Review: Breakaway Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio

Hannah WilsonConcert Review, Live Music, MusicLeave a Comment

Featured image credit: Caleb Nikolich

Have you ever seen memes about the emo to EDM pipeline? Because this musical path was alive and well at Breakaway Columbus. 

Immediately upon getting there, I realized that we were at House Warped Tour. The unmistakable smell and feel of black pavement under your shoes, the trademark energy drink sponsor (shoutout to Celcius, the new Monster), but most importantly the subgenres of one larger culture coming together as one. 

I’ll admit — I am entry level to the electronic scene. I was intimidated leading up to our arrival at Columbus Crew that Saturday. Was my outfit okay? What if a DJ plays a fan favorite song and I haven’t heard it before? What will the crowd be like? It’s a feeling I hadn’t experienced since I first slid into checkered vans to see We The Kings and Yellowcard as a teen. 

All these worries left me as soon as the music began.

The standout sets for us were Zeuzue, Habstrakt, and Dr. Fresch, all taking up residency at the Launch Pad stage. 

A festival stage with blue overhangs.

Our best friend, the Launch Pad stage. Credit: Caleb Nikolich

Zeuzue came to bless Ohio almost directly after a set at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and here we were seeing him not once but TWICE in the Buckeye State as we followed him from Launch Pad to the intimate Jose Cuervo stage. What’s great about Zeuzue is he knew what samples were going to ignite the crowd (Hozier’s “Too Sweet” taking the cake for fan reaction) but didn’t sacrifice his signature sound in the process. What’s more, you could tell he was having just as much fun as the people below.

A DJ, Zuezue, excitedly putting his arms in the air.

Zuezue igniting the crowd. Credit: Caleb Nikolich

Speaking of — the Jose Cuervo stage was a highlight of the festival setup, bringing you up close and personal with DJs in an oasis of cacti, art, and of course, tequila. This area was very much giving Coachella aesthetic vs. the slicker Breakaway branding, yet it somehow fit right in. After seeing Zeuzue slay the Launch Pad, we thought we would just pop in to this smaller set and then head out, but we wound up staying there the entire time. 

Two college aged people pointing at the camera while a crowd dances behind.

The Jose Cuervo crowd during Zuezue. Credit: Caleb Nikolich

Jose Cuervo wasn’t the only promotional booth that captured our attention — I was particularly excited to make kandi (beaded bracelets) with Nutrl, and although I didn’t partake myself, was fascinated by the SHEIN body marbling. As someone who always left Warped Tour with face paint and rubber bracelets, it was great to see the electrified version.

Moving back over to Launch Pad as we approached the closing sets — there was a noticeable shift in the crowd energy for Habstrakt, and it only increased with Dr. Fresch. Both noisemakers in the house community, anyone and everyone was dancing as far back as you could see. Call me entry level, but hearing Habstrakt play “Chicken Soup” did not disappoint. 

a DJ with bright hair playing music

Habstrakt doing his thing. Credit: Caleb Nikolich

Unfortunately for a show that can’t shift to acoustic version, sprinkles of rain emerged during Dr. Fresch, at one point even briefly cutting his sound. 

But as the rain increased, we experienced the true mark of a good show: it’s pouring and nobody cares. The crowd didn’t dissipate one bit. There was no lowering of energy. 

Now that’s a community I want to be a part of.

Breakaway has more festivals throughout the United States, all focusing on EDM but booking unique acts for each city. You can find multiple subgenres at each show — from dayclub pool party vibes to the underground scene. If you have the chance to catch one in your area this summer (Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Carolinas, Nashville, and Bay Area all upcoming), I know you’ll have a good time, whether this is your first electronic festival or your fiftieth. 

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Hannah WilsonReview: Breakaway Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio