During a sweltering Friday evening on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center, Prime Social Group presented the first day of Breakaway Music Festival. It was equivalent to the release of a highly anticipated sophomore album, swirling with high expectations from the inaugural event that took place at Mapfre Stadium in 2013.
The ingredients were all there in 2013: the rapper on the rise in Kendrick Lamar, established DJ act in Bassnectar and a special touch of Columbus in Twenty One Pilots.
On day one in 2016, similar pieces were in place: Dillon Francis is a producer who blends his electronic reggae roots with Internet humor and Chance the Rapper represents a new breed of musicians on the rise. Rae Sremmurd, two brothers who know a thing or two about turning up at festivals, rounded out the three listed headliners on Friday.
Although there were the hiccups you would expect from a festival exiting its infancy—no established water station, few signs indicating how to navigate the venue and no fluid entry line—the music more than made up for any minor inconveniences.
Upon walking into the venue, the main stage, which featured the three headliners, greeted festival attendees. Around 8 p.m., as Dillon Francis’ set was starting to garner the most attention toward that stage, Breakaway Music Festival was approaching its peak for Friday night.
Ahead of Francis’ set, Rae Sremmurd cranked out chart-toppers like “Throw Sum Mo” and “No Type” to really set the tone.
Francis’ set, one that many audience members clamored about, lined up with the soothing feeling of the sun coming down. With Chance the Rapper still set to perform the final outdoor performance of the night just before 10 p.m., the disappearance of the baking sun also provided new life to the festival.
As soon as it seemed that Francis was grabbing full attention of the audience, his set was about to expire, and Chance the Rapper would be taking center stage. Few people made their way away from the stage after Francis, draped in a No. 16 Scarlet and Gray jersey, thanked the city for a great time.
There was a brief intermission before Chance, but as soon the crowd heard his out-of-sight howling, which they mimicked back, a captivated Breakaway crowd was ready to embrace one of the Internet’s favorite rappers.
Surprisingly, Chance led off with a lot of cuts from his second mixtape, “Acid Rap.” “Everybody’s Something,” “Pusha Man” and “Juice” were perfect tracks to get the audience primed for songs from his third, and most recent mixtape, “Coloring Book.”
For an artist that doesn’t put a lofty price tag on his brand, Chance sure seems to bring it night in and night out. That was detailed by how hoarse his voice was both when rapping and reaching out to the audience.
When, after a brief intermission, it finally was time for “Coloring Book,” Chance went straight to the heat with “No Problem.” The second half of his set seemed to strike more fans in the audience, but “Acid Rap” tracks and some loose features, all of which many people rapped along to all the words, was the perfect lead up for the musician to showcase his third mixtape.
Before exiting, Chance left Breakaway with some soulful tunes: “Blessings (Reprise)” and “Sunday Candy.” Witnessing these performances live, songs that truly define Chance as an original artist, make you believe that the world isn’t all a bad place.
Air conditioning was much needed after Chance’s set. The three sets on the indoor Prime Stage provided perfect relief for the endured heat. Even with people resting, Waka Flocka Flame’s set lit up the building and had fans springing to their feet for one last rush of adrenaline before the night ended.
Breakaway Music Festival 2016 has started to shape out like most of the follow-ups of grand entries. There were some hiccups, but the final product, and the most important entity of the festival, the music, ruled the day and further proved that Prime Social Group can put together one hell of a show.