During an overcast Labor Day weekend, gates at Mapfre Stadium opened to a stream of enlivened EDM and rap fans for Breakaway Music Festival. While festivities took place on the Ohio Expo fairgrounds last year, the stadium grounds allowed festivalgoers more room to roam in between concert sets. Once inside, guests had the ability to catch sets at the grand Main Stage, the more intimate, mainly DJ-based Prime Stage by the general entrance, or mingle about, munching on quick meals at various food trucks including Kahiki Foods, or visiting the Newport “Pleasure Lounge” for adult-friendly games and a smoke break.
On the first day, opening performances took place on both stages, with rapper Joey Aich touching down on the Main Stage, and Cleveland-based Lil Bizzy getting familiar with new fans on the Prime Stage, flowing on his track “Bizzy’s in the House”.
As early performances drew to a close, California’s own Blackbear graced the Main Stage with his live band, performing “STFU” to a rave response from the audience. After Blackbear promised to return to Ohio in October as a guest during Fall Out Boy’s tour, the energy continued as fellow Californian artist KYLE brought a cheery atmosphere to the festival as a brisk cold front began to hit the stadium. As his companion and DJ Brick joined in on the fun, KYLE flowed through a series of hits, including “iSpy”, “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love”, and even paying homage to his hero, Kid Cudi, by covering “Pursuit of Happiness”.
Attendees who decided they needed a break from pandemonium between sets, were able to visit the Silent Disco by the Main Stage. The tented area provided a base for a range of DJs, including DJ Mike Dow, DJ Giovanny and KMB, whose bouncy, electronic sounds blended with songs by R&B superstar Brandy on his most recent project #HelpMeMeetBrandy! Guests were able to grab a pair of headphones, flipping through channels until reaching the DJ of their choice, and grooving along with the Silent Disco crowd.
2017 XXL Freshman Ugly God hit the prime stage, running through songs from The Booty Tape released in August. During the raunchy, yet humorous set, Ugly God performing his lead single “Water”, as fans were encouraged to shout “Fuck Ugly God!”
As the daytime ended, fans rushed the Main Stage to catch Lil Yatchy’s most recent set in Ohio, since performing at #Fest in Athens earlier this year. “Lil Boat, Lil Boat, Lil Boat,” he chanted backstage before sending the audience into a frenzy as he came out. As Yatchy performed the Grammy-nominated “Broccoli”, “One Night” and “Peek-A-Boo”, screens on each side of the stage featured a cartoon version of the crimson-red haired rapper, making his way through a series of amusement.
KYLE returned to the Main Stage alongside Yatchy to once again perform “iSpy”, as Ugly God watched on from the side of the stage. Before the end of his set, Yatchy briefly played “Look At Me!” by Florida-menace XXXTenatacion, who dropped his debut album 17in late August.
Fans anticipated the “Butterfly Effect” from Travis $cott, who brought the rage with his signature auto-tune sound, infused in his microphone. Though $cott was briefly disgruntled with the control booth operator, reminding them to “know [their] queue”, he jumped into a range of hits, including “Outside”, “Mamacita” and “Upper Echelon”. As he brought a young kid on stage during “Antidote”, $cott snatched away their phone, encouraging them to enjoy the moment and even jumping into the crowd.
As Travis $cott gave a shout out to his home of Houston, where relief efforts are taking place following Hurricane Harvey, he performed the sentimental “Love Galore” in which he’s featured alongside SZA. As wrapped up the night with “Goosebumps”, $cott abruptly left twenty minutes before his original set time, but giving the audience enough time to rest before an eventful second and final day at Breakaway.
As the second day kicked off, OG Vern brought the madness on the Main Stage during his first set at Breakaway, following the release of his project Summers Over. While the second day was mainly EDM-based, with sets by Two Friends, Galantis and DJ Pyro, it was Brave Native and Quinn XCII who brought their indie rock flair to the Prime Stage, enthralling fans as they rocked out in the rain.
Fellow XXL 2017 Freshman Playboi Carti flexed on the Main Stage, coming out to “Location”, the first track from his self-titled debut album. Through a run of adlibs, Carti hopped about the stage, momentarily covering his head as the rain began to pour. While he mistook the Columbus crowd for Cleveland, fans still enjoyed his set, rapping along to “What”, “Of Course We Ghetto Flowers”, “Wokeuplikethis*” and his summer smash “Magnolia”.
DJ Mija revved up EDM fans through an hour set on the Prime Stage, taking puffs of a cigarette as she blended genres on her turntables. Throughout her set, Mija hopped in front of the DJ stand, swinging her pink streaked hair and jumping in unison with the crowd. Following her lively set, GoldLink hit the same stage, mainly performing past cuts including “Spectrum” and “Dance on Me”, covering Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and giving a nod to his debut album At What Cost, performing “Summatime” and the mellow “Crew”, which he performed twice, with concertgoers rapping along to every word.
Following GoldLink, Kodak Black bopped across the main stage in a loud red and blue ensemble, while Cashmere Cat hyped the crowd on the Prime Stage. DJ and Major Lazer front man Diplo ended the fest with an energetic set, leaving Breakaway Music Festival attendees with memories to close out a radical summer.