It seemed like 48 hours of nonstop music in the city of Columbus this past weekend, as students from across the country came back on to campus at Ohio State University blaring music from their houses and dorm rooms. However, with all of the commotion going on inside of campus, something even bigger was happening just a mile away at the Ohio Expo Center. It was the Breakaway Music Festival. With some of the world’s biggest acts in the EDM and Hip-Hop spectrum, Breakaway has certainly garnered itself as one of the premier festivals in the country in its respected field backed by an alumni featuring Bassnectar, Kendrick Lamar, and Empire of the Sun to name a few. But 2016 has been a pretty huge year in the music world compared to years past, so Breakaway decided to follow suit.
Once you entered inside the venue you realized that Breakaway is about music and music only. The giant main stage stared right at you at the front entrance. There wasn’t many distractions either. You had a main bar, some sponsor tents, and a really cool silent disco tent that played inconspicuously played throughout the day. It’s always nice to have a festival where it really is all about the music, and Breakaway certainly made that very clear.
The lineup for Breakaway isn’t necessarily tiered type of bill. Of course you have your headliners, but there isn’t an unfamiliar name on the list. When the gates opened on Friday, Columbus native, Corrupt took the main stage. Don’t let “local” fool you, though. The impressive DJ has been featured on many DJ’s mixes this year including juggernauts Tiesto and Don Diablo. Friday continued to ping-pong back and forth between both EDM and hip-hop artists with rising artists. LA natives, Cheat Codes gave an impressively packed audience a unique performance blending a DJ set with a trademark vocalist. Immediately following Cheat Codes was easily the darkhorse performance of the festival, Lil Uzi Vert. The rapper hailing from Philadelphia set the bar for the rest of the festival performing his hits “Money Longer” and “Ps and Qs.” If you’re a fan of Lil Uzi Vert, you would have expected nothing less of sensational, especially since he was named the XXL Class of 2016 which is the one of the highest accolades you can achieve as a rising rapper.
As Friday drew on, the hype for that night’s headliner, Chance the Rapper could not stop growing. Attendees wearing Chance’s famous “3” logo hats were almost unavoidable. He was mentioned in nearly every conversation overheard while waiting for the next act. However, as Chance waited on deck Rae Sremmurd delivered both a partying and cathartic set playing many hits from their new album, SremmLife 2. And with all of the hip-hop that was featured on Friday, superstar Dillon Francis made sure that Breakaway was just as much of an EDM festival as well giving fans an hour of non-stop remixes and deep cuts featuring mind-boggling bass drops and some of the weirdest sampling you’ve ever heard such as dolphins(?!?) To everyone’s surprise, he also brought out Rae Sremmurd to hype the crowd up to an unsurpassable amount.
Just like that it was 9:45 PM or Chance the Rapper’s cue to come out and entertain a few thousand of his biggest fans. He started the set with the uplifting “Everybody’s Something.” After the song, he proclaimed his love for Ohio explaining that it was one of the first states he performed in. The response was a booming applause from the crowd. From there he went on to perform the hits from his debut mixtape Acid Rap, as well as his most recent project Coloring Book behind his insanely talented band including the famous Donnie Trumpet.
As Friday came to a close, it was hard to imagine how Saturday could even come close to topping Friday. Day 2 was just as mixed as the day before with no shortage of acts within the two genres. Desiigner delivered a high-energy set early on in the day with the help of his breakout singles “Panda” and “Timmy Turner.” After the set, rain seemed to be approaching the fairgrounds.
The storm delayed one of the most highly anticipated performances of the weekend, Young Thug. Festival goers were becoming anxious, especially with the thought of Young Thug being cancelled, however with all of this going on, the electronic duo, Lost Kings provided everyone inside sheltering themselves from the storm a great distraction. It was eventually announced that Young Thug would be performing inside at the Prime Stage. After he delivered easily the loudest set of the entire festival, playing hits from his mixtapes Slime Season 3 and I’m Up, it seemed like bringing Young Thug inside was the right move regardless of the rain.
Breakaway was approaching its closing acts. It delivered a trifecta of fantastic artists. EDM legend, Benny Benassi put his fans in a dance-infused trance with incredible remixing using many of his iconic tracks such as “Cinema” and “Satisfaction.” Following Benny Benassi was Ty Dolla $ign to give the hip-hop aspect of Breakaway one last hurrah. It was RL Grime to close out Breakaway on the main stage. It was fitting that RL Grime one of the final acts, because his music has the ability to fuse EDM, trap, and Hip-Hop all together.
Breakaway has established itself as one of the premier EDM and Hip-Hop festivals in the Midwest. The magic of this festival is that it can turn an electronic-minded fan into more of a hip-hop fan and vice-versa. Every act is worth seeing here, and with only two stages being used for the festival, it was pretty much possible to do so. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Breakaway next year.