A Parade of Costumes and Puppets at Freaky Deaky

 In Reviews
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written by Jennifer Dawn-Fall

Freaky Deaky at a glance

Halloween is every raver’s favorite holiday, and Freaky Deaky in Chicago is the ultimate Midwest festival for experiencing a special kind of spooky magic. A superb lineup with Tiesto, Disclosure, Dj Snake, and Duke Dumont to name a few appealed to old school and new school party kids alike, and revelers in costumes danced in unison with giant puppets in the cool Chicago air.

Music genre: Mixture of House, EDM, Trap, Trance, and Hip Hop

Camping: No

Capacity: Medium

Crowd type: Costumes were the highlight of the festival!

Water stations: Yes


For the first-timers

We drove 2 ½ hours to Bridgeview IL from Indianapolis; most other attendees were also coming from other Midwest cities and chose to drive. Hotels in Chicago on the preferred Freaky Deaky package started at about $179 per night, and shuttles were an easy way to get from downtown to the festival grounds. We chose to stay in Bridgeview (30 minutes from downtown Chicago) close to the festival and were able to find a deal for only $89.00 per night at the Best Western that had a breakfast package included with our rate.

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Parking for the fest is $20 per day, or $45 for a 3 day parking pass. I felt this was way worth it with Uber charges surging up to 100.00 promptly after the festival ended. This was likely due to the Cubs playoff games, coupled with the festival hitting in the same weekend. Freaky Deaky even streamed the games live on a large screen so attendees could check the score in between sets! Go CUBS!

Standout food

Food was plentiful and affordable at an average $15 per meal. I enjoyed one of the best sliders of my life on Friday, and had a grilled cheese caprice on Sunday from Cheesie’s food truck that rocked my world. Beer was $8, and cocktails were $12.

Stage layout

Three stages—all tented—were lined up side by side to allow for easy stage bouncing. The Shrine was built to mimic a gothic style church, and the carnival style Big Top provided lots of dancing space. The Crypt was set up with a club type atmosphere, complete with cooling mist that was perfectly timed to the house tracks being played by old school legends.

Musical highlights

Black Tiger Sex Machine’s Friday performance featured new album material, new helmets, and the same amazing energy they’re known for. They took us to church with their ever-evolving trap stylings that left us all begging for more—thanks to the after party, that’s just what we got. Nervo had the crowd eating a tasty mixture of house and dubstep out of the palm of their hands, and Disclosure closed out the evening with the best big room house set I’ve ever seen them play, kicked off with a “Thriller” remix and featuring every single hit song they’ve released.

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Saturday I headed to Milk N Cooks—think 70’s booty house mixed to perfection—who paid homage to KISS with their costumes. Gryffin played an amazing live set on bass, drums, and keyboard that mixed his own work with recognizable top 40 hits, and MK played an amazing progressive house set in the Crypt that had everyone jumping for joy.

Sunday was all about Duke Dumont, and boy did he deliver. After a banging house set from Gene Farris, the majority of the Freaky Deaky crowd came together at the Shrine to dance our hearts out, and he actually brought me to tears. Tiesto closed the festival with a set that showed how much he’s evolved without leaving his trance past in the dust. His set took us on a journey, and for many who had never seen him… they all left as believers.

 Things to do

A vape corner ran by Logic handed out vape pens and provided couches to relax on, and other vendors sold clothing and light up accessories. A ferris wheel and other carnival rides lent a mini-EDC feel to Toyota Park, and the Cubs game was live streamed so that fans could cheer them on throughout the festival. 

VIP or nah

VIP was not available this year.

Story corner

The highlight of my Freaky Deaky experience was meeting the Astral Gypsies Giant Puppetry Company. Founded with the intention of bringing interactive art into the Midwest festival scene, they have an arsenal of over 30 giant puppets that are all incredible works of art. I met up with owner Michael Ventle, who created the company with his partner Sheena Cox in 2011, and have appeared at festivals like EDC Chicago, EDC New York, EDC Las Vegas, EDC Puerto Rico, Nocturnal Wonderland, and Electric Forest. Learning about his creations was an absolute joy, from a giant Gumbi to gold feathered Isis and a two-headed alien lovingly named Techno. My top two have to be Cheese-Head, modeled after the String Cheese Incident, and a giant LED octopus that is operated by several Astral members.

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I would love to hear all your experiences from Freaky Deaky 2016, or answer any questions you might have! Send me an email at jenfall@gmail.com, or follow me on Facebook for travel updates.

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