Frightening Night for a Festival

By Sam Bruns

It’s the pumpkin onesie that your mom picked out for you at Target when you were less than a year old. It’s the first twist-tied plastic bag filled with Jolly Ranchers and Laffy Taffy that your teacher handed to every child in your Kindergarten class. It’s the first year that you’ve successfully convinced your parents you were responsible enough to go trick-or-treating without them, and the first year that you’ve successfully lied to them, reciting cleverly rehearsed plans to still peruse for candy, when in reality you would be at pitifully-costumed get-together in some kid named Dalton’s basement. It's when you’ll soon spend one day a year pretending to be scared by a seven-year-old’s zombie make up while you hand them a Twix Mini and for some of you, it's when you will pick out that pumpkin onesie, send a child to school in costume, know when you can trust them, and pretend to know they are telling the truth.

 

Halloween is one of those few holidays that has a vital role for all ages, but what about us? What do you do on Halloween night in your twenties? You could bounce from party to party, or bar to bar admiring the extravagant and costly ensembles of those around you. Yes, you could go to parties for a few hours, or you can go to one for seventy-two.

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"Party," not "concert," is the best possible word to describe Chicago’s Freaky Deaky festival. The three-stage, three-day celebration of all things dance drew a crowd of twenty-something party people who seem to embrace everything millennials hate about other millennials. At times it was a gathering of debauchery. Too many drugs and too much alcohol was dispersed among a sea of Native American headdresses, Osama Bin Laden masks, and other culturally offensive Halloween costumes. However, the weekend did have its redeeming qualities.

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Friday night came and with it, emergencies that removed high-card performers Action Bronson and Tchami. However, Halloween day itself brought the festival back into some sort of swing, but it was Sunday that truly brought the fest to a tolerable level. Hip-hop acts like GoldLink and Chicago native Vic Mensa were both crowd-engaging and soulful on a level that some could almost consider thought-provoking.

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Alternatively, acts like Mac Miller gave a trivially weak performance of already weak music. Established producers A-Trak and Oliver Heldens performed on a level that most festival DJs could learn from, and headliner Pretty Lights reminded an audience of anxious fans why he is just that: a headliner.

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Halloween is a time of year that is used to celebrate. To celebrate the cultural figures whose masks you purchase from a costume shop, to celebrate the friends that had to endure the same crappy high school as you, or to celebrate your children getting to experience the same thing that you did. In your twenties though, you don’t really get any of that. If your twenties are that mess of fear, excitement, hormones and substance that everyone says it is, then what better place to go for your Halloween then a music festival? It was dirty, crowded, and one of our cameras was stolen, but it was a perfect way for a twenty-year-old to spend their Halloween.

Music Gets Freaky Deaky

By Sam Bruns Is there a weekend that goes by over the summer without a music festival within 300 miles of where you live? If you live anywhere in the greater Chicago area, then probably not. In fact it’s become a music industry taboo for main stream artists not to make a few stops on the festival circuit every summer. What used to be a place for alternative artists to enlist the support of adventurous festival goers has become a stomping ground for EDM culture. Chicago’s own Lollapalooza was known in the 90s for showcasing the future of rock, punk, hip-hop, and, yes, even some electronic artists like Moby and Daft Punk. But now the focus has slowly shifted towards recent main stage headliners such as Skrillex, Calvin Harris and Bassnectar. And as the summer ends, adventurous music fans now have to rely on bars and basements to experience music in the fall, or maybe not.

Freaky Deaky takes place every year at Toyota Park. At first glance it looks like any generic music festival, but don’t be fooled. Freaky Deaky’s first lineup seven years ago was a three artist bill containing synth-rock revivalists Chromeo, indie electronic heavyweights Crystal Castles, and German experimental house artist Boyz Noize. Since then it has continued to include some of the edgier artists in the electronic and hip-hop community.springawake2015-1010-2

This weekend is not excluded from the tradition of peppering in innovative and unique artists among the party crowd staples. More ambient and bluesy electronic acts such as Hermitude and AlunaGeorge will be present throughout the weekend. Deep house innovators Tchami and Oliver Heldens will also play sets over the weekend.

The real highlights for the weekend really come out of the hiphop community. Chicago native Vic Mensa will be taking the stage on Sunday, as well as indie hip-hop artist GoldLink. Saturday will feature Joey Bada$$ and either hip hop genius or trainwreck–I still cant decide what he is–Riff Raff. The two prize jewels of the festival are playing on Friday night in completely conflicting time slots. On one hand, Flying Lotus’ experimental hip hop and mind expanding visual show could be the Halloween experience of the year, but Action Bronson fresh off of his debut LP will bring his larger than life stage presence for a show that is always described as unforgettable.

So when you make it out this weekend for your Halloween celebration, have as much fun as you possibly can. Just make sure that you are looking out for the type of artists that made these festivals so popular in the first place.

*Update 10/30/15 12:50 pm*

Unfortunately, two of the anticipated artists will not be performing at the festival tonight. Action Bronson had emergency surgery on Wednesday for a hernia related issue, and Tchami has sustained injuries from a recent car accident.