The whole city came out for Breakaway Festival, taking place August 26 and 27 at the Ohio Expo Center. FlyPaper attended the annual festival, with acts like Chance The Rapper, Young Thug, Dillion Francis and D.R.A.M taking the stage, bringing high energy the entire weekend.
As the festivities began, openers for the festival included Tribe, Tae Fresh and Jerreau. Jerreau played songs from his most recent release Never How You Plan, and the crowd kept up with him. The Aaliyah-sampled “Come Over,” included a switch to the original track halfway through, and when he got to the LeBron James co-signed “Really Got It” the crowd cheered, singing along to the chorus.
Sets from Rae Sremmurd, Desiigner, Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert had the crowd bouncing on barricades. Rae Sremmurd’s “No Type” and “Throw Sum Mo” particularly hyped the audience, all the while Swae Lee and Slim Jimmi yelled over the crowd: “Where all the freshman at?” “Who smokes?”
With Lil Uzi Vert being one of the newest artists at Breakaway, it was somewhat surprising to hear the festival crowd know all the words to his songs. But the crowd took to him easily, cheering him on as he drank and had a great time.
Desiigner also had a great time rocking the main stage, even though he played a short set. He opened with his latest single “Timmy Turner,” then his huge hit “Panda,” then another song from his debut New English, and finally his DJ and hype man closed out his set with a second performance of “Panda.” Aside from that, his energy and response to the crowd definitely wins best of the weekend. He sprayed the audience with water, ran up and down the media pit, grabbed onto fans and crowd surfed. Watching his set, you could see why this lineup was chosen. Their performances were too energetic not to enjoy.
The festival’s only hiccup came early Saturday evening, right before Young Thug’s set on the main stage. Due to potentially dangerous lightning and storm conditions, festivalgoers were sent inside the Lausche Building to the Prime Stage. The beautiful thing about this move was the amount of people now treated to Elephante’s set. Elephante is an EDM artist, completely out of our knowledge base, but the electrifying beats and strobe-like visuals were awesome to witness.
Young Thug ended up playing inside instead of out, while the festival’s crew did equipment checks and tried to decide if the entire festival would be transported inside. When the confusion settled, the festival went on with a new updated schedule and only a slight delay.
By far the best set of the weekend should go to Breakaway’s headliner, Chance the Rapper. Opening with “XXXXX,” he played tracks from 2013’s Acid Rap and his latest history-making release Coloring Book. His charisma onstage is exceptional, even as he asks, “Where all the Black girls at?” While up on stage, he also tells the crowd about playing at Skully’s just a few years ago, which isn’t surprising, but is daunting considering he is now headlining an entire festival. His demeanor and his dance moves make for an awesome Friday closer, one where everybody sings along and know the words to “Ultralight Beam,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Angels.” And the crowd sang beautifully.
Other dope performances came from Dillion Francis and D.R.A.M. in particular. D.R.A.M. played some new records and ones from his debut Gahdamn! He introduced every song a bit awkwardly, but his performances were impressive. Some of his songs may not have grabbed the attention of his festival audience, but the crowd was definitely hyped to hear “Cute,” “Special,” “Cha Cha” and his biggest record “Broccoli.”
This year’s Breakaway Festival will not be easy to top at all, but here’s hoping they do. Next time we’ll try the Silent Disco because we heard it was lit, and maybe we’ll brush up on some more EDM by next year.
It’s way to early too try and make predictions, but it can’t hurt to put some artists in the universe, right? We’re thinking Anderson .Paak or Childish Gambino could make great additions to a future lineup.