Freaky Deaky was a huge success in Chicago over Halloween weekend and definitely takes the cake for the best event in the Midwest for Halloween. The venue, atmosphere and talent of artists is everything you could imagine a Halloween to be. Many different costumes made appearances, some incredibly detailed and others questionably funny. Even with a rainy Saturday, nothing was going to stop the Freaks from having fun.

My big group and I arrived the first night fairly late due to traffic. We left Indianapolis at 1pm and got to the stadium at 6:30pm in Chicago and that’s with us losing an hour transitioning to Central time. The traffic was congested around the stadium on the first day due to many having top get parking passes & all the Bass Heads coming to see Bassnectar. When we first arrived, Borgeous was just finishing on “The Shrine” which was the main stage to your left when you walk in. We stayed here for a few minutes as Borgeous was finishing up and Griz was next. I’ve had the misfortune of missing Gramatik & Big Gigantic both at Electric Forest this year due to a scheduling conflict with Sunday. Getting the chance to see Griz satisfied that empty hole of funk that I had been missing. Griz put on an amazing show as he would DJ and then whip out his Saxophone and get down with the funk. He was one of the best acts of the weekend with how unique his style is. I loved when he would get through with a drop, put a beat on repeat and then just do a solo sax session. After the funk was over with Griz, the nectar of bass was coming up next to put on a killer performance. Bassnectar had about a 30 min set up session before he performed and its obvious why as the audio technicians sampled the bass to check levels and even at halfway volume, vibrated the whole tent. As he came up, the crowd packed in eager to get started. Bassnectar’s melodies and rhythm went hand and hand before the over whelming flurry of bass vibrated your body. It’s most fun when he’s attacking you with the bass and then it goes complete silence for a break and then it’s coming right back at you full force. Bassnectar had everyone moving in sync together and after his performance even tweeted about how he felt like time was slowing down and standing still as everyone moved together. It was a killer performance to get the Halloween weekend started at Freaky Deaky.

Photos by Da Black Swan
The next morning we got ready for Day 2 and it was a lot to look forward to as our lineup consisted of Keys n Krates, Benny Benassi, Borgore & Armin Van Buuren. We got there a bit late due to a friend of ours meeting us from Wisconsin. As we walked in for Day 2, daylight was just visible due to daylight savings but better than the night before as we couldn’t see anything besides where we needed to go. Before we started dancing, we grabbed a bite to eat from the selection of vendors present including a gourmet grilled cheese stand, deep dish pizza stand, corn dogs & many others. I went with the deep dish and I have to say that’s some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. The beer selection was good too as they carried local brewery 312 and Bud Light. After our stop, we then went to “The Shrine” again for Keys n Krates. The trio put on a good performance with their unique keyboard & drum style trap music. The play their music live with loops of sounds and heavy drums that get the crowd into it. We stayed for a bit and then went to the “Big Top” which was on the opposite end of the “The Shrine”. It’s relatively the same layout besides decorations but there were no complaints. It was perfect having open ended tents because it catered to all crowds. Those who want to get sweaty in the crowd, or those who likes space to dance and air to breathe. As we arrived, Benny took the stage and played some future house that got the crowd loving it. Many people couldn’t stop talking about his performance and his lightshow. Benny played a remix of his hit track “Satisfaction” & a few others he recently released. We stayed for a good amount before heading back to “The Shrine” for a dirty Halloween with Borgore. As we arrived back at the main stage, Borgore was throwing down some heavy dubstep & filth. Borgore has been known to get crowds and social media ratchet. Well, he surely did at Freaky Deaky as well with how much filth was coming out of “The Shrine”. People were losing it at his performance as he never had a moment to pause, it was 100 miles per hour the whole time, making sure his crowd got sweaty. Something unique about Borgore, is that he sings his own songs. He got on the mic and sang “Decisions” & a few others for a great set on Halloween. Lastly, to end the night I stayed at “The Shrine” for Armin Van Buuren as it was my first time seeing him. I had a few friends go see “Big Gigantic” (I know I said I missed them and wanted to see them but I couldn’t miss Armin) at “The Shrine”. The crowd was mellow and plenty of space to dance before the highly talented DJ took the stage. When we did, everyone went nuts. He began with a very soft melody before building it up with fast, bright lights & dropping a loud drop with smoke flying everywhere. His lights were flying everywhere and he had armbands on both elbows that allowed him to change direction of the lights. So, as he was performing, he would point to a section the crowd and the high laser white lights would flash upon them. It was cool, because it was like Armin was pointing right at you and looking at you. He had a well balance of trance & progressive house tracks. He played his most recent single with Hardwell, “Off the Hook” from his new album “Embrace” and made it big and spectacular. He begins his songs so well and builds up the drop like an expert. Not only does the music get you interested, but his performance and mannerisms sweep you off your feet with excitement. He also played a remix of “Ping Pong” and it was fun engaging with the crowd on the ping’s and pong’s as he would point left to right before dropping the progressive house beat. Armin played a few slow tracks that made some cry before building into a euphoric drop. It truly was special performance from the Trance King himself on Halloween night.

Photos by Da Black Swan
Lastly, the 3rd night was upon us and we were going out with a bang for Halloween weekend. We got there incredible early so we can explore the ground the whole day after showing up a bit late the first two days. We wanted to check out “The Crypt” upon arrival because of the fact we hadn’t been there yet. It was the only stage that wasn’t a tent but more of a small castle building. We went in a scoped out the venue before going on the Ferris Wheel and Viking Ship rides they had available. It was fun riding the rides as it had a carnival atmosphere to Freaky Deaky. We hopped from stage to stage before coming back to “The Crypt” to check our Dirtybird artist, Justin Martin. He played some fun house music that got everyone dancing and shuffling. We stayed for a good while before moving back to the main stage to see A-Trak. A-Trak was dressed up as Batman and was the only who dressed up from the artists that I had seen. I was surprised not many more artists dressed up but the crowd did a great job of providing that scenery. A-Trak played a lot of deep house, future house and a few progressive house during his set. I was waiting for him to scratch like he always does and he killed it. A-Trak is incredible when he scratches on the deck and it flows smoothly. A talented artist that still holds on to the classic values and tricks of a DJ. After A-Trak we headed over to the second stage “Big Top” to see dubstep legend Datsik. Datsik came out on stage and went from ground zero to liftoff before anyone had a chance to breathe. His heavy kick and bass blew the crowd back with sheer terror of filth. The tent was one of the most packed I had seen over the weekend and gave Bassnectar a run for his money when it came to tent occupancy. He played a few of his tracks over the past couple of months and a few unreleased ID’s of himself, Bear Grillz and Zomboy. He ended his set like I knew he would playing Red Hot Chili Peppers and getting the crowd to sing. To end his set, he played his unreleased track with Snoop Dogg that drops this week. This track is absolutely incredible. He goes back to the old rap roots of Snoop Dogg with the old “Gin & Juice” whooping sound during the beat. Then, when the drop comes, it’s out of nowhere with crowd going nuts. After Datsik, we stayed at the “Big Top” for Mac Miller. I had seen Mac in 2011 when he first started after his mixtape “KIDS” with Wiz Khalifa at IU. Back then, he was more mellow raps with calmness. This time, he informed the crowd multiple times that he’s not the same and showed it. He got the crowd super hyped while he rapped almost screaming into the mic. He played some of his new tracks of his most recent album “GO:OD AM”, along with his hit single “Donald Trump and even a few off of his famous KIDS mixtape. He put on a hell of a performance, the best I’ve seen for the past 5 years. To end the night, we wanted to see Pretty Lights. We went back over to “The Shrine” to listen to some chill music and see a spectacular lightshow. Pretty Lights is very slow music but a more visual experience with how much is going on above you. He had a good atmosphere with the groove of the crowd and the clash of colors in sync with his music. We stayed halfway through before heading to the second stage to finish the night with Carnage. Carnage has been in the spotlight over the past couple weeks regarding ghost producing and illegal synths but his performance steered away from all that. He had just released his debut album “Papi Gordo” and had a statement to make. When I saw him at Spring Awakening 2 years ago we was strictly just festival trap. Since then, his set consisted of Progressive House, Trap, Festival Trap & Hardstyle. He put a lot of energy into his shows and got the crowd hyped up to finish the weekend. After countless dirty drops, he played his last track of the night and to finish it all off by saying “Chicago! You were just in a State of F***ing Carnage!” dropped the mic, walked off and end scene.

Photos by Da Black Swan
Freaky Deaky made a lot of changes since last year and every change was great. Increased the amount of artists, made the artists more diverse, brought in killer talent, provided countless things to do & created an atmosphere of costumes and fun. With Halloween landing on a Monday next year, I’m curious if they will be able to do this again, and I’m hoping so. No other festival or show could compete with Freaky Deaky in the Midwest. I thank everyone from React Presents for putting on such a great experience. Wherever or whatever the plan is for next year, I’ll see you there.

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