Diplo spins at the high-dollar, no-drugs-allowed fest at Soldier Field
Diplo spins at the high-dollar, no-drugs-allowed fest at Soldier Field Credit: Shane McCauley

It’s no big news that electronic dance music is breaking through to the American mainstream, but the fact that Chicago’s biggest dance-music event of 2012 is held at Soldier Field underlines it several times over. The brand-new Spring Awakening Music Festival, which runs Sat 6/16 and Sun 6/17, joins the Electric Daisy Carnival and HARD fest in the burgeoning field of enormous EDM blowouts, its nearly 80 acts ranging from old-school house and techno pioneers such as Carl Cox, Derrick Carter, and Green Velvet to current dance-culture superheavyweights Skrillex (see Soundboard) and Afrojack. The festival runs from noon till 11:30 PM both days, and musicians perform continually on four stages starting at 1 PM. Among the noteworthy acts on Saturday’s bill, aside from headliner Skrillex, are Dillon Francis, A-Trak, Kill the Noise, and Tommie Sunshine. Sunday’s lineup, topped by Afrojack, includes sets by Diplo (see Soundboard), Willy Joy, and Moby, who’s begun revisiting his techno roots after a prolonged car-commercial phase. An extensive array of afterparties will keep the music going far later than 11:30; they include Skrillex at the Mid (probably the smallest venue you’ll ever be able to see him play), Diplo and Laidback Luke at House of Blues, and, um, a show on a boat. Festival passes (none of which get you into the afterparties) come in a wide variety of flavors, from a $70 one-day general-admission ticket to a $239.99 two-day VIP pass and beyond. If you have an extra ten grand lying around, plus $500 for a “service fee,” you can reserve a table at Saturday’s Gabriel & Dresden afterparty (that’s the one on the yacht), and for your money you’ll also get four two-day VIP passes to Spring Awakening proper, plus other luxuries such as being seated by Hooters calendar models. This being a high-dollar music festival and not a warehouse rave, a number of entry restrictions will be enforced. Pets, food, glass containers, and glow sticks are prohibited, among other things—as is a “bad attitude.” Consumer-grade cameras, “average school-sized backpacks,” and lights are all OK. A no-drugs policy will be enforced by bag checks at the festival’s entry points, as well as by narcotics officers inside and outside the festival grounds. For the full schedule of performers, a complete list of festival rules, and tickets, visit springawakeningfestival.com.