Festival-goers had high expectations going into the three-day weekend at MAPFRE Stadium, and Breakaway Music Festival delivered. Despite cancellations and severe weather warnings that resulted in numerous set time alterations, the festival adapted to the unavoidable interruptions.
Set times were the main source of confusion at Breakaway this year. While the festival updated set times on its app, and tweeted out the new set times for both the Main and Prime stages, the times between performances were sometimes blurred.
Due to schedule push backs, both Saturday and Sunday went past the city’s sound ordinance cut-off time. According to Adam Lynn, co-founder of Prime Social Group, instead of canceling acts and cutting set times short, PSG decided to accept the repercussions of breaking the curfew by paying fines for both days in order to keep the festival going — a sacrifice greatly appreciated by attendees.
This year, Breakaway utilized its Silent Disco tent — which was largely popular with attendees — to give intimate and interactive sets to young upcoming DJs like Yung Holliwood, Paige Selzer, Mike Dow, Beefnectar and more. However, instead of a typical stage set, DJs were paired up against each other to play their sets simultaneously. Festival-goers were given wireless headphones that allowed them to switch between the two DJ’s on separate channels so they could listen to the set they preferred.
Cell phone theft was another concerning problem at Breakaway. There were a numerous amount of complaints from attendees about stolen property while at the festival. The Lantern reached out to the hired security service company, Contemporary Services Corporation, as well as the Columbus Police Department to determine how widespread the issue was, but did not receive a comment by the time of publication.
Even though the music festival also takes place in Michigan, Tennessee and North Carolina, Columbus was the only festival site located in a stadium and took place over three days instead of two.
With MAPFRE Stadium being home to the Columbus Crew, premier players from the MLS team made sure some of the artists took a touch of Columbus home with them. Columbus Crew players like Wil Trapp, Hector Jimenez, Jonathan Mensah and Lalas Abubakar gave away custom jerseys to Halsey, Khalid, Offset from Migos, Odesza and many more artists.
Friday’s schedule was altered due to travel issues with Drezo, a DJ who was scheduled to play 8 to 8:50 p.m. Performances on the Prime Stage were pushed back 30 minutes each to accommodate the gap in the lineup. While the new set times were made known to the festival-goers, some performances went over their allotted time, resulting in Prime Stage headliner Chris Lake’s set being cut from an hour to about 30 minutes.
Although unable to make it to the festival, Drezo performed at the official Breakaway after-party that night at TRISM.
Back-to-back performances by special guest Khalid and headliner and pop princess Halsey were the main spectacles of the festival’s opening day. Both delivered spectacular shows on Breakaway’s mainstage, setting the tone for the rest of the weekend.
Other standout performers include up-and-coming EDM artist GG Magree whose performance captured every dimension of the genre, and Chris Lake, who delivered an energetic and satisfying performance despite his set time being cut in half.
Saturday’s schedule on the Main Stage was pushed back about 20 minutes due to weather. While the gates opened right on schedule, guests were told to take shelter and that the music would begin once the weather cleared. The delay lasted about 40 minutes.
The new set times were true to their word up until headliner Odesza hit the stage. The EDM duo was rescheduled to go on at 10:05 p.m. instead of their original start time at 9:45 p.m., but kept the crowd waiting an extra 30 minutes before taking the stage, ending their performance around midnight.
Odesza was the obvious standout performance of the festival’s busiest day and made up for the long wait time with an unforgettable set. The Odesza drumline and euphoric visuals added to the spectacle, as well as the two-man brass section of trumpet and trombone.
Special guest Kaskade performed before Odesza’s set with adrenaline-pumping and chest-rattling bass music. Other standouts included Rich the Kid, Boombox Cartel and Dombresky — who also played the TRISM after-party.
Sunday’s schedule setback was due to another severe weather warning delay that lasted just over an hour. Set times were pushed back about two hours each, once again staying open past the city sound ordinance.
Migos was the main attraction of the festival’s last day. The rap-trio performed hit after hit with a natural confidence and stage presence, hyping up the crowd by bringing Rich the Kid — who performed the previous day — on stage and switching out specific lyrics with “Ohio” and “Columbus.”
Jaden Smith’s set was one of the most energetic rap performances of the weekend. Constantly bouncing around the stage, the rapper never ran out of breath, hitting every lyric with clarity and gusto that lasted throughout the entire set.
Electro-pop recording artist, DJ and producer Elohim’s performance was a stunning conundrum of secrecy. The performer’s face was constantly masked by her black hair and dark sunglasses as she switched between two keyboards and a synth, never speaking a word to the crowd. Her creepy visuals and haunting voice made her set memorable and left the crowd awash in mystery.
Since its inception, Breakaway Music Festival has only gotten bigger — literally and figuratively — and as its fourth year in Columbus comes to a close, festival-goers have a lot to look forward to from Prime Social Group in the coming years.