few new features under his name. If you’ve seen him once, don’t bother going again.


Coming into the festival, he was one of the artists I was most excited to see.

A producer famous for his hits and remixes of starlets like Lana del Rey and Chvrches, I had high hopes for the set. However, he stayed away from his style and played a more "festival-esque" set, severely lacking in tracks from the Vanic we all know and love. I love him blasting through my speakers at home, not so much at a festival.

Keys n Krates

After Vanic, I went to catch the back end of their set and was pleasantly surprised. Each time I see KnK they bring a new style of trap, fittingly representing the popular style in the current moment. If you need some timeslots filled and KnK are playing, make the move to see them -- consistent, solid performances are the name of their game.

Louis the Child

The north suburban duo that is crushing it big-time started as local fan favorite a few years ago and quickly blew up worldwide. Huge cross-industry collaborations and even being featured on a FIFA soundtrack have helped LTC gain traction and popularity anywhere they go. I’ve seen them at least once every year since 2014, and they just keep getting better.

Benny the Bull came out hyping the crowd up and it never stopped. They are a must-see every time they’re in a lineup.


A massive Chicago favorite of recent years delivered what I believe to be one of his weakest shows. He’s amassed a huge following thanks to phenomenal performances at city shows and other local festivals, but he just didn’t seem to be himself. His set was overly repetitive and not as seamless as others. The transitions were a little off, but don’t get me wrong, it was still worth seeing, especially if you have not seen him before.


The stand out, feel-good set of the day. Personally, I liked Louis’ set most but they’ll forever be a sunset time slot due to the nature of their music.

The Swedish duo dropped hit after hit -- after all, it’s what helped them rise to fame. A couple years back I would have never expected to see them close a music festival, but they did not disappoint. They controlled the crowd and absolutely killed the Friday night vibe -- a great way to close the first day of a music festival.

This year brought unique names, and more importantly, fewer scheduling conflicts. The first day was very satisfying and I’m excited to see what’s to come on Saturday and Sunday. If you don’t have a ticket, try to find one last minute. REACT is establishing Spring Awakening as a premiere festival and it’s never too late to join the revolution.