Spring Awakening Music Festival
Addams/Medil Park // Chicago, IL // June 8-10, 2018

Not even the world’s best earplugs could have kept you safe from EDM’s best bass drops.

There’s nothing more exciting than being surrounded with thousands of glittery fans, watching Steve Aoki throwing tons of cake in your face while the sun sets behind a fire-covered stage. Take this feeling, multiply it by 100, and you’ve got Spring Awakening, the official start to summer in Chicago. Aside from being the Midwest’s biggest electronic festival, Spring Awakening is a safe and inviting space for dance freaks and house fans alike to experience a weekend of abandon and excitement. Unlike most festivals, the best photos often aren’t of the artists themselves, but the concert-goers having the time of their lives. The first day started off with a bang when Matoma, a Norwegian DJ, brought out the great Steve Aoki for his remixed version of Matoma’s song, “Lonely”. Aoki immediately jumped into the crowd to get them to sing along, and it really set the bar for the rest of the weekend. Aoki’s solo set was just as amazing, but seeing him at the smaller stage during an earlier set time was really exciting.

Next to Aoki, Alison Wonderland and Tchami definitely had the best sets on Friday. Wonderland was one of the only female DJs at Spring Awakening, and she not only drew one of the most voracious crowds, but one of the biggest. Tchami’s legendary place in EDM was only cemented further by his Friday afternoon set. Donning his usual priest uniform and Ray Bans, the French DJ and creator of “future house” had the entire East side of Addams Park in full headbanging mode.

On Saturday, one of Chicago’s biggest EDM staples, Porn and Chicken, put on the most exciting and interactive show of the weekend. The group includes Ammunition, a performance artist who wields an angle-grinder against a belt of steel when the beat drops. Combine that with the group’s sick guitar riffs, drumming skills, and a dude who dresses like a chicken and runs into the crowd, and it’s clear to see why Porn and Chicken is a must-see at every Spring Awakening.

3LAU (pronounced “Blau”) is Justin David Blau’s stage name, and that name has already ganered plenty of attention. The 27-year old New Yorker first discovered EDM while vacationing in Sweden in 2011, and he’s been making his own tunes ever since. He released his first full-length album this year and played a ton of it at Spring Awakening. With the help of some perfectly timed streamers and a ton of Spring Awakening dancers, 3LAU had everyone smiling as the dancers threw dozens of massive beach balls to the crowd during his set.

The dudes in Cash Cash were kind enough to sit down with Substream for a few portraits before their incredible set on Saturday night. Their new single, “Finest Hour“, is a jam and features the trio putting their best foot forward Their set at Spring Awakening was not only upbeat and fun but also showcased their chameleon-like ability to shift between genres. Cash Cash’s fans carried that energy throughout the set and made it one of the best moments of the weekend.

While Sunday was a bit rainy, it didn’t stop those decked out in glitter and neon jewelry from dancing all over the park. With massive performances from Slushii, Zedd, and Kaskade, those who made it through the mud on Sunday were definitely not disappointed. Of course, one of the highlights of the evening came from Deadmau5, the electro-house king. His sets are always incredible, but he really seemed on his game Sunday night as the pyrotechnics and fireworks dotted the night sky. His set was the perfect way to close out another incredible year at Spring Awakening.