In this ‘Looking for the Perfect Beat’ column, DJ Todd Ernst lists the Top 5 reasons for embracing this weekend’s world-class music fest in Grand Rapids’ Belknap Park. See the full schedule and a playlist, too.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Breakaway Music Festival is entering Year 2 in Grand Rapids, firing up Belknap Park north of downtown on Friday and Saturday. Local Spins asked Grand Rapids DJ Todd Ernst, who covered last year’s event, to list the top reasons fans should return for the 2018 spectacle — his latest ‘Looking for the Perfect Beat’ column. And check out last year’s coverage of Breakaway online here.
It’s Year 2 for Breakaway in Grand Rapids and, indications are, this year’s festival will check all the boxes when it comes to creating another milestone event. Here are my Top 5 reasons to attend in 2018:
1. Belknap Park: The location is as good as it gets – being just on the edge of the downtown
core you get that electricity, but far enough away from the properties that might consider an event like this the nuisance. The natural amphitheater setting provides a wonderful opportunity for Breakaway, whether you want to rage at the stage or chill on the hill. Pro #usertip, take a hike to the top of the hill where there are almost no lines for the bathrooms.
2. Odesza: The energy during this duo’s show at 20 Monroe Live was unlike anything I have experienced in Grand Rapids. For me, this is the ‘big get’ at Breakaway, and has the opportunity to literally alter the foundation of how this market is perceived for years to come. Stylistically, Odesza’s approach of chillwave or indie dance (depending on who you talk to) has uniquely permeated a larger demographic than an act like this might typically attract. That’s just a fancy way of saying if you’re over 40, you will recognize their work and enjoy yourself.
3. Khalid (pronounced Kuh-leed): Barely 20, his trajectory has been on a meteoric rise and
doesn’t look to slow anytime soon. Khalid currently is a ‘Top 5 most streamed artist’ in the world in all genres on Spotify. TIME Magazine previously hailed him as one of the world’s most influential teenagers; his vision for young people is admirable, especially as it applies to those
marginalized like the Dreamers and LGBTQ communities. This young man is a solid artist, and this will likely be the last chance you’ll be able to see him in a venue of this intimacy.
4. The promoters’ commitment and experience: It doesn’t take much to realize that the motivation behind the respective efforts of Lansing’s MiEntertainment Group and Columbus, Ohio’s Prime Social Group is the guest experience. The entrance is well thought-out, the amenities are plentiful and their activation of an underutilized community asset (Belknap Park) is enviable. Booking A-list talent like Diplo (Lansing), Kaskade (Columbus) and Odesza here in Grand Rapids is not easy, nor is it cheap: You make moves like this to anchor your position for future events. The talent formatting is diverse, AVL production is top-notch. Breakaway literally checks all of the boxes.
5. Being part of something special: You’re smack dab in the middle of an extraordinary time to live in Grand Rapids. If you look at the respective calendars of venues like the Intersection and 20 Monroe Live, as well as the monstrous growth of West Michigan’s Electric Forest, there is no question we are officially on the global radar. There is certainly something to be said to be able to look back at Breakaway and say “I was there in the beginning!”
Note to Parents: If you’re thinking of allowing your teenager to attend, this is a safe bet. It won’t be too long before they’re going to want to attend Electric Forest, EDC or Lollapalooza, so maybe think of this is as on-ramp so to speak of what music festivals are all about. As I stated last year, have a drop-off and pick-up plan that you stick to, and maybe even Life360 on your respective phones for active tracking. Another consideration – I saw many parents just relaxing on the hill overlooking the main stage last year away from the chaos. The added bonus is you get ‘cool parent’ points for staying back and letting them do their thing.
Get tickets — $129 two-day, $70 daily — and details online at breakawayfestival.com/grandrapids. Also, The Intersection’s Elevation will host after-parties both nights (Boombox Cartel, Dombresky, Attak, Choff on Friday; Borgeous, Elephante, Cookn b2b Stratz, Choff on Saturday, $20). Information online at sectionlive.com.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Gates open at 3 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, attendees will undergo security searches and there is almost no parking on-site. Most attendees are dropped off at Belknap Park or use ride-sharing. The drop-off area is on Coldbrook Street NE between Division and Ottawa Avenues. Restricted items are listed here.
For more Local Spins coverage of Breakaway 2017: Breakaway Music Festival turns Grand Rapids park into mini-version of Electric Forest
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Todd Ernst has been an electronic music DJ and promoter for 30 years. His days are spent as the Director of Marketing and Communication for HME Ahrens-Fox. His personal company EXSIGN is a creative and consulting team that designs and manages corporate, non-profit and nightlife events. He’s also one of the founding team members for TEDxGrandRapids.
LOCAL SPINS’ BREAKAWAY 2018 PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY
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