Spring Awakening’s location uncertainty disappoints fans

Spring Awakening organizers announced April 15 that the electronic dance music festival will not take place in Jackson Park after losing its customary home, Soldier Field. 


Fans of Chicago’s popular summer electronic dance music festival Spring Awakening may need to rethink their summer plans after the festival’s organizers announced April 15 that it is still searching for a venue. 

The festival, set to take place June 10–12, is seeking a new location after proposals for a Jackson Park location fell through due to scheduling conflicts, according to an April 15 Chicago Tribune article.

The festival, hosted by React Presents, a music agency that organizes local music festivals, is in its fifth year and was originally slated to return to Soldier Field, where the festival was held for the last four years. React Presents’ parent company, SFS Entertainment, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 1.

Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward), who represents the Jackson Park neighborhood, said the decision to move the music festival came after officials from the University of Chicago informed her office of its annual convocation, which was to be held the same day. 

“When we discovered that [Spring Awakening] was in conflict with the University of Chicago’s convocation ceremony, we realized there would be too many thousands of people in the neighborhood,” Hairston said.

Hairston said her community has reacted positively to the news, adding that the decision was made in their interest.

“The community is happy that there is going to be less congestion,” she said. 

She said React now needs to find another venue, but no information is yet available about where the festival will now be held. React did not respond for comment as of press time.

Jeremy Manier, a spokesman for the University of Chicago, said in an April 20 emailed statement that the neighborhood could not safely accommodate the dramatic increase in visitors and traffic by hosting both events on the same day. Manier said the convocation accommodates 20,000 guests.

John McCormick, a senior design major at Columbia who has been to the festival three times when it was held at Soldier Field, said he is disappointed that the location will change.

“That’s not good for the fans that are loyal,” McCormick said. “By this time [Spring Awakening] usually has the lineup out. That was a big turn of events, and people are going to be turned off by it.”

He said he attended in 2012 because he was excited by the historic landmark of Soldier Field; losing that location will give the festival a different atmosphere, he said. 

Anthony Narchlewski, a sophomore medical student at Northwestern University and a fan of Spring Awakening who has gone to the festival all four years, said the lack of a venue and lineup this close to the festival means he is unlikely to attend.

“I don’t know if it’s worth all the uncertainty,” Narchlewski said. “[The first location change from Soldier Field] was understood, but then it started to get frustrating.”

On the other hand, McCormick said finding a new location for the festival could allow for larger spaces for the different stages, comparing it to his experience at Soldier Field, which he said was tight on performance space for artists who were not playing on the main stage.

“Maybe [some] new location can offer more of a balanced experience for all the artists,” McCormick said.