The Breakaway Music Festival made its mark with an incredible edition in Charlotte, NC at Motor Speedway.
First social group joined the ranks of growing event promoters in its early days Escaped Music Festival in 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. Since then, the Breakaway Music Festival has expanded to several cities, making stops beyond Ohio to Michigan, Tennessee, and North Carolina, and even as a destination festival in Cancun. One of Breakaway’s biggest draws is its diverse lineup, bringing artists and DJs together on the same stage and giving attendees, who would otherwise come for one artist, a glimpse into different genres.
With an empty weekend on my calendar, I bought a ticket for the Friday afterparty and the Saturday for the Breakaway edition in Charlotte, NC. I was looking forward to a sleepless weekend in Queen City. The following was my experience …
The official Friday afterparty with Wax Motif was the epitome of what an afterparty should be.
My Breakaway experience didn’t really start with the Friday festival, but with the afterparty. One thing to know about Charlotte is that the city has a huge music district. Typically, events take place in the same few venues in the city center, but it was more than surprising to see that the Blackbox Theater, a nested venue, would host the afterparty.
Needless to say due to the location there was plenty of parking space and room to come and go without any issues. Entering the club went smoothly – two minutes of waiting in line and three more to get my ticket scanned and verify my ID. Admittedly, security has not checked any proof of vaccination or required the wearing of face masks indoors despite the county-wide warrant. I found myself to be one of the few people, if not the only one, to wear a mask that night.
Although it is a small to medium-sized place, the production and the place itself were impressive. The room was split in two, with the front half being a lower basement, and the back was raised so that partiers away from the stage could easily get a full view.
I was lucky to have arrived around 11:45 p.m. and headed for the rail. My face is full of lasers, strobe lights, and even photographers and videographers who rock the crowd. In addition, I also witnessed Wax pattern and G Eazy, who had performed earlier at Breakaway, take a photo together. The sound was strong, and anyone planning to attend a show at the Blackbox Theater must bring earplugs. Even with mine plugged in, a booming ringtone followed me after the show.
The afterparty was exhilarating and once again confirmed my love for the stage.
Although I went to Electric Zoo earlier in September, I didn’t really feel electronic music touched me as much as it did before the pandemic. But, Wax Motif and the crowd at the Friday Breakaway afterparty reminded me why the live music scene is second to none.
Wax Motif launched a healthy mix of disco, tech house and bass house, playing classics like his remix of “Fly Kicks” and ending with his new single. It’s always noticeable when a DJ is able to read a crowd and orchestrate us without wearing us out entirely. Wax Motif read the piece as if it were one of our own, providing the perfect balance of exciting moments and moments to let us breathe.
The Breakaway Music Festival was surprisingly well organized and a great experience for attendees from North Carolina.
Granted, it had been a long time since I had been able to attend shows until 2-3am without needing a full day to recover. As a result, I showed up to the Breakaway Music Festival later around 6:30 p.m., still slightly sleepy after my evening nap. As a native of North Carolina, I drove to the festival with my same group from the night before, and just like the night before, parking was as easy as butter.
Security quickly looked at our parking card on my phone and directed us to a location. I’ve attended festivals where parking is like The hunger Games Where Royal battle, where cars go around the terrain without order, but the staff at Breakaway put each car in a clean spot one after the other, guiding us where we needed to be and avoiding any kind of traffic jam. I was doubly impressed that this was the first year Prime Social Group hosted Breakaway at the Charlotte Motor Circuit, therefore being able to organize a complicated task like parking should be applauded.
My walk to the festival gate took a lot longer than the actual security process. Our party of four managed to cross the security line in a total of three minutes. The speed at which everyone at the festival ran was amazing, and my drink queue only took three minutes longer before I received a Monster energy drink.
Near the entrance was a silent nightclub, with local house DJs taking the stage. When I attended Breakaway the year before, the silent disco area could hardly be considered a stage, but the upgrade was much better, with a large tent covering the dance floor and a giant screen behind the DJ. . Seeing the long line at the entrance to the silent disco, I chose to continue exploring the festival.
The most notable part of the festival was a makeshift ice rink towards the back.
Participants could rent roller skates and ride to the rink while listening to booming sets. It was a fun setup, and I’ve never seen anything before, with checkered skating rugs lining the rink. In addition, a big congratulations to the two employees of the rink who managed to breakdance on roller skates. Although it was a relatively small ice rink, it was still a unique offering that set the festival apart from the big named festivals.
A little further, a massive and colorful canopy housed a picnic area, with tables and benches for participants to sit down and relax. Food and drink vendors lined the sides of the festival almost to the stage. Beyond the usual burgers and pizza, other options included Greek, noodles, Philly cheese steaks, and wraps, averaging around $ 12.
On the right side of the festival was a second tier of vendors selling merchandise like t-shirts, bohemian-style clothing, and the usual popping rave gear. There was also a kandi-making station for participants to make free bracelets. In particular, the only water station was located on this second level with the porta-potties and real bathrooms.
Lane 8, GRYFFIN and The Chainsmokers led the evening.
Of course, the most important part of any music festival is the music itself. And boy, the music was amazing. As I arrived late, I could only catch the very end of the performer before Channel 8, but Lane 8 himself delivered a beautiful and fascinating set, especially as the day began to wane. Having never seen him before Breakaway, I was afraid his deep house music might not provide the energy I needed, but luckily I was proven wrong, especially after finding a band. of shufflers called the Queen City Mixers showing off their elaborate footwork alongside the mind-blowing music.
Later I moved closer to the stage to witness GRYFFIN in all its glory. The California DJ played a healthy mix of songs from his Gravity album and firecrackers that would give anyone a boost. Going from crying one moment to a head butt the next was physically shocking, but worth the physical pain the next day. With the crowd singing his music, GRYFFIN launched with a series of incredible songs and mixes, effortlessly oscillating between sweet melodies and raging tracks.
The Chainsmokers closed Saturday night at Breakaway. I took the opportunity to check in with the silent disco, only to find that the staff everywhere, including the food vendors, were packing for the night. I was disappointed that I had missed the opportunity to jam at house, but returned to the main / only stage.
The Chainsmokers were interesting to see. My high school car would probably have loved their set, but introducing myself was largely unimpressed. While variety is something I can enjoy, their transition to different genres (rap, dubstep, psytrance, pop, melodic house, etc.) has become too much. I felt like I was bouncing in several directions at once, with little cohesion bringing the whole thing together. But, even I couldn’t resist singing a few of their previous songs that landed them on the radar.
It’s the little things that made Breakaway such a great experience.
Despite being a rather small festival, Breakaway has proven to be truly worthy. The little things made it this much better like having an all-concrete venue, having indoor bathrooms, putting up a BMW giveaway on-site and making it an all-age festival for the youngest music fans.
Prime Social Group has stepped up its game from the 2019 edition, making some much-needed changes (like the location) and developing the elements that make it a unique experience on the East Coast. As the festival gains more and more attendees over the years, it will be an interesting experience to see what comes next for the brand.
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