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The tenacious efforts of packing Columbus Crew Stadium fell short for the inaugural Breakaway Music Festival, but
those in attendance were certainly not shorted the all-day music festival treatment. Organized by Prime Social Group,
three stages with local and national Electronic Dance Music (EDM), hip-hop and indie rock acts attracted a generally
young crowd with an eclectic music taste.
Enclosed by a large white tent, the Prime Stage exuded smiling energy with it's nightclub party atmosphere. Bodies
were jumping and hands flew high in the air as nine popular DJs spun close to hour-long sets mixing their specialties
of house, trance and dubstep throughout the day. Sets included DJ Corrupt, Topher Jones, LA Riots, Danny Avila and
Tritonal. Halfway through, the EDM vibe broke for Maybach Music Group and Massillon, Ohio hip-hop artist Stalley
followed by the German-born ScHoolboy Q, both of which brought an audience that crowded the tent front to back.
The alive! Local Stage attracted passerbys and occasional clusters of apprehensive listeners with six groovetastic
sets, including Columbus' singer-songwriter Jared Mahone who sung acoustic originals over self-made backtracks
featuring his signature beat boxing. Mahone also performed covers by Michael Jackson and Britney Spears.
Other performances included the top-notch jam-funk sounds of EOP focused around Evan Oberla's live trombone.
Kid Runner, Post Coma Network, Mojoflo and Alpine also performed at the Local Stage.
Keeping to the theme of genre variation, the Main Stage inside Crew Stadium featured a lineup that alternated from
indie rock to hip-hop to disc jockeys, each of which could fill smaller venues on their own.
As the midday sun shined bright, up-and-coming poppy electro performer Robert DeLong took stage with a lightly
painted face and a black shirt sporting his orange-outlined "X" logo. Using an atypical EDM set up with video game
remotes, live synth consoles and a snare drum, the Seattle area native with a Sufjan Stevens' approach got the sparse
crowd moving with originals from his two Glassnote Records' albums, including notable track "Global Concepts."
Early afternoon, those with field admission sung along to indie rock outfit Tokyo Police Club's "Your English Is Good."
The Canadian group tried their best to work the young, diverse crowd with a solid 45-minute set of songs from the
band's three albums.
During a set change, which featured the live beats of Cleveland's DJ E-V throughout the day, the crowd filled in more
to welcome Three 6 Mafia founding member Juicy J. The rapper took stage with a bottle of champagne in one hand
and a mic in the other to please fans with songs from his latest No. 4 Billboard peaking album Stay Trippy. Juicy J also
grabbed the crowd with his roots performances of Three 6 Mafia's "Stay Fly" and "Poppin' My Collar."
What turned out to be the fullest turnout of the day was for the performance of Columbus natives Twenty One Pilots.
Despite having to perform the same night in Detroit alongside Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, the talented duo
entertained fans with energetic jumps, leaps, flips and non-stop motion. Both drummer Josh Dun and head twitching
vocalist, multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph remained in the moment for the 50-minute set. The group played songs
from their Fueled By Ramen debut Vessel including crowd-engaging performances of "Holding on to You" and
"Car Radio." Joseph dedicated the ukulele track "House Of Gold" to his mom who was in attendance.
Next up was 21-year-old North Carolina disc jockey Porter Robinson who enticed bodies to shake and dance with his
hour set of lively remixes alongside solo singles "Easy" and "Hello." Cathartic energy flowed from the venue's pores,
but a night sky lit with laser lights and glow sticks were noticeably missing.
After the sun started to set, hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar entered the stage with a full backing band--the live bass,
keys and drums added additional layers of pounding pulses to the already determined spinning tracks. The 2012 BET
"lyricist of the year" pumped up the crowd with "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe," "Money Trees," "The Recipe," "A.D.H.D." and
others from Section.80 and good kid, m.A.A.d. city.
The most theatrical set of the fest was by Australian new wave, synthpop group Empire of the Sun. Clothed with
space-like jumpsuits, dancers performed throughout the set as if transfixed inside another universe as the band
performed "We Are The People," "Walking On A Dream" and "Alive" in front of an explosively colorful back screen.
Faces in the crowd looked confused and impatient at times as the anticipation was building for the west coast spin
The entire stadium rattled as California DJ and producer Bassnectar began to make magic on his tables. Standing
behind a long, tall platform of LED screens with active compelling visuals, Bassnectar delivered a vibrating mix of
rock-fused electronic dance music for more than an hour to close Breakaway Music Festival. Those lined in the front
row were pleasurably subjected to a continuous sonic blast with bass waves strong enough to make eyes water.
Although the stands weren't packed to the stadium's maximum capacity, the Prime Social Group event proved it can
execute an entertaining, worthwhile festival experience. The debut event stirred enough buzz to potentially increase
growth in attendance if continued annually.
Breakaway Music Festival will stop in Dallas this Saturday for it's second run with Wu Tang Clan, Matt and Kim,
Big Gigantic, Explosions In The Sky, Ra Ra Riot and others. For full details visit breakawayfestival.com.
Breakaway Music Festival makes Columbus debut with multi-genre lineup
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Porter Robinson fires the crowd up with his DJ skills Saturday in Columbus. Photo: Neil Shumate
Juicy J at Breakaway. Photo: Neil Shumate
PHOTOS (click images for photo galleries)